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High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED)

“Your Fresh Start Begins Now!!”

 
The High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) classes are for adults who left their high school prior to completing all requirements necessary to receive a high school diploma. CASAS Pre-testing will determine the academic skill level of each student. If the pre-test determines the student is at a high school level, they will be placed in our HSED classes. Students testing below high school level will be enrolled in the ABE Program (Adult Basic Education) to improve their skills until they are able to transition into HSED.

Anyone 16 years of age and older can participate in HSED, however, they cannot be enrolled in any other high school. If a student is 16-18, they must have a high school administrator sign our Request for Admission to Test/Age Waiver for High School Equivalency Diploma form acknowledging the student is no longer enrolled at the high school prior to beginning any of our programs. 

***The state of Iowa uses ETS/HiSET® (High School Equivalency Testing Service) as our testing service for students wishing to receive their High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). Iowa formerly used GED® as its testing service. GED® should not be confused with the credential students receive when successfully passing all instruction and testing requirements to receive their HSED. The High School Equivalency Diploma is and always has been, the credential issued by the Iowa Department of Education upon successful completion of our program.*** 

Students who are 16 can begin instruction but they cannot sign up for any Official HiSET® testing until they are at least 17. Anyone 17 years or older can take the Official HiSETs®, however, 17 and 18 year olds cannot receive their official transcript and diploma from the Iowa Department of Education until May of the year they would have graduated from high school.

To receive a HSED from the Adult Education & Literacy Program at Iowa Lakes Community College, students must:

  1. Attend an orientation session with an ABE/HSED instructor.
  2. Students 16-18 years old must return the required Request for Admission to Test/Age Waiver for High School Equivalency Diploma form – completed with appropriate signatures.
  3. Complete an application.
  4. Take a Reading and Math CASAS pre-test to determine academic skill level.
  5. Attend and complete direct instruction classes with our qualified teachers. Academic understanding is of utmost importance, so students are allowed to take as many classes as necessary for them to have a deep understanding of the material. (***If a student tests in the college level, they only have to complete 12 hours of instruction and successfully pass all three areas of the Accuplacer test, if they do not pass, they will have to enroll and complete a full session of Fresh Start or Boot Camp classes.***) 

     
    There are three options for direct instruction:

    a. Fresh Start: 16-week sessions that cover all five testing disciples; Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. Fresh Start classes are held at the Algona, Estherville, and Spencer Campuses. Classes are held morning, afternoon, and evening for 2.5 hours per day Monday through Thursday (**class times and locations fluctuate throughout the year**). Two levels of instruction are offered; Level 2 is for HSED students. 
         * Attendance is a requirement. If students miss more than six classes, they will be removed from the class and will have to wait for the next session to begin. Perfect attendance, however, will earn a voucher that will pay for the entire battery of HiSETs® (this does not include re-testing).

    b. Spanish Fresh Start is a 16-week session that cover all five testing disciples; Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. Spanish Fresh Start classes are held in the evening at the Estherville Campus. The class schedule fluctuates from session to session. Those interested in attending our Spanish Fresh Start classes should view the attached schedule or contact our Spanish Fresh Start instructor; Lizbeth Ramos. Two levels of instruction are offered; Level 1 (ABE) for those at an eighth-grade level and lower, and Level 2 (HSED) for those who are at or above high school level.
         * Attendance is a requirement. If students miss more than six classes, they will be removed from the class and will have to wait for the next session to begin. For those in HSED classes, perfect attendance will earn a voucher that will pay for the entire battery of HiSETs® (this does not include re-testing nor the transcript fee).
     
    c. Boot Camp: a week-long 44 hour class (Monday – Monday) that focuses on Math and Writing only. This is a great option for those who are at a high school level and just need to concentrate on these skills to prepare for the HiSET® Tests. Boot Camps are held at the Emmetsburg and Spirit Lake Campuses at various times during the year. 
         * Attendance is a requirement. If students miss more than two days, they will be removed from the class and will have to wait for the next session to begin. Perfect attendance, however, will earn a voucher that will pay for the entire battery of HiSET® tests (this does not include re-testing).
     
    d. Online: The Adult Education & Literacy Program (AEL) offers online direct-instruction options. Online options are available for both Level 1 and Level 2 students. Though monitored remotely by AEL instructors, these are self-directed classes with modules and course-work that must be completed. Student who opt to use our online option must be disciplined to stay on task as the instructors monitor your progress. The online option is helpful for those students who enroll in the AEL Program too far into the 16-week session for face-to-face Fresh Start classes, or even have transportation, childcare, or medical issues. We don’t want to slow down or lose our students who are making progress due to unforeseen setbacks. Students are still able to join face-to-face classes during Fresh Start breaks if necessary or requested. 
         * Attendance is a requirement. Vouchers for “perfect attendance” may be earned through online participation. The online instructors set the policy for perfect attendance dependent on each student’s entry into the online option. We have limited seats, if a student does not complete required lessons they will be removed from the online option and will have to wait to attend a face-to-face class at one of campuses.
  6. Post-test Reading and/or Math CASAS tests to determine academic skill gains.
  7. Complete National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) Testing for employment certification.
  8. Take and pass all five Official Practice Tests (OPTs). These tests are a requirement of the state of Iowa to determine whether a student is ready to begin taking the Official HiSET® Tests. Requiring OPTs not only better prepares student for the HiSET®, it also has made Iowa’s success rate much higher than other states.
  9. Register for your Official HiSET® online through www.hiset.ets.org. Each student has to create an account, select test dates, and pay $50 for the full battery of tests Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing through this site. Students can also view the schedule for testing days and times available at the Emmetsburg, Estherville, and Spencer Testing Centers.
  10. After successfully completing all five HiSETs®, graduates must request their High School Equivalency Diploma and Transcript by visiting www.diplomasender.com. Graduates must create and account and pay a $10 fee for these credentials.
  11. Keep in contact with the AEL program. You can call us anytime to ask for information or help. We like to know how our past graduates are doing; whether you’ve now gotten a job or are attending college. Meeting this goal just means you have a new one to achieve – don’t ever limit yourself on what you can achieve!  

***Classes and instruction are FREE to all Adult Education & Literacy students.***

The only cost to the HSED student is the cost of the Official HiSETs®. The full battery of HiSETs® with transcript fee is $60.00. Our Testing Centers for Official HiSETs® are located in the libraries of the Emmetsburg and Estherville Campuses and in the Adult Education & Literacy Classroom at the Spencer Campus.  

Every Adult Education & Literacy student who successfully completes all five HiSETs® and receives their High School Equivalency Diploma will automatically receive a $500 scholarship to continue their education at Iowa Lakes Community College. **Students must first complete a scholarship application by the required due date in order to receive the HSED scholarship.**

No student is ever allowed to enter our HSED Program and receive an Equivalency Diploma in one day. The AEL Program does not guarantee a student will complete their HSED requirements or receive their High School Equivalency Diploma within any specific timeframe. There are requirements and processes that every student must adhere to and understand including:

  1. State of Iowa regulations require students to attend and complete direct instruction classes with a qualified instructor.
  2. Multiple tests must be successfully completed throughout the process including CASAS assessments, Pre-tests, Post-tests, Official Practice Tests, multiples ones if necessary, and the Official HiSETs® (neither Math nor Writing tests can be scheduled as the final test).
  3. The Writing HiSET® is a two-part test that must be sent away to be scored, which could take up to two weeks.
  4. All HiSETs® are scored through Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  5. Even if academic skill level is high, no student can get through all requirements in less than a month. 

 

Spencer HSED Students with instructor Katherine Pearce
Spencer HSED Students with instructor Katherine Pearce

Spencer HSED Students with instructor Katherine Pearce
Spencer HSED Students with instructor Katherine Pearce

Spencer HSED Students with instructor Katherine Pearce
Spencer HSED Students with instructor Katherine Pearce

Graduation
Graduation

Graduation
Graduation

Graduation
Graduation

Graduation
Graduation

For more information regarding the Adult Education & Literacy ABE and HSED programs, please contact the following:

Algona Campus
Lynn Jenson
515 295-8521
ljenson@iowalakes.edu 

Emmetsburg Campus
Janeice Garrard
712 852-5262
jgarrard@iowalakes.edu

Estherville Campus
Heather Harmon
712-362-6826
hharmon@iowalakes.edu

Estherville Campus
Spanish ABE & HSED Instructor
Lizbeth Ramos
712 209-4716
Lizramos05@msn.com

Spencer Campus
Katherine Pearce
712 852-5359
kpearce@iowalakes.edu

Spirit Lake Campus
Debbie Clark
712 336-6564
dclark@iowalakes.edu

Lisa Washington
Adult Education & Literacy Programmer
712 852-5257
lwashington@iowalakes.edu

Questions or comments? Please email us at info@iowalakes.edu or call 712-362-2604 or 800-521-5054.
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