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High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED)

“Your Fresh Start Begins Now!!”

High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) classes are for adults who left high school prior to completing all requirements necessary to receive a high school diploma. To enroll in the AEL Program, pre-testing assessments are required and determine a student’s academic skill level. Student who assess at a high school level are enrolled in HSED classes.  

Anyone 16 years and 9 months of age or older can attend AEL classes. Students who are of high school age, must complete a Request for Admission to Test/Age Waiver for High School Equivalency Diploma Form. This document requires signatures from the student, their parent, and the school district’s administrator and verifies the student is not enrolled at the high school. This form must be completed and returned prior to any pre-assessment testing and enrollment into the AEL Program. No one can be enrolled in both the AEL Program and high school at the same time.

To begin and remain in the Adult Education & Literacy Program, students must:

  1. Attend an orientation session with a HSED instructor.
  2. If applicable, complete and return the required Request for Admission to Test/Age Waiver for High School Equivalency Diploma form – 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. 

Classes are offered through a variety of formats and lengths. These include:

  1. Online – this option is beneficial for students who have transportation, work schedule, family, or health issues preventing them from attending face-to-face classes. AEL Instructors communicate and monitor online progress. All five exam disciplines are included in instruction; Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. Students must complete the required coursework in order to stay enrolled in the AEL Program. **All assessments, tests, and exams must be completed at an Iowa Lakes’ campus.**
  2. Fresh Start – this option is held face-to-face at the Algona, Estherville, and Spencer campuses and includes instruction for all five exam disciples; Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. Class schedules fluctuate throughout the year but are generally 12-16 week sessions. Attendance is mandatory in order to remain in the AEL Program.
  3. Spanish Fresh Start – as HiSET® offers a Spanish option, this class is taught solely in Spanish. This class is held face-to-face and is offered at the Estherville Campus only. Preparation for all five exams is provided; Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. Attendance is mandatory in order to remain in the AEL Program. **Potential students who are not already fluent in Spanish reading, writing, and speaking will not be enrolled in Spanish Fresh Start, but will be enrolled in ESL classes.**
  4. Boot Camps – BCs are one or two-week long classes. They focus solely on improving Math and Writing skills. The same number of instructional hours are provided for one-week and two-week session, however, week-long sessions are held all-day while two-week sessions are half-day. Both are held Monday through Friday. Potential students must pre-assess at a high school level in order to attend Boot Camp. Classes are offered at multiple campuses at various times during the year.
  5. College Level Exemption – if a student assesses at a college level, they must complete 12 hours of instruction and successfully pass all three areas of the college Accuplacer assessment. If unsuccessful, they must complete a full session of Fresh Start or Boot Camp. If successful, they are allowed to take the Official Practice Tests after the required 12 hours. 

Additional Information:

  1. CASAS pre-tests, CASAS post-tests, and passing scores on all five Official Practice Tests are required prior to registering for any Official HiSET® exam.  
  2. No student, no matter how high their academic skill level, can meet all program requirements in less than one month. The AEL Program does not guarantee a student will complete HSED requirements within any specific timeframe.
  3. Testing Centers for HiSET® exams are located in Emmetsburg, Estherville, and Spencer.  
  4. Students can earn a voucher with perfect attendance to pay for HiSET® exams.
  5. Students must register and schedule their own HiSET® exams through www.hiset.ets.org. Students can pay for one test at a time ($10.00/exam) or for the full battery ($50.00). 
  6. After successfully completing HiSET® requirements, graduates must request their High School Equivalency Diploma and Transcript by visiting www.diplomasender.com. The cost is $10.00.
  7. Every Adult Education & Literacy student who successfully completes the HSED Program is eligible to receive a $500 scholarship to continue their education at Iowa Lakes Community College. Students must complete a scholarship application by the required due date in order to receive the HSED scholarship.
  8. While a 16 year/9 month old student can begin classes, they cannot sign up for Official High School Equivalency Testing (HiSET®) until they are at least 17. Students who are 17 and 18 year olds will not receive their official transcript and diploma from the Iowa Department of Education until May of the year they would have graduated from high school.

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

***The state of Iowa uses ETS/HiSET® (High School Testing Service) as the testing service for students wishing to receive their High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) – formerly known as GED®. Upon successful completion of all five HiSET® exams, each student will receive a High School Diploma. This credential is issued through the Iowa Department of Education.*** 

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

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