A Ford Foundation grant to the Syracuse Research Corporation in 1972 launched a study to discover the reasons the “over 25” adult population was not earning a credential through existing high school completion programs. Adults interviewed indicated:
- Adult education class schedules are not compatible with adult responsibilities
- Content does not relate to real life experiences
- Multiple choice, paper-pencil test format is too limiting
In response, the National External Diploma Program was created and launched in Syracuse, New York, in 1975.
Because of the success of NEDP for adults in New York, the program expanded to other states as an alternative high school diploma option. In 1979, the U.S. Department of Education, through the National Diffusion Network (NDN), recognized the NEDP as an exemplary program worthy of national dissemination. On July 1, 2006, CASAS – Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems – with assistance from the Connecticut, Maryland, and New York State Departments of Education – acquired the rights to the NEDP.