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Tenn. Brings High School Equivalency Exams to Rural Residents

A new service in Tennessee is allowing rural residents who lack high school diplomas to take high school equivalency tests in mobile units, according to a recent article in The Claiborne Progress.

The "Career Coach" vehicles are provided by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which is trying to provide more options for residents in rural communities to earn a diploma. The test, the HiSET, is an alternative to the new General Educational Development exam (GED), and is available either on a computer or on paper. The GED, which was revamped this year, is only offered on a computer.

Nearly 40 percent of students in Tennessee attend rural schools, according to a recent report by The Rural School and Community Trust. About 81 percent of rural adults in the state have a high school diploma, compared to the national average for rural adults of more than 85 percent.

Tennessee is one of a growing number of states that is offering an alternative to the GED. At least a dozen states, including New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Wyoming, are offering the HiSET either as their only high school equivalency exam, or as an alternative to the GED. The new GED, which is more rigorous than previous versions is also more expensive. While some states subsidize the cost of the tests, others may leave the expense to students. 

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