The HiSET® (short for High School Equivalency Test) exam comes with five individual subtests that cover English Reading, English Writing, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics. All subject tests contain multiple-choice questions and you’ll also have to write an essay on the Writing portion.
The HiSET’s multiple-choice questions are scored by a machine to guarantee accuracy. Each correct answer on the HiSET exam is worth 1 raw point so your total raw score is made up of all the questions that you answered correctly.
The HiSET exam is computer-adaptive, meaning the difficulty level of the questions is based on how you answer the questions. The more questions you answer correctly, the more the difficulty level goes up, and vice versa. That’s why there is a “scaled score.”
The scaled score you attain is based on your total raw points. It is adjusted for the difficulty level of the questions that you got and answered.
Your essay is not scored by a machine but by two experienced human scorers in line with strict procedures. Scorers award up to three points each to your essay. If the scores awarded by these scores are just one point apart, then the two scores are combined into your essay score.
If the difference is more than one point, a third scorer will read your essay and the two closest scores will be combined into your score. If, for example, scorer one awards 3 points and scorer two awards 2 points, your HiSET essay score will be 5.
HiSET passing score
The HiSET passing standards are set at such a level that some 40 percent of all high school graduates would not pass the five subject tests on their first try. So you see, the exam is quite challenging, and getting optimally prepared is absolutely a must if you want to be successful.
To pass EACH individual HiSET subject test, you need to achieve at least a scaled score of 8 on a scale from 1 to 20. This applies to all of the five HiSET subtests and averaging is not an option!
On top of that, you must attain at least a score of 2 out of 6 on your essay, and your overall scaled score, so your score for all five HiSET subject tests, must be at least 45.
So even if your total scaled score is more than 45, but your score on one subject test is under 8, you will not pass the HiSET exam! You must attain at least an 8-score on all subtests. Some students feel the HiSET is slightly easier than the GED to pass, but overall, the levels are comparable.
So once again, the five HiSET modules (independent subtests) are scored on a score scale that runs from 1 to 20. The passing score on each module is 8 points though individual states have the right to use slightly different criteria, which rarely occurs, by the way.
To pass the HiSET exam, your combined scores on the five modules must be no less than 45 points and you also need to attain minimally 2 points for your essay.
To reach “College & Career Readiness” (CCR) status, you must attain a scaled score of at least 15 for each of the five subtests and a 4-score for your essay. The status “College & Career Readiness” indicates you have performed at a level comparable to what students must command to successfully attend credit-bearing college-level courses.
Your performance summary is located at the bottom of the Individual Test Reports that you’ll receive after each subtest. It outlines how you performed on that subject test. It allows you to identify your stronger and weaker areas so you’ll know how to improve your results. Check here for free HiSET practice tests.
You will receive a score report that indicates whether you passed the HiSET exam or not. Let’s look a little deeper into what a “scaled score” means and how it works.
Usually, when you take a test in school, the score chart reports raw scores, i.e. a percentage of correct/incorrect answers. You may also say that this indicates your number of right answers versus your number of wrong answers.
This scoring method works great if there’s just one version of the test. On the HiSET exam, however, as said above, there are multiple versions that we call “forms.” So simply comparing the number of right versus wrong answers doesn’t work because you may have taken a different “form” than one of your peers. Right?
The one test may well have been a bit more difficult or easier than the test “form” you had. Well, to make that fair, the HiSET exam uses the method of “scaled scoring.” The scaled score method makes it easier and fairer to compare scores attained on different “forms” of the HiSET exam.
In other words, if you have an easier test, you need to answer a few more questions correctly to reach a specific scaled score. If you take a more difficult test form, you can reach the same score if you answer fewer questions correctly.
Attaining a HiSET passing score on a subject test (an 8-score) doesn’t mean you got 8 questions right. It simply means that, based on the difficulty level of the test you took, you reached an 8-score on a scale from 1 to 20.
This also means that if you would take a different difficulty-level test, you most likely would get exactly the same score. Check here for information about taking the HiSET exam online.
HiSET score reports
The results you achieved on the HiSET subtests are available in reports, your score reports. There are “Individual Test Reports” and “Comprehensive Score Reports.”
After each HiSET subject test, you’ll receive an Individual Score Report. This includes your score for that particular subject test, information on what that particular score means, and how to improve your results.
The Comprehensive Score Report is a cumulative record that includes all your results on the HiSET subtests. If you improve your score on one subtest, you’ll get an updated report. So this report always shows your highest score on each HiSET subtest.
Through your HiSET account, you can view your scores and print your reports. So if you need additional score reports, log in to your account and print as many copies as you require, and send your reports to who or wherever you want.
If you would like an Individual Score Report or a Comprehensive Score Report sent to a college or university, scholarship program, or any other organization, you can also simply contact ETS, the HiSET publisher, at 1-855-694-4738, or 1-885-MyHiSET, and ETS will send, on your behalf, up to 3 score reports to the designated school or institution.
Last Updated on February 17, 2021.