SB 171 – This act modifies the laws governing high school equivalency tests.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must ensure that any high school equivalency test be administered in a manner that does not discriminate against students with a diagnosis of a mental health condition that affects learning or students with learning disabilities, as described in the act. If an applicant possesses such a condition or disability, the Department must administer an individualized test to accommodate the applicant.
Beginning January 1, 2016, the Department must offer applicants at least one additional high school equivalency testing option selected by the State Board of Education as an alternative to the HiSET testing program and the Iowa Testing Program. When selecting the additional test option, the State Board of Education must consider the following factors: substantial equivalency of test scope and rigor with a comprehensive high school course of study leading to a diploma; the recognition of the test by other states; the test’s portability; the cost to test takers, with priority given to achieving the lowest cost; and other criteria that meet the needs of individual test takers.
The State Board of Education must adopt rules for a waiver of the fees for the high school equivalency examination. The Department must establish a sliding-fee scale. To be eligible for a financial hardship fee waiver, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she has achieved a minimum passing score on a high school equivalency practice test.
This act is substantially similar to the introduced version of HB 381 (2015).