General Information and Guidelines for Starting an Adult HSE Test Preparation Program in New York State

Thank you for your interest in starting a HSE preparation program. The following information will help guide you in developing a program that will benefit the people of your community by preparing them to successfully pass the new HSE test (Test Assessing Secondary Completion - TASC™) and earn a New York State High School Equivalency diploma.

There are several issues that should be considered before beginning a HSE/TASC™ preparation program:

  • What population will be served by your program? If your program plans on serving young people, it is necessary that any student under 19 meet specific age eligibility for HSE/TASC™ testing.
  • Does your program intend on charging a fee to the students? If so, you may be bound by guidelines set by the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS) within SED. It is advisable that you visit the BPSS website to determine if your program would need to meet BPSS criteria. If you prefer you may wish to direct any correspondence/questions to BPSS via email. Not all fee based preparation programs fall under BPSS, but make sure that you know the guidelines before you move ahead in setting up your program.

Currently there are no New York State Education Department (NYSED) requirements for starting HSE preparation programs unless the program is receiving funding from SED or plans to charge a fee for the program. An application is not required to be filed with the SED and no oversight by SED staff is provided to preparation programs that DO NOT receive funding from the SED or charge a fee to operate the program. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) needs to approve agencies that provide HSE test preparation classes ONLY when they apply for and are awarded funds from the NYSED.

There are many programs currently receiving funds from the NYSED to provide HSE instruction and you can find programs in your area by choosing your county on the HSE test center webpage. These agencies applied to an RFP (Request for Proposal - a competitive bidding process) in 2013, and were awarded a contract to provide services for a period of 5 years. If you would like to start a free HSE preparation program you will do so without any oversight or funding from the NYSED.

As you can see from the information on the website mentioned above, there are many funded agencies in New York State that provide HSE preparation, and you may want to contact some of them to see if they can give you tips and advice on how to proceed with developing and establishing your program, remember though, they are under no obligation to do so.

As a general guideline, to set up a HSE preparation program, you will need to have:

  1. Classroom space that has adequate ventilation, heating and lighting.
  2. An experienced teacher familiar with the 5 HSE/TASC™ test subjects (Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Science and Mathematics) and the requirements for the HSE/TASC™ (student age eligibility, NYS residency, application process etc.). If you plan to work primarily with adults, then it is preferable to have someone who is experienced in teaching adults.
  3. Instructional materials are available from a number of sources including local bookstores, libraries, and online sites. Adults are encouraged to consult a local testing center and to use the method that best fits your schedule and learning style.
  4. Diagnostic testing materials:
    • TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) Test for determining the reading and math grade levels of your potential students 
    • Readiness Test used to judge readiness to take the HSE/TASC™ is the TASC readiness test.
    • Familiarity with the HSE/TASC™ testing procedures – This material provides an overview of the responsibilities of an HSE/TASC™ teacher and program manager, and has links to the SED HSE Examiner’s Manual and Handbook, so you become familiar with the actual HSE/TASC™ test administration policy and procedures. Students with disabilities may also be eligible for testing accommodations. Please become familiar with the rules and regulations regarding testing accommodations.
      • Please Note: NYSED Commissioner’s Regulations require special documentation for persons 16, 17 and 18 years of age to be eligible to test in New York State. Please refer to: Application Process and Eligibility Requirements for age eligibility regulations.

After a period of instruction your students should show readiness to sit for the HSE/TASC™ test. This readiness is determined by the administration of the TASC Readiness Test. NYSED EPE (Employment Preparation Education) funded adult preparation programs may only refer their students to the HSE/TASC™ test based upon a passing TASC readiness score determined by the NYSED.

Non NYSED EPE funded programs can use the minimum passing score on the TASC Readiness Test. To earn a New York State High School Equivalency diploma, examinees must score a minimum of 500 points on each section. Our experience shows that the higher the score on the Readiness Test, the higher the probability of passing the test. Once the student has attained at least the minimum score on the Readiness Test, they can be referred to an official HSE test site. To find a test site in your area, visit the HSE test center webpage.

We trust this information will assist you in starting an HSE preparation class that will benefit the people in your community by providing them the means to achieve their academic goals and pursue a better future.