The specific purpose of high school equivalency is the measurement of the educational development of adults who have not completed their formal high school education. Adults may earn a State of Illinois High School Diploma and thus qualify for admission to colleges or other educational institutions, meet educational requirements for employment or promotion, satisfy educational qualifications for induction into the armed services, fulfill requirements of local or state licensing boards, or gain personal satisfaction.
Transcript-Based Alternative Methods of Credentialing provide an alternative route to high school equivalency for candidates who have already completed a significant amount of high school or post-secondary credits. Candidates who meet the eligibility requirements for a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing for high school equivalency shall be granted a State of Illinois High School Diploma upon completion of the following minimum high school credit requirements from a state-recognized and accredited public or private high school, completion of the TABE 11/12 Reading exam with a scale score of 576 or higher (grade 9 equivalent), and completion of the U.S. and Illinois State Constitution and Flag Test.*
*Note: The Illinois Community College board has suspended the administration of the U.S. and Illinois State Constitution requirement effective February 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Please click here to learn more about this suspension and what it means for you.
ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE
An individual is eligible to apply to complete their high school equivalency through this method given they meet all of the following conditions:
- 18.5 years of age or older and their high school graduating class must be, at minimum, in the third quarter of their senior year*
- does not have a high school diploma or high school equivalency credential and is not currently enrolled in a secondary school
- is a resident of the State of Illinois for at least 30 days prior to the initial transcript evaluation** and
- has completed at least 75 percent (13.5 credits) of the minimum graduation requirements as outlined below.
*Age: Seventeen year-olds are not eligible to participate in this method of high school equivalency unless their high school graduating class has already graduated. If an individual is 17 years old and has been enrolled in a public, private, or a home school setting in the last 12 months–and their high school class has already graduated–they must present a withdrawal letter from the last school enrolled in upon their initial transcript review.
Withdrawal letters for this high school equivalency method must be on school letterhead and signed by a school official, must include the candidate’s full name and date of birth, must include the formal withdrawal date/last date of attendance, and must indicate that the candidate’s high school graduating class has already graduated. Transcripts will not be accepted as proof of withdrawal for this method. Proof of withdrawal can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 217-558-6700.
**Residency: Illinois high school equivalency legislation requires that candidates be an Illinois resident for at least 30 days prior to participation in a high school equivalency option. Candidates will be asked to provide a government-issued photo identification and proof of residency during their transcript review(s). If the candidate’s government-issued photo ID does not include an Illinois address, the candidate must provide one of the approved proof of residency documents.
Candidates must provide documentation demonstrating completion of at least 18 credits (equivalent to a year-long high school course) at a state-recognized and accredited public or private high school, a state-recognized and accredited postsecondary institution or adult education program, or a foreign institution of higher education, including:
- at least four (4) years of language arts;
- at least three (3) years of mathematics, which must include one (1) year of algebra and one year of geometry;
- at least three (3) years of social studies, which must include at least one (1) year on the history of the United States;
- at least two (2) years of science;
- at least one (1) year of elective coursework, chosen from art, music, foreign language, or vocational education;
- at least one (1) semester of health; and
- at least one course on consumer education.
All other credits required to meet the 18 credit minimum may be filled with elective coursework in any subject area.
Transcripts utilized for an Alternative Method of Credentialing must come from a state-recognized and accredited institution.
Home schooled programs are not eligible for a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing. Home schooled students who need to complete an Illinois high school equivalency are eligible to complete one of the approved high school equivalency exams (GED® or HiSET®).
The only online or correspondence high schools authorized for use in a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing are the American School (Lansing, IL) and the Illinois Virtual School (sponsored by the Peoria Regional Office of Education).
There are currently no adult high school diploma programs recognized for use in a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing.
Adult education coursework used for an Alternative Method of Credentialing must be completed through an Illinois Community College Board-funded adult education provider. The course title and description must be specific to the credit gap the candidate needs to fill. Candidates may find their nearest adult education provider using our locator tool: https://directory.iladultedhotline.org/.
An eligible candidate who is interested in participating in a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing must have their high school and/or post-secondary transcripts evaluated at the Regional Office of Education for their county of residence.
To find the contact information for your Regional Office of Education, please use our ROE Locator Tool.
Candidates must provide official sealed transcripts for evaluation. Candidates providing transcripts from a foreign institution which are not in English must provide a certified translation in addition to a sealed copy of the records. Candidates are responsible for purchasing the certified translation of transcripts.
Regional Office of Education staff will ensure the candidate meets all eligibility requirements, including age and residency. In addition, Regional Office of Education staff will ensure the candidate meets the minimum of 13.5 required courses completed prior to participation in the program. If the candidate does not meet the eligibility requirements, they will be directed to consider another high school equivalency option.
Regional Office of Education staff will evaluate the transcripts of eligible candidates to determine what requirements still remain. Candidates with remaining requirements may complete their credit gaps using one or more of the methods outlined below.
FILLING CREDIT GAPS
Candidates who are lacking one or more of the 18 total credits, listed above, may fill their credit gaps in one of three ways:
- ICCB-funded Adult Education: Candidates may complete coursework through an Illinois Community College Board-funded adult education provider. Candidates may find their nearest adult education provider using our locator tool: https://directory.iladultedhotline.org/. The course title and description must be specific to the credit gap the candidate needs to fill. An adult education course which grants three units of instruction shall be considered equivalent to one year of high school credit in a relevant subject area.
- Post-Secondary Credit: Candidates may complete coursework through a recognized and accredited two- or four-year college or university. The course title and description must be specific to the credit gap the candidate needs to fill. A post-secondary course which grants three semester credits shall be considered equivalent to one year of high school credit in a relevant subject area.
- High School Equivalency Exam Section: Candidates may complete no more than two subject areas of the GED® or HiSET® exam. A passing score on one subject area of a high school equivalency exam shall be considered equivalent to one year of high school credit in a relevant subject area.
Candidates may use passing scores from GED® examinations taken in Illinois prior to 2014 toward completion of their credit requirements (note: pre-2014 Series GED® and 2014 Series GED® scores still cannot be combined for completion of a traditional GED®). Candidates may also use passing scores from TASC™ examinations taken in Illinois during 2016-2020. All high school equivalency scores must be accessed through, and verified by, Regional Offices of Education for the county in which the test was taken. Regional Offices of Education will not accept records of high school equivalency test scores brought in by candidates.
Candidates will be required to return to the Regional Office of Education for their county of residence with transcripts from any adult education or post-secondary courses taken to fill credit gaps. Transcripts must meet all qualifications listed above.
COST TO PARTICIPATE
The cost of the initial transcript review for an Alternative Method of Credentialing is $20. This fee must be paid to the Regional Office of Education at the time of the initial transcript review. Additional fees apply for copies of the State of Illinois High School Diploma and official high school equivalency transcripts upon completion of this program. For more information on these fees, please view the following page: High School Equivalency Records.
In addition to completion of the 18 required credits listed above, candidates completing a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing must complete the U.S. and Illinois State Constitution requirement and the TABE 11/12 Reading exam with a scale score of 576 or higher (grade 9 equivalent).
U.S. and Illinois State Constitution and Flag Test
Illinois State Constitution and Flag Test effective February 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. Please click the link below to learn more about this suspension and what it means for you.
Illinois Constitution Requirement
TABE 11/12 Reading Exam
Candidates completing a transcript-based Alternative Method of Credentialing for high school equivalency must complete the TABE 11/12 Reading exam with a scale score of 576 or higher (grade 9 equivalent). This exam is free to take.
This exam must be taken through an Illinois Community College Board-funded adult education provider. You can find the closest adult education provider to you using our provider locator: https://directory.iladultedhotline.org/.
The adult education provider will present you with a copy of your scaled score upon completion. This document must be provided by you (the high school equivalency candidate) to the Regional Office of Education in your county.
ORDERING HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY RECORDS
Eligible candidates who have completed all requirements listed above may request copies of their State of Illinois High School Diploma or Official Transcript. High school equivalency records are held at the county level in Illinois, by Regional Offices of Education. In order to obtain copies of an Illinois High School Equivalency Diploma or Transcript, or to complete a third-party verification for records, please review the information below.