Earning a High School Diploma in Vermont
Vermont offers two pathways to a diploma for people who did not finish high school. The state's High School Completion Program allows you to work with educators to earn credits for a traditional diploma. Vermont also offers the General Education Development, or GED, a test which allows you to earn a Vermont Secondary School Equivalency Certificate by passing a comprehensive set of tests that show you have the skills and knowledge expected of a high school graduate.
Eligibility and Requirements
Vermont's High School Completion Program is available to those who are 16 years of age or older, have not previously earned a diploma, are highly motivated to graduate early, at risk of dropping out, or not even enrolled in high school. Students will need to show proficiency in typical high school subjects, however, requirements for the diploma are determined by the school.
In Vermont, you can take the GED test if you are 18 years of age or older. The test is also available to candidates who are at least 16 years old if they have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. Eligible participants must not be currently enrolled in high school.
Passing the GED
You must score 145 on each of the four test sections and have a total score of 580 or higher to pass the GED test. If you earn 165-200 points on any test section you will receive an Honors score, which shows you are college-ready. If you score below 145 on a test section, you can retake it up to three times within a year. There is no set waiting time between retests, but you will have to pay a fee each time.
High School Completion Program
Vermont's High School Completion Program, which is administered by Vermont's Adult Education and Literacy network, allows participants to work with local high schools and a local Adult Education and Literacy center to design an individualized graduation plan that can include a wide variety of different educational and training experiences. It is intended as an alternative to the usual credit-based graduation program. Credits earned in high school may be applied toward graduation requirements.
Individuals will initially need to take tests in writing, math, and reading to assess their skill level. The program uses all types of training, including workshops, courses, work-based projects, internships, classwork, and mentoring. Upon completion, students earn a diploma from a partnering high school.
The GED Test
The GED Test is just over seven hours long and has four separate test sections in language arts, math, science, and social studies. The GED test is taken on a computer at an official testing center, and cannot be taken online. Special accommodations may be made if you have a disability and are considered on a case-by-case basis. The test is offered in English and Spanish, and you can take it all in one day if scheduling allows, or you can take the following test sections one at a time, in any order:
- Reasoning Through Language Arts - This is a 150-minute test that assesses your reading ability and your writing skills. Some of the questions will require you to analyze and interpret literary and informational texts. Other questions will ask you to revise written selections and correct problems with grammar, organization, and word usage. The test includes an essay that you have 45 minutes to plan, write, and edit.
- Mathematical Reasoning - The 115-minute math portion of the GED tests your problem-solving skills and covers topics in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. There are a variety of question formats. Specific items may include fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, polynomials, linear equations, and calculating the area, perimeter, and volume of geometric figures. You can use a calculator and a formula sheet for most of the questions.
- Social Studies This 70-minute test section assesses your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret different types of social studies-related ideas and information. The test content covers U.S. history, civics, government, geography, and economics. Questions are based on reading selections, graphs, maps, charts, and illustrations.
- Science The 90-minute science test section measures your ability to understand, interpret, and express scientific ideas and information. Questions cover life sciences, physical science, and Earth and space science. The test includes two extended-response questions that may ask you to summarize information and evaluate data. A calculator is allowed for portions of the exam.
Vermont GED Fees
The fees for GED testing in Vermont are $30 for each test section or $120 for the full battery of four tests. The GED Testing Service website, GED.com, has a database of testing centers in Vermont. You can register and schedule your tests online. You can also find sample questions, practice tests, and other study resources at GED.com.
Why Get Your High School Diploma in Vermont?
According to Vermont's Agency of Education, those without a high school diploma are twice as likely to be unemployed when compared to those who have received their diploma. And according to the GED Testing Service, nearly 98 percent of U.S. colleges and universities accept graduates of the GED program.