High School Equivalency Program (HSEP) guidelines fall under two types instructional or administrative guidelines. Instructional guideline topics include student selection procedures, counseling, curricula and content, resources, completion requirement, and recognition. Administrative guideline topics include implementation, fees, data collection, and test integrity.
The following instructional guidelines will assist your HSEP for your students:
Guideline I.1: Student selection procedures
Selection procedures ensure that students who enroll in the HSEP (option program) will not graduate with their class because of credit deficiency and are otherwise incapable of completing graduation requirements.
A student is eligible to participate in the HSEP according to the Texas Education Code (TEC) Chapter 29 Section 087 (d) if:
- The court, due to a student's failure to attend school, orders the student or the Texas Juvenile Justice Department recommends the student do one of the following:
- participate in a preparatory class for the high school equivalency examination
- take the high school equivalency exams
- The following conditions are satisfied:
- the student is at least 16 years of age at the beginning of the school year or semester
- the student is at risk of dropping out of school, as defined by Section 29.081 (d)
- the student and the student's parent or guardian agree in writing to the student's participation
- the student must have at least two school years elapse since they first enrolled in ninth grade and the student has accumulated less than one third of the credits required to graduate under the minimum graduation requirements of the school
- the commissioner may specify other conditions
All districts must complete an application to have a HSEP. Appendix One of the application requires that districts specify how students will be selected for the HSEP (option program). The parent or guardian must agree voluntarily for the student to be in the program. The application also requires that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools keep adequate and sufficient records reflecting the student’s qualifications to participate in the program. The records include the following:
- attendance records;
- assessments such as the high school equivalency practice test, and student grades;
- transcripts indicating the number of credits earned by the student and the grade level achieved.
TEA staff may monitor student selection procedures and related records for compliance with program requirements,.
Guideline I.2: Counseling
The student must have counseling before enrollment and counseling must be available throughout participation in the HSEP.
HSEP students receive the same guidance and counseling services as all students. Counselors must participate in a pre-entry meeting to discuss available programs to serve the student’s needs and program expectations. Pre-entry counseling includes the involvement of an administrator, a teacher, a counselor, the student, and the student’s parent or guardian. The school counselor is responsible for conducting counseling sessions with individual students in the HSEP on a regular basis. The counselor maintains a record of sessions conducted in the same manner as for other high school students.
Guideline I.3: Curricula and instructional content
Curricula and instructional content must be at the high school level.
Schools transition students from instruction in their graduation plan to the HSEP in a manner that enables the student to be successful. This transition can occur in a variety of ways. Schools have the flexibility in structuring the instructional program for HSEP students in an effort to maximize student’s opportunities for success. The HSEP application requires districts to describe the curriculum and instructional delivery system. The instructional content of the HSEP must be at the high school level; otherwise, a district will not receive approval for a HSEP. The program recommends development of workforce instruction for students.
Guideline I.4: Instructional resources
You must ensure effective instructional delivery, sufficient instructional resources, and qualified staff to the HSEP.
All schools must ensure that qualified teachers instruct HSEP participants. School districts and open-enrollment charter schools will take all reasonable affirmative steps to assign appropriately certified school personnel to serve students. School districts may employ paraprofessional personnel to support the efforts of the classroom teacher. Classrooms should limit the ratio of no more than 15 students per teacher.
School districts in the state of Texas must provide staff development for faculty and staff. TEC §21.451(b) requires that staff development be predominantly campus-based and related to achieving campus performance objectives. Campus staff development include activities that enable the campus staff to:
- plan together to enhance existing skills
- share effective strategies
- reflect on curricular and instructional issues
- analyze student achievement results, to study research, to practice new methods
- identify student strengths and need
- develop meaningful programs for students
- appropriately implement site-based decision-making, and to conduct research
Campuses have the opportunity to develop their own action plans to address the instructional needs of the participants of the HSEP. The instructional strategies implemented in the program may include group collaboration strategies, hands-on activities, one-to-one tutorials, or multi-media strategies. The strategies ensure active participation with consideration of the student's learning style.
Schools operating the HSEP provide instruction at the appropriate high school grade level. The school may modify the instruction, pacing, and material to ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to master the skills required to successfully earn the high school equivalency certificate. The HSEP shall be an integral part of the regular or alternative education program.
Guideline I.5: Completion requirement
Individuals who are eligible and successfully complete the high school equivalency examination will be issued a Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 84, Subchapter C, Section 89.43.
Guideline I.6: Recognition
HSEP graduates receive official recognition.
Schools will provide official recognition for students who successfully complete their high school equivalency. All programs operating a HSEP should offer students recognition activities via graduation ceremonies or similar type ceremonies.
The following guidelines relate to the administrative side of the HSEP:
Guideline A.1: Implementation
Planning and oversight of the implementation of the HSEP are the responsibility of TEA and will necessitate collaboration.
Responsibility for planning, oversight, and administration of Texas' HSEP rest with TEA. Day-to-day operations concerning the HSEP are the responsibility of the HSEP coordinator. Operations include communicating with schools on matters relating to the HSEP, administering and managing the application process, providing guidance and clarity about HESP requirements and compliance issues, and supervising monitoring of the HSEP.
Guideline A.2: Fees
There is no fee collection by the test vendor for operating a HSEP (option program). Authorization is located in TEC Section 29.087 (i).
Guideline A.3: Data Collection
The HSEP application outlines data submission requirements for participating schools. The HSEP coordinator receives self-reported data, aggregates the numbers annually. The HSEP coordinator is responsible for data collection with input from participating school districts, and open-enrollment charter schools.
Guideline A.4: GED Test Integrity
The testing vendor is responsible for monitoring test sites and maintaining test integrity.