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ERIC Number: ED510083
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
GED Candidates and Their Postsecondary Educational Outcomes: A Pilot Study. GED Testing Service[R] Research Studies, 2009-5
Patterson, Margaret Becker; Song, Wei; Zhang, Jizhi
GED Testing Service
For most high school non-completers, the GED[R] credential is the bridge to postsecondary education, but little is known about how successfully they could make that transition and whether their participation shifts across time. The American Council on Education (ACE) has begun a three-year longitudinal study to understand the effect of the GED credential on postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion. This study is in support of GED 20/20, a new comprehensive initiative to transition adults without a high school diploma to the GED credential and career and college readiness via accelerated learning. A first step of the study involved piloting the work with a random sample of 1,000 U.S. GED candidates in September 2008. The pilot reports the latest data available from a 2003 cohort of GED candidates who tested shortly after the introduction of the new rigorous 2002 test series. The 307 GED candidates in the pilot attended a total of 369 postsecondary institutions in 44 states. (Some students attended more than one institution.) The vast majority of students who had taken the GED Test initially attended colleges offering programs of two years or less; 78 percent attended public two-year colleges. GED candidates who enrolled in postsecondary institutions enrolled mostly within the first three years after taking the test (i.e., 2003, 2004, or 2005). The vast majority (77 percent) enrolled for a single semester only. Ten of 17 graduates were male, and graduates were either African American, Hispanic, or white. It took graduates an average of 3.8 years to complete their degree program. Major findings of interest in this pilot study reflect a positive relationship between the GED credential and entering postsecondary education. GED credential recipients enrolled in postsecondary education at a significantly higher rate than did non-passers. Women with a GED credential enrolled at a higher rate than male GED credential recipients. Approximately half of GED credential recipients who indicated Enter Two-Year College and Enter Four-Year College as reasons for testing enrolled in postsecondary education after testing. These comparisons suggest that GED credential recipients with the intention to enroll in a two-year or four-year college when testing are more likely to actually do so, compared with GED credential recipients who do not state these goals. Those who earned the GED credential while working part time were more likely to enroll in postsecondary education. GED credential recipients who enrolled in postsecondary education tended to have higher standard scores on the GED Test in all five content areas, and those with higher standard scores were more likely to enroll. A discussion of findings and their implications for future longitudinal research follows. (Contains 5 tables.)
GED Testing Service. Available from: American Council on Education. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 250, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-939-9490; Fax: 202-659-8875' e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Council on Education, GED Testing Service
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: General Educational Development Tests