Adult Ed

Published on August 3rd, 2017 | by editor


City Colleges to offer both GED and HiSET high school equivalency exams

As of July 2017, City Colleges of Chicago is offering both the GED and HiSET high school equivalency tests at its main testing centers: Richard A. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S. Truman College, and Wilbur Wright College.

Arturo Velasquez Institute and South Chicago Learning Center will also offer the HiSET test.

The GED test has been the sole high school equivalency test used at City Colleges of Chicago for decades. While the GED and HiSET tests are fairly similar, there are some key differences. The HiSET test has both a paper-based and computer version, while the GED has a computer-based version only. Many City Colleges of Chicago Adult Education students are still in the process of developing their computer skills and feel more comfortable and perform better on paper-based tests. By adopting the HiSET test, City Colleges of Chicago hopes to give students pursuing their high school equivalency degree more choices and to better support those with limited computer skills.

The HiSET test is also less expensive than the GED test; it costs $90 for the complete battery as opposed to $120 for the GED battery. Eligible City Colleges of Chicago students can get scholarships to help defray the cost of the tests. With scholarships, the total cost of the tests to students is $50 for the GED and $40 for the HiSET.

Students will not be able to roll over GED tests to the HiSET battery or vice versa. They must complete the full battery of whichever test they have started.

In Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18), CCC will offer 14 professional development sessions to better acquaint Adult Educators and staff with the HiSET test. Sessions will be posted on the Professional Development calendar.

Here are a few additional points about the GED and HiSET tests:

  • Similarities
    • both GED and HiSET are just over 7 hours long
    • both GED and HiSET are offered in English and Spanish
    • both GED and HiSET have comparable math, science, and social studies tests
  • Differences
    • Language arts test
      • the HiSET language arts test has two tests—language arts writing (120 minutes) and language arts reading (65 minutes)
      • the GED has a single language arts test (150 minutes)
    • Essay
      • HiSET essay is human-graded
      • GED essay is machine-graded
  • GED
    • Students must earn a score of at least ≥145/200 on each test
  • HiSET
    • Students must earn a scaled score of at least 8/20 on each subtest, a 2/6 on the essay, and an overall score of 45/100 on the entire battery [students must retake 1-2 subject tests if their overall score is lower than 45/100]
  • GED: $6; we give students a voucher number to cover the cost of the test
  • HiSET: free

If you have any questions about the HiSET test, please contact Adult Education Dean Emily Anderson ( or District Director of High School Equivalency, Nicole Meeuwse Tiénou at

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