CCCOE Provided GED/HiSET During Pandemic

CCCOE Provided HS Equivalency Exams During Height of Pandemic
Posted on 07/21/2021

For the last year, through some of the most critical phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) continued to offer in-person General Education Development (GED) and High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) testing to all California residents. CCCOE, a proud provider of direct services to incarcerated, homeless, foster care students, and students with severe physical or emotional challenges, offers a stable testing program environment to fulfill the needs of participants of all ages and backgrounds who are seeking GED or HiSET certification to move forward in their lives.

“GED and HiSET testing are critical tests that change people’s lives,” said Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey, who took and passed the GED to complete her high school education. “CCCOE is committed to educational equity and providing education opportunities to people of all backgrounds. The influx of test takers to this program shows that high school equivalency tests are a crucial service to our community and the state of California, regardless of the pandemic.”

GED and HiSET testing availability is important for people beginning new chapters in their lives, as receiving a passing mark is often a prerequisite to continuing their education, going through immigration proceedings, and entering careers such as nursing or law enforcement.

During the summer of 2020, accessibility to the in-person GED and HiSET exams was limited due to the pandemic. Taking the test was still crucial to many, with several people driving from far regions of the Bay Area and even Southern California. Within weeks of reopening in July 2020, the testing center was fully booked.

Nicole Grimshaw, Testing Administrator for the Contra Costa County Office of Education, saw firsthand how the pandemic increased GED and HiSET participation, causing the agency to increase the number of available testing days.

“In the 2019-2020 year, we had 192 GED tests scheduled and 171 people showed up,” Grimshaw said. “Since July 2020, when we reopened and started testing, we’ve had 450 GED tests scheduled and 371 people showed up. CCCOE provided the only testing center in the state for a very long time once we reopened.”

Grimshaw said someone drove six hours from Los Angeles and spent the night in a hotel just to take the GED so they could advance their career. Others came from Bay Area cities such as Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, San Jose, and Mountain View.

CCCOE provides a safe testing environment that follows COVID-19 safety protocols. High school equivalency tests are also available in Spanish, increasing accessibility for test takers.

“CCCOE saw a critical need to expand testing opportunities during the pandemic, and we answered the demand,” Superintendent Mackey said. “There's no limit to education. Everyone is deserving of an education and an opportunity for a better life, and CCCOE is proud to offer these services.”

California has approved high school equivalency tests for adults who do not have a high school diploma. Those who pass the test receive a California High School Equivalency Certificate which should be considered equivalent to a high school diploma in order to obtain education or employment in the state.

For more information regarding High School Equivalency testing offered by Contra Costa County Office of Education, please visit

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