HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA (HSED) PROGRAM
The high school equivalency test gives students who left high school before graduating an opportunity to earn a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). The test meets the requirement set by Iowa Code 259A.1 that the diploma shall be issued on the basis of satisfactory competence as shown by tests covering all of the following: Language Arts-Reading, Language Arts-Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
In January of 2014, Iowa began using the HiSET® high school equivalency test developed by Education Testing Service (ETS). The Department of Education has maintained records of students who completed the HSED program prior to the change to HiSET®, as well as for all students who successfully completed the HiSET® since 2014.
The Iowa Department of Education convened a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) Task Force in 2016. The HSED Task Force recommended revisions to Iowa Code 259A, which would authorize the Iowa Board of Education to adopt additional pathways to achieve a HSED based on quality standards and demonstrated competency. Task Force Report.
DIRECTORY OF HISET PREPARATION CENTERS BY AREA
- Des Moines Area Community College
- Eastern Iowa Community College
- Hawkeye Community College
- Indian Hills Community College
- Iowa Central Community College
- Iowa Lakes Community College
- Iowa Valley Community College
- Iowa Western Community College
- Kirkwood Community College
- Northeast Iowa Community College
- North Iowa Area Community College
- Northwest Iowa Community College
- Southeastern Community College
- Southwestern Community College
- Western Iowa Tech Community College
TRANSCRIPT AND DIPLOMA REQUESTS
HSED OR GED
The Iowa Department of Education does not process duplicate High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) or General Educational Development (GED) and/or transcript requests. All requests are processed through DiplomaSender.com. No state agency or community college program can assist with these requests. Official copies of the diplomas and transcripts must be obtained from DiplomaSender.com.
Use the following directions to obtain official copies of diplomas and transcripts through DiplomaSender.com. The online ordering service makes getting a copy of your documents easy.
- Visit DiplomaSender.com
- Complete the online order form using a credit, debit, cashier’s check or money order for the $20 payment
- Check the appropriate delivery method to receive your document(s) via email, FedEx or United States Postal Service
DiplomaSender.com is a safe website that can be accessed from public computers with Internet connections, often available at local public libraries. If you cannot access the internet to order online or have additional issues related to your order, contact Diploma Sender toll free at 1-855-313-5799. Additional charges may apply.
As required by Iowa Administrative Code 281-12.3, schools will issue transcripts, but are not required to issue diplomas because they are considered ceremonial documents.
Transcripts from a PK-12 school that is still open
Transcript requests must be made to the school district that you attended.
Transcripts from a PK-12 school that is permanently closed
For schools that have been dissolved, see District Name Changes and look for the * to see where student records are housed.
Other Iowa School Programs
The other school programs are specially accredited college preparatory schools, Board of Regents schools, departments of corrections and human services schools, and Indian Grant schools.
Transcripts from other school programs that are still open
Transcript requests must be made to the other school program in which you attended.
Transcripts from other school programs that are permanently closed
Contact the area education agency (AEA) in the area where the other school program was located. Find your AEA by selecting the county where the school program was located.
Transcript requests must be made to the community college in which you attended.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Open Colleges and Universities
Transcript requests must be made to the registrar at the college or university that you attended.
Closed Colleges and Universities
HSED TEST TAKERS
IOWA ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO TAKE HSED TEST
Be a minimum of 17 years of age (unless granted exception)
- Enroll at an Adult Education and Literacy program
- Complete a pre CASAS Assessment in Math and Reading
- If appropriate, be referred to instruction and class enrollment
- Pass the Official Practice Test (OPT)
- On testing day, present a valid photo identification, verify social security number if applicable and a Verification for Testing Form
COST FOR TAKING THE HISET IN IOWA
- $53.75* for the full battery of tests (all five content areas), which includes two free re-tests per sub-section during a 12 month period from the initial date of purchase
- $10.75* for a single subtest (1 content area) - no retakes
- There is no charge for the first diploma after the HiSET battery is taken with a passing score
- Duplicate diplomas and documentation $15.00 (paid to DiplomaSender.com)
- Does not include voucher fees
Below is a list of frequent questions received at the state office. Please review the information provided. If you still have questions, contact the closest program for specific answers or the state office for general information.
What if I tested in a different state?
Did you take your HSED test in another state? Do you want to contact that state’s HSED office for your test results or other HSED-related information?
Did I pass?
Each of the five subtests in the HiSET battery is scored on a scale of 1–20. In order to pass you must do all three of the following:
- Achieve a score of at least 8 on each of the five individual subtests
- Score at least 2 out of 6 on the essay portion of the writing test
- Have a total combines score on all five subtests of at least 45
Some states may set passing scores that are higher, but under no circumstances can you pass with a total score lower than 45 on the battery.
Is this test legitimate?
There are hundreds of websites offering high school diplomas, HSED credentials, and other degrees. What they don’t tell you is the “accredited degree” they’re offering is practically worthless. These sites are looking to make a quick buck at your expense—and they’re charging anywhere from $50 to $500 to do it.
HISET TEST EXAMINERS
IOWA HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMAS EARNED
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HSED TESTING POLICY
Testing Administration Manual (6-23-21)
HISET PROCTOR TRAINING
- HiSET Proctor Training PowerPoint
- HiSET Writing - The Essay PowerPoint 2016
- Chief Examiner Zoom Meeting – June 21, 2017
- HiSet Security Audits Test Administration Questionnaire
- Test Taker Registration Form
- Request for Admission to Test
- HiSET Accommodation Form
- Change of Staff Form
IOWA HSED ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS
In January 2018, the Iowa State Board of Education (Board) adopted an administrative rule change establishing alternative pathways for an Iowan to earn a high school equivalency diploma (HSED). Previously, the only way to earn a HSED was by passing the HiSET®, the state-approved high school equivalency test.
The new pathways, which are in addition to the HiSET®, are based on the accumulation of secondary credit or the completion of a postsecondary credential equal to or beyond an associate degree. All of Iowa’s alternative pathways are grounded in comprehensive data, research, and integrity that ensures rigor and maintains quality standards important to Iowa.
A high school diploma is a foundational step toward achieving self-sufficiency and financial stability for all Iowans. Currently, there are an estimated 150,000 Iowans who lack high school diplomas. These expanded options aim to reduce this number by providing flexibility in how students can demonstrate competency leading to the issuance of high school equivalency diplomas.
The HSED options discussed in this application packet may be administered only by entities approved by the Department per Iowa Administrative Code 281-32.3(1). These entities must be either be (a) accredited by the Higher Learning Commission OR (b) eligible entities as defined by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, 20 U.S.C. Ch. 73 and subsequent federal workforce training and adult education legislation.
Any eligible institution wishing to provide one or more HSED Alternative Pathway options must be authorized by the Department. The process of becoming an authorized HSED alternative pathways provider begins by completing the following application and submitting it with all necessary signatures to the Department. Applications may be submitted for any or all of the following HSED options: (1) Department-Approved Test; (2) Attainment of High School Credits; (3) Postsecondary Degree; and (4) Foreign Postsecondary Degree.
- Implementation Guide
- Agency/Program Application
- Registration Data Elements
- Final Transcript Evaluation Form
- Program Checklist
- Sample Action Plan
- Prior Work Site Learning Assessment
- Current Work Site Learning Assessment
- Assurance of HSED Completion - Option 2
- Assurance of HSED Completion - Option 3
- Assurance of HSED Completion - Option 4