Pennsylvanians Now Get to Choose Their High School Equivalency Test

Sean Casey


Princeton, N.J. (February 24, 2016) – For the first time in Pennsylvania history, students will have a choice in what test they take to earn the state’s high school equivalency credential, the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma. The Pennsylvania Department of Education authorized the HiSET® exam to be administered by test centers throughout the state, beginning this month.

“Now, more than ever, Pennsylvanians need the flexibility to pursue their educational and career goals in the manner that best meets their needs, and the added option of the HiSET exam grants them that opportunity,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “There are multiple pathways to success in today’s economy and by offering a choice in measurement tools, more adults and those who did not graduate will have access to the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma and, ultimately, the jobs they hope to obtain in the future.”

Approximately 1.2 million Pennsylvanians over the age of 25 lack a high school credential. That’s over 10 percent of the state’s population underprepared to meet workforce demands. Having more choices has the potential to allow more Pennsylvanians to earn their credential — improving the social and economic stability of their communities. 

“One test can change a life,” says Amy Riker, National Executive Director of the HiSET program at ETS. “Having options, like cheaper test prices, or choosing whether to take the test on paper or a computer, gives test takers more control in how they accomplish their educational goals leading to better career and education opportunities.”

The HiSET exam, developed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Iowa Testing Programs, became a test option in 2014, and is currently approved in 20 states and four U.S. territories. Scores measure high school equivalent skills, and are accepted for college or job applications and the U.S. military. The test is offered in computer- or paper-delivered formats and is cheaper than previous options.

For more information about the HiSET program from ETS, please visit