The Pros and Cons of a Slow Transition
One of the most compelling features of the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ is that it offers a slow transition to the new Career and College Readiness (CCR) standards. Tests like the GED® test rolled out sudden changes at the beginning of 2014, and didn’t allow their students to adapt to the new – and often harder – subtests.
The TASC test’s transition may be understood as scaffolding, an important education term that refers to a student opportunity in which, “given the support they need early on when they're learning something new, they stand a better chance of using that material independently.” The TASC test is based on College and Career Readiness standards, but it allows a three-year transition to move the test from its current form to a deeper Depth of Knowledge (DOK).
This slow transition illustrates how important our students are to us at McGraw-Hill Education CTB. Our test isn’t only about the standards; it’s also about the students.
But how does this impact you? Look at our pros and cons, and discover why this is important in light of the recent statistics concerning the performance of high school equivalencies (HSEs) in 2014.
• Using the TASC test, teachers are able to focus on the fundamental standards as the TASC test gradually introduces new, and more innovative, types of questions. In other words, teachers have more time to prepare students for the test.
• TASC test takers are able to avoid the failures and retakes that many of their peers taking other HSE tests have experienced because the TASC test didn’t provide CCR test questions hastily.
• A gradual transition allows our test takers to spend more time practicing, studying, and preparing to take the TASC test.
• Some HSE tests have emphasized computer-based testing alongside the new standards, eliminating paper options. However, because our gradual transition is focused on helping students be more successful, we’ve kept our paper-and-pencil format. Computer skills are important, but we won’t force test takers to adapt to computer-based tests immediately. Students can gradually transition from paper-and-pencil to online testing using the TASC test.
• By scaffolding our test, our test makers have ensured that the TASC test is flexible. In fact, your home state has control over which tests they choose and how they distribute them. This is an important feature of the TASC test because states have reacted to and implemented CCR standards in many different ways. Our flexibility improves our slow transition in this way.
• A gradual transition can alter the experience of some students who started taking the TASC test in 2014 but won’t finish the test for a year or two. Their subtests may get more difficult the longer they wait. If you plan to stretch your subtests over the course of a long period of time, be sure you compensate by keeping up with your study habits.
• If you’re looking for a slow transition and you don’t live in a state that’s chosen to offer the TASC test, you might not have the option. Talk to the local test administrators in your area. If your state doesn’t currently use the TASC test, it might in the near future.
• We know there are different types of learners, and some students do benefit from jumping in head first. So for those who are ready fully immerse themselves in CCR standards, familiarize yourself with the gradual transition.
Why is this important?
We think it’s important for our test takers to understand the pros and cons of this slow transition, because it’s essential that each test taker has a fair chance to earn a high school equivalency.
While reviewing and discussing the 2014 HSE statistics [Link to “2014 HSE Statistics: Cleveland Scene Breaks News” post] with NPR, David Spring of the website Restore GED Fairness reported that “HiSET and TASC are much fairer to students.” Spring based his conclusion on the design, lower cost, and paper-and-pencil option, as well as the other pros we’ve listed here.
If you are interested in earning your high school equivalency, it’s important that you explore your options, think about what is most fair to you as a test taker, and pick the test that’s right for you.
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