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ERIC Number: ED519796
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 38
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
From GED to College Degree: Creating Pathways to Postsecondary Success for High School Dropouts
Garvey, John
Jobs for the Future
For many years, the General Educational Development (GED) credential has been viewed as the high school dropout's safety net. Though not as well regarded as the high school diploma, the GED has opened up educational and economic opportunity for millions of young people and adults who did not finish high school. Nearly 680,000 people take the full battery of GED tests each year--and more than three-quarters pass. In 2009, 63 percent of test takers were young adults, aged 19-24 (GED Testing Service 2010). With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Jobs for the Future (JFF) identified and documented a number of "best in class" "GED to College" programs--those showing early success in helping youth prepare for and persist in college. This study helped surface a number of shifts that policy leaders and program staff are making as they move away from short-term test preparation to more intensive college-connected designs. Work to document "GED to College" programs also led JFF to articulate a multi-phase model design that is helping partners build and scale up GED/Diploma to College programs for older youth (and adults). The model consists of three phases that programs are developing or strengthening: (1) Enriched Preparation: Integrating high-quality college-ready instruction with strong academic and social supports; (2) Postsecondary Bridging: Building college-ready skills and providing informed transition counseling; and (3) First-Year Supports: Offering appropriate support in the critical first year to help students accumulate credits predictive of completion. This paper shares perspectives from the author on the changes and challenges currently in play in GED programming. Its primary focus is on programs serving older youth (although many of the conclusions hold true for programs serving both older youth and adults). Youth-focused GED programming generally offers a more intensive course of study than is generally available in adult programs and emphasizes preparing recent dropouts for a full-time (or near full-time) postsecondary course of study. This gives these programs more time (relatively speaking) to prepare GED seekers to enter postsecondary education "college ready." Appendices include: (1) College Preparedness Standards: The Work of the American Diploma Project and the Development of the Common Core; and (2) Basic Reading and Writing Course Developed by David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. (Contains 4 tables and 14 endnotes.) [This paper was written with Terry Grobe.]
Jobs for the Future. 88 Broad Street 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 617-728-4446; Fax: 617-728-4857; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Jobs for the Future
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: General Educational Development Tests