The Adult Education, Literacy and Extended Learning (AELEL) Program at ASCC now offers a preparation program for the HiSET test, which is an alternative to the GED. Seen here are AELEL staff (seated) Matagimalie Isaia and Wei Lie Tunoa; and (standing) Director Tauvela Fale, Mona Pati and Iosefa Faiai. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-AELEL Now Offers HiSET Prep Program

September 10, 2015

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

The Adult Education, Literacy and Extended Learning (AELEL) program at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) strives to enable every adult learner in American Samoa to acquire the necessary basic skills in math, reading, writing, speaking, and listening so that they may compete successfully in today’s workplace, strengthen their family foundation, and exercise full citizenship. AELEL makes educational services available to the non-traditional student population of American Samoa by offering courses to provide educational improvement and the advancement of specific and general work-related skills.

AELEL has long provided preparatory courses for traditional and non-traditional students intending to take the General Education Development (GED) exam, but beginning this semester the program also offers the same services for those preparing to sit the new alternative to the GED known as the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). “HiSET is the second test approved by the United States Department of Education for those wishing to obtain a high school equivalency credential in American Samoa,” said AELEL State Director Mr. Tauvela Fale, “and our program provides preparatory courses for students who are planning to take either exam.”

Until 2013, the GED, owned by the non-profit American Council on Education, was the only nationally recognized high school equivalency test. Starting in 2014, the GED came under the ownership of Pearson Education, a private company. As a result of the privatization, two other companies entered the market with different high school equivalency exams they had developed. Now each state makes available not only the GED, but also the HiSET and the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC).

Developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS), the HiSET exam demonstrates that a test taker has attained the academic knowledge and proficiency equivalent to those of a high school graduate. Information from the exam helps identify the areas where test takers are career and college ready, as well as areas where they may need additional preparation. The test covers the five core areas of Language Arts in Reading, Language Arts in Writing, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Test content is aligned with current practice in all states and jurisdictions. Test takers can use existing prep courses and materials to prepare for the HiSET exam, and afterwards they are given respective scores in the five core areas, as well as a total score.

Mr. Fale mentioned that so far, students seeking their high school equivalency have shown a preference for HiSET, which can be taken at a somewhat lower cost from the GED. “The cost for the HiSET exam is $51 for the entire battery,” he said, “and test takers can choose from either a computer based or a pencil and paper version.” While AELEL offers the preparatory courses for both tests, the actual testing is organized by the local DOE Testing Office. “Perspective test takers can contact the Testing Office located at Lions Park to register and find out the test date and time. There is also information listed on the HiSET website,” said Mr. Fale.

The AELEL is currently funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, Title II. The WIA itself was recently reauthorized under Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act signed in to law on July 22, 2014. This law will take effect on July 1, 2016. In addition to Mr. Fale, who has served as ASCC-AELEL State Director since 2008, the faculty includes Mr. Iosefa Faiai, Mrs. Matagaimalie Isaia, and Miss Wei Lie Tunoa, along with Administrative Assistant Mrs. Mona Pati.

Those interested in finding out more about the HiSET and GED preparatory courses offered at AELEL, most of which are available free of charge, can contact Mrs. Pati at 699-9155, ext. 437. For more information on HiSET tests, visit their official website: