Preparing for the High School Equivalency Exam

ECC offers free pre-college level courses for those who do not have a high school diploma and want to prepare to earn their high school equivalency certificate (GED®, HiSet®, or TASC™, for Illinois residents). These courses are known as Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Adult Secondary Education (ASE) classes.

  • Adult Basic Education classes include instruction in reading, math, writing, and computers and focus on improving basic skills. 
  • Adult Secondary Education classes are more advanced and cover secondary-level skills in the areas above as well as science and social studies, including the U.S. and Illinois Constitution.
  • These courses cannot be applied toward any associate degree or vocational certificate.

All ABE/ASE classes are free of charge. Students attending ECC on certain types of visas are not permitted to enroll in the free adult education program.

ABE/ASE Class Offerings

  • ABE/ASE classes; taught in English, meet weekday mornings and evenings during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  • ASE classes; taught in Spanish, meet Friday evenings and Saturday mornings during the fall and spring semesters, and on weekday evenings during the summer semester.
  • ECC offers an online high school equivalency preparation course for those who qualify by meeting score requirements on their reading and math placement tests. This class is only offered for more advanced students. Call 847-214-6948 for more information.

How to enroll in ABE/ASE classes

Students must be at least 16 years of age, cannot be enrolled in high school, nor have previously earned their U.S. High School Equivalency certificate to enroll in High School Equivalency classes at ECC. To begin the enrollment process, students must visit the Adult Basic Education Center (ABEC) front desk located in Building K.

New students are asked to bring:

  1. Photo ID.
  2. Letter of separation from high school, if 16 or 17 years old.
  3. Medical card, if receiving public assistance.

Students will be asked to take a reading and math placement test. Placement test scores help our staff recommend the class levels at which each student will begin. After placement testing, students will sign up for an orientation.

Note: Orientation is a very important part of the process, and a requirement for all students before enrolling in ABE/ASE classes.

Illinois High School Equivalency Certificate

The length of time it takes for a student to prepare to take the high school equivalency test varies from one individual to the next. Regular class attendance, dedication, and prior knowledge all play a role in this process.

  • Students are permitted to take the high school equivalency test in English, Spanish, or a combination of both languages.
  • Upon successful completion of one or more ABE/ASE classes and passing the high school equivalency test, in-district students receive a tuition waiver for one three-credit-hour college class at ECC to help them achieve their educational and career-related goals. This waiver must be used within one year.
  • A graduation ceremony is held in May each year to celebrate students who earned the High School Equivalency certificate and completed at least one ABE/ASE class at ECC.
  • At the graduation ceremony, three two-year merit-based scholarships (tuition only) will be awarded. Each scholarship is up to $1,000 for four consecutive semesters, not including summer, beginning the fall after graduation.

Disclosure of Federal Participation
Approximately $636,330 (36%) of the Illinois Adult Education and Literacy Program cost at ECC is federally funded under Title II, Adult Education and Family Literacy of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.