tasc high school equivalency

What is the TASC?

TASC stands for “Test Assessing Secondary Completion.” The TASC is an exam that measures whether you have achieved a level of academic accomplishment equivalent to having graduated from high school. Your state may require you to take the TASC if you are seeking a high school equivalency degree.

You may have heard people refer to getting a high school equivalency degree as “getting a GED.” However, this way of referring to the degree is inaccurate. The GED® is an exam that has long been used in most states to determine whether a person should be granted a high school equivalency degree by the state. The degree itself is not “a GED.” Recently, some states have decided to stop using the GED® test or to offer another testing option in addition to the GED® test for people who are seeking a high school equivalency degree. TASC is one such alternative to the GED® test. As of December 2014, New York, Indiana, and West Virginia have chosen to use the TASC instead of the GED® exam. Students in those states must take the TASC exam in order to earn a high school equivalency diploma. Other states may be considering using the TASC instead of the GED® exam as well. Individuals seeking a high school equivalency degree in California, Nevada, Wyoming, Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New Jersey will take the TASC test, the GED® test, or another exam called the HiSET®. Contact your state’s department of education to find out which exam you should study for.

There are two ways to take the TASC: using paper and pencil or on a computer. Which format you will take may depend on your state. Contact your state’s department of education to find out whether you will test on paper or on a computer. It may be that you have a choice, or your state may require you to test in a specific format.

The TASC will be available in Spanish. If you would like to take the Spanish version of the test, contact your state’s department of education to find out if and where you can test in Spanish. The timing guidelines for the Spanish version of the test allow an additional five minutes for each section.

The TASC is composed of five subtests in the following subjects:

 

  • Language Arts—Reading

    The Reading Test assesses your ability to understand and reason about fiction and nonfiction passages. You will have 75 minutes to answer approximately 50 items. Most of those items will be multiple choice, though you may also see some questions that tell you to select multiple answers.

  • Language Arts—Writing

    The Writing Test assesses your language skills and has two parts. A multiple-choice component assesses your ability to use correct grammar and to edit text for clarity. On that portion of the Writing test, you will have around 60 minutes to answer approximately 50 questions. On the second part of the Writing test, you will have approximately 45 minutes to write one essay in response to a passage or passages.

  • Mathematics

    The Mathematics Test assesses your ability to reason with numbers and apply mathematical formulas to solve problems. The test will be split into two sections. You will have 55 minutes to answer questions with a calculator and 50 minutes to answer questions without a calculator. Most of the questions will be multiple-choice format. Some answers will require you to use a bubble grid. Other questions may ask you to fill in the blank. If you are taking the TASC test on computer, some questions may require you to use your mouse to arrange items on the screen.

  • Science

    The Science Test assesses your ability to reason with scientific information as well as your familiarity with high school level concepts in life science, physical science, and Earth and space science. Most Science Test questions will be based on a short passage or graphic, but some may require you to remember a basic science concept. You will have 85 minutes to answer approximately 50 questions on the Science Test. Most of those items will be multiple-choice, though you may see other formats.

  • Social Studies

    The Social Studies Test assesses your ability to reason with social studies information as well as your familiarity with high school level concepts in U.S. history, civics and government, economics, world history, and geography. Most Social Studies Test questions will be based on a short passage or graphic, but some may require you to remember a concept from social studies. You will have 75 minutes to answer approximately 50 items on the Social Studies Test. Most of those items will be multiple- choice, though you may see other formats.

When to Take the TASC

When should you plan to take the TASC? The best answer is: when you’re ready. You may have to
do a significant amount of studying before being ready to test, especially if you have been away from school for some years. That said, it can be helpful for you to set a goal—a date by which you would like to have the TASC completed. Having a date in mind can motivate you to stick to your study schedule and manage your studies. It can also help you stay focused on your ultimate goal of earning your high school equivalency degree. If you are planning to apply for college, you should be aware that applications are typically submitted in the fall and winter of each year for those entering college the following fall. Call the schools you’re interested in to find out when their application deadlines fall and plan accordingly.

Registering for the TASC

How you will register for the exam depends partly on your state. Contact your local adult education center (such as a community college) or your state’s department of education, or visit www.tasctest.com to learn more.

Your state may allow you to take different subject tests on different days, or to split the TASC between two days.

The TASC is available in large print, audio, and Braille formats for those who have a disability. In other cases of disability, extended time may be granted. If you have a disability that would require one of these formats, you can learn more at www.tasctest.com—and plan ahead: allow at least 30 business days for your request to be processed.

If you do not pass one of the TASC subtests, you may retake that subtest twice within a year at no additional charge. If you need to take a subtest a fourth time, contact your state department of education to find out about retesting options.

How is the TASC scored?

The range of possible scores on each TASC subtest is 300 to 800.

High school equivalency: To receive a high school equivalency degree from your state, you must pass all TASC subtests at 500 or above. In addition, in order to pass the Writing subtest you must score at least a 2 out of a possible score of 8 on the essay. There is no cumulative, overall score required to earn a high school equivalency degree.

Career and College Readiness: This is a higher scoring level that will be used to indicate that a test-taker is ready to apply to college or another postsecondary program, or that a test-taker is prepared to train for a more advanced career. If your goal is to enroll in postsecondary training (such as college), you should try to score at this level. The Distinguished Achievement benchmark scores are 580 for Language Arts Reading, 560 for Mathematics, and at least 6 out of 8 on the Writing Essay.

 

Looking for more TASC strategies and practice? Check out our TASC book.