Berkshire Community College is not only a place for traditional education — it also offers General Educational Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) exams, allowing students to earn a Massachusetts High School Equivalency diploma. The BCC Testing Center also offers College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, allowing students to earn college credits by passing a nationally standardized exam.
BCC offers the GED and HiSET exams because we know that students can experience barriers to finishing high school,” explained Liz Recko-Morrison, BCC Coordinator, Assessment and Testing. “Some have academic issues, while others face social and family difficulties that interfere with diploma completion. Passing either exam allows a student to remove those barriers toward higher education and employment.”
The GED and HiSET tests are both equivalency exams approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Although the exams are slightly different in format and delivery, both are computer-based tests.
The GED and HiSET exams are given several days each month at BCC. Students register for the exams at their respective websites: ged.com and hiset.ets.org. Links to the programs can be found on the Testing Center page at the berkshirecc.edu website. When passed, the GED and HiSET exams provide certification that the test-taker has high school-level academic skills, therefore serving as an alternative to a high school diploma. These tests may be taken by individuals age 16 and older who are not enrolled in high school and who have not earned a high school diploma.
A CLEP test measures how much a student knows about certain academic subjects without necessarily having attended college; most students taking the exam have engaged in independent study or have gained knowledge from employment before they take the test. Students can earn college credits by getting a qualifying score on CLEP tests in topics that include composition and literature, world languages, history and social sciences, science and mathematics, and business. As an open CLEP testing site, BCC serves both current BCC students and test-takers from the wider community. Any of the 33 available CLEP exams may be taken at the BCC Testing Center, which offers CLEP exams two to three days per month.
Berkshire Community College strives to serve the community by offering these testing programs locally. In many ways, the Testing Center is a department that offers options to students so that they can meet their goals,” Recko-Morrison said. “We give students alternative pathways into college and the workforce by offering the GED and the HiSET. CLEP allows students to shorten the path to their degrees or certificates and to easily document learning outside the classroom."