There are times when homeschoolers are required to take the TASC test (GED). The Promise Scholarship requires it of homeschool applicants. Some colleges require it. But what are the underlying premises behind a requirement of this nature?
CHEWV’s view is that students graduating from legal homeschools should demonstrate the quality of their education the same way that other students do. Do they have good standardized test scores? How do they do on college admissions tests? How do they fare in initial college classes? If going on to a trade, are they capable of learning and do they demonstrate good character and reliability? These are the ways that every student is judged after high school.
Most students do not take the GED. Instead, a diploma demonstrates the completion of high school study and a transcript clarifies GPA and credits. When a homeschooler is asked to take a general equivalency test, it is evidence that his or her homeschool diploma and transcript are not considered credible.
The TASC website describes the test thus:
The TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ is a state-of-the-art, affordable national high school equivalency assessment. It assesses five subject areas: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The five subject area tests are based on what current students need to know to pass high school tests. All together, the TASC test measures examinees’ levels of achievement relative to that of graduating high school seniors, and Career and College Readiness standards.
Notice that it measures achievement “relative to that of graduating high school seniors.” In other words, it compares your student with students who graduate high school. In fact, the website clearly states that high school graduates are not eligible to take the TASC. It lists the criteria for taking the TASC as follows:
- Not currently enrolled in high school
- Not graduated from high school
- At least 16 years old
- All local requirements for your state or territory regarding age, residency, and length of time since leaving school
A company or institution that asks homeschoolers to take the GED or TASC test is not acknowledging that they have completed high school and is therefore requiring them to demonstrate equivalence with students who did.
Having said that, many homeschoolers take such an equivalency test and do not object to it. In fact, some parents have asked why their homeschooled teenager cannot go ahead and stop taking high school courses because they can easily pass the TASC or GED test. That certainly is an option. It’s an option for public school students as well. Many students have dropped out of high school and instead take the GED or TASC. But society does not generally respect this approach. The legislative answer for high school drop-outs is not to prepare them to take the TASC test but rather to get them back into school.
A legally homeschooled student who successfully completes high school level coursework, and has a diploma and a transcript of legitimate credit hours, is a high school graduate. The homeschool graduate should then be judged exactly as other graduates are.
In the 2015 Legislative Session, the Diploma Fairness Act was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate. Schools and employers in WV should now accept a homeschool diploma.
ARTICLE 8. COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE.
§18-8-12. Issuance of a diploma or other appropriate credential by public, private or home school administrator.
A person who administers a program of secondary education at a public, private or home school that meets the requirements of this chapter may issue a diploma or other appropriate credential to a person who has completed the program of secondary education. Such diploma or credential is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the person meets the definition of having a high school diploma or its equivalent. No state agency or institution of higher learning in this state may reject or otherwise treat a person differently solely on the grounds of the source of such a diploma or credential. Nothing in this section prevents any agency or institution of higher learning from inquiring into the substance or content of the program to assess the content thereof for the purposes of determining whether a person meets other specific requirements.