Posted by Christy Williams on September 8th, 2015
Homeschooling is an educational delivery method chosen by many families for various reasons. While some may choose to homeschool only for a specific period, others choose to complete their secondary education via homeschool. As the homeschool delivery approach and requirements vary greatly, confusion often arises surrounding graduation best practices. The resulting confusion can impact the college application process. Some of the confusion can be eliminated by taking the GED® test or another high school equivalency exam.
Each state has the ability to determine their own parameters for homeschool delivery and graduation requirements. Some states require a portfolio of work, while others require periodic testing throughout the years. Some states do not require testing or reporting at all for homeschools. In other cases, homeschool administrators are required to keep records and produce documentation only if officially asked.
As a result, homeschool students are applying to colleges with transcripts and experiences that vary from their peers who received a traditional high school education. The GED test and other high school equivalency exams provide a way for students to show that they have met a general and consistent set of requirements.
While most homeschool programs incorporate testing into their curriculum, the tests are not always scored against national norms. The result can yield incongruous data when applying for college. This can also create some uncertainty regarding the breadth and depth of student knowledge.
Students taking a high school equivalency exam are able to demonstrate their scope of knowledge regardless of their prior preparation. The GED exam and other standardized tests provide a level playing field for homeschool students. Application committees are able to get an accurate assessment of homeschooled students in comparison to other applicants to their programs.
Typical homeschool tests are given by the homeschool administrator. In many cases this administrator is a parent or caregiver. The testing environment and delivery method can also differ in the homeschool setting. The differences in administration practices can raise questions regarding test scoring and the validity of homeschool diplomas.
Participation in GED testing presents an opportunity for homeschool students to complete standardized testing in a controlled environment that is evaluated by unbiased scorers. Students are then able to submit objective test data with their college applications.
In many ways, taking the GED test or another high school equivalency exam can positively impact a homeschooled student’s college application process. Many biases are removed, and students’ applications are reviewed against the same, or similar, standards as those coming out of traditional learning environments. Though their journey may have differed, GED testing creates a direct path to college destinations for homeschooled students.