Youth High School Equivalency

  • The High School Equivalency Program is a test-when-ready program for 16-20 year olds. Students are enrolled through their high school guidance office and attend either a morning or afternoon session. Once a student has met the minimum attendance requirements and demonstrated readiness for the High School Equivalency exam, he or she is referred to the next scheduled exam.

    Program Content

    Students are instructed in all areas relevant to the High School Equivalency exam. These include reading comprehension in a variety of subject areas, math, and writing. Classes consist of group instruction as well as individualized lessons. Most of the materials used in class are specifically geared to preparation for the High School Equivalency exam. In addition, life skills, college searches, and career exploration are incorporated into the curriculum.

    Class Location and Schedule

    There are High School Equivalency classrooms located at the Auburn YMCA. Students are assigned to one or the other, in the morning or afternoon, on a space-available basis. The morning session runs from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The afternoon session begins at noon and ends at 2:30 p.m. Student requests for a particular placement will be honored whenever possible.

    Program Cost

    There is no cost to the student for these classes. School districts belonging to the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES buy a certain number of “slots” in the High School Equivalency Program each academic year. As students test out of the program they are replaced with new students from their own district. Most districts have a waiting list, and enrolled students are expected to make good use of their time while in the program. Students who refuse to engage in High School Equivalency preparation activities will generally be dropped from the program by their home school so that another student can have a chance.


    Who is eligible?

    Any high school student who is at least 16 years of age may be qualified to enter the High School Equivalency Program at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES. Factors such as the number of high school credits earned or date of birth may affect eligibility. Students should discuss their options with a guidance counselor in order to determine if a High School Equivalency program is right for them.

    What about transportation?

    Busing is provided by the home school districts.

    When can I take the High School Equivalency exam?

    The High School Equivalency exam is offered monthly at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES. It is also offered at alternate times in neighboring counties (Onondaga, Tompkins, and Cortland). For students with approved High School Equivalency testing accommodations, individual and small-group tests will be arranged as needed.  
    A student becomes eligible to sit for the exam by meeting the minimum attendance requirement, attaining a 9th grade reading level, making documented gain in his or her weakest academic subject area, and earning a passing score on the official predictor test. There is no set timeline for completing these goals; while one student may be ready to test by the time he or she has completed the required 12 hours of instruction, another may be with us for more than one academic year. In general, a student that has worked hard to meet these requirements can expect to test in a reasonable amount of time.

    What will I be tested on?

    The High School Equivalency exam consists of four subject tests in Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Reasoning Through Language Arts (RLA).

    How can I get started?

    The first step is to contact your high school guidance counselor. He or she can determine your eligibility, complete the paperwork, and let you know how soon you could begin.