Some of you have encouraged your teens to pursue a GED. While the Homeschool Legal Defense Association tells us that our homeschool diplomas are legal in all 50 states, you or your teen may have other reasons for obtaining a GED high school equivalency.
Diploma, Degree, or GED?
This excerpt is from Homeschooling for College Credit 2nd edition
The National Center for Education Statistics is our federal government agency that collects and analyzes education data for our country. We know that the number of students completing high school continues to increase, and about 85% of high school students in the USA will leave high school with either a high school diploma or GED credential. This is a dramatic increase over the past 50 years. We don’t have perfect data for homeschooled students, but if you’re reading this book, odds are that you’re arranging a diploma, degree, or GED for your student.
If you’ve provided a home education for your student, and you’ve followed the homeschooling laws in your state, your student should be issued a high school diploma baring some unusual circumstance.
Parent-issued high school diplomas are legal in all 50 states and for entrance into the military. A diploma is your certification that your teen has met the requirements of your homeschool. Since parents determine high school graduation requirements in most states, it’s impossible for a student “not to qualify” for a homeschool high school diploma. In states with requirements, a parent does have a bit more responsibility.
A parent can create a diploma on their computer, or purchase one that looks more professional. A diploma (the physical piece of paper) is really only a keepsake. While your teen may be asked to produce a copy of their homeschool diploma, it is more likely that they’ll need to produce a copy of their transcript. The transcript is an official document outlining the courses, credits, and grades earned in high school. HS4CC transcript resource page
A GED (used interchangeably: GED, HiSet, TASC) is a test anyone over age 16 can take to demonstrate high school level learning has been achieved without finishing high school. A GED is not an exit test for those of you who are homeschooling legally and is not part of the exit process. Homeschool students do not take the GED “to graduate” from homeschool. The only reason to pursue a GED is when a student leaves school before completing their homeschool program. In every state, a parent can issue a legal homeschool diploma, and in most states, the parent can choose the content of their diploma. In other words, 24 credits of just art? Yes. 24 credits of apprenticeship? If you like. Skip history? Sure. In short, unless your
state enforces graduation requirements on your homeschool curriculum, parents get to decide what constitutes their student’s homeschool diploma- and if you’re deciding, its easy enough to also decide when your teen has met those criteria.
You may wonder why a resourceful parent would choose a GED instead of a high school diploma, but there are a few situations that make sense.
An obvious reason is that your teen has non-college plans that they want to begin NOW. If your teen wants to enlist in the military before completing high school, obtaining a GED (and meeting other specific branch admission criteria) can accelerate the process. Since enlisting before age 17 is not allowed in any branch, this may only gain an advantage of a few months for your teen. Still, exiting high school by taking the GED would meet the educational requirement for enlistment in most branches.
A more likely scenario that would initiate a GED is that the family is unable or unwilling to finish homeschooling. This could be the result of a tragedy, death, or disability of a parent. In these cases, especially when the teen is within a year or two of graduation, a GED may make sense. I’ve also met a family that moved to a new state during their son’s 11th-grade year, and rather than rushing to meet their new state’s very strict requirements, they simply used the GED and stopped homeschooling. The GED exists to help families in these complicated situations.
If you’re being told that your teen has to get a GED by an employer, college admissions office, or military recruiter, please contact Homeschool Legal Defense Association by phone or email via their website. Sometimes innocent mistakes or mixing up laws can result in parents turning their world upside down. Parents in our group have been told that their teen isn’t eligible for financial aid without a GED (untrue). I’ve read that some employers require every employee to hold an accredited high school diploma or GED, but they’re misusing the term “accredited.” I’ve also heard parents retell that a GED is required for military enlistment if your teen was homeschooled, but a homeschool diploma is recognized by every branch of our armed
services. If you’re faced with any of these challenges, or you’re being told your son’s diploma isn’t valid, you need help. HSLDA will walk with you and advocate for you.
Two final words for parents who plan to use the GED with their teens. The market for test prep material and GED information is thick with scams and fraud. Your local community college should be your first and last stop for GED prep courses and legitimate exam information. Still, preparation is important so your teen can aim to earn 10 college credits!
College Credit for GED
In 2014, GED Testing Services (GEDTS) partnered with ACE and evaluated the exam. ACE determined that high enough scores warrant college credit. As such, your teen can earn 10 college credits for successfully scoring above this benchmark.
NOTE: even though a student may hit these benchmark scores, ultimately the college your teen attends decides whether or not they’ll issue college credit for the GED.
Each section is scored on a scale of 100–200. 145 is considered passing, 165 is considered college ready, and 175 or above is worth college credit.
Mathematical Reasoning test: 175 or above will receive 3 college credits in algebra.
Reasoning Through Language Arts: 175 or above receive 1 college credit in humanities.
Science: 175 or above will receive 3 college credits in science (no lab awarded).
Social Studies: 175 or above will receive 3 college credits in social sciences.
One of the most common mistakes parents make is confusing a state’s graduation requirements with the admissions requirements of their state colleges. Knowing each is very important while planning your teen’s high school exit strategy.
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