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ERIC Number: ED526222
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Characteristics of GED Recipients in High School: 2002-06. Issue Brief. NCES 2012-025
Malkus, Nathaniel; Sen, Anindita
National Center for Education Statistics
The General Educational Development (GED) credential is often considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma for students who do not graduate from high school. A GED credential can expand opportunities in the labor market (Song and Hsu 2008) and in postsecondary education for those who obtain it. Nearly all postsecondary institutions (98 percent) that require high school diplomas for application purposes also recognize the GED credential as sufficient to meet minimum educational requirements (American Council on Education 2008). Nonetheless, GED recipients do not enroll in postsecondary education at the same rate as do high school graduates. While GED recipients may not realize outcomes equivalent to those of high school graduates, GED recipients fare better on several outcomes--including future earnings, life satisfaction, levels of depression, and substance abuse--than do high school dropouts who do not obtain the credential (Ou 2008; Heckman, Humphries, and Mader 2010). Previous research has examined high school graduates, GED recipients, and high school dropouts without a GED for differences in demographic characteristics and outcomes after high school. However, differences that are apparent during the years leading up to graduation are of particular interest to educators and policymakers because students' progression toward or away from graduation occurs during this time. Thus, this Issue Brief compares GED recipients to high school graduates and dropouts without a GED, during high school. First, the brief describes various demographic characteristics of GED recipients (i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, native language, family composition, and parents' highest level of education). Second, the brief compares GED recipients to high school graduates and dropouts without a GED by 10th-grade participation in school, academic achievement, and plans for postsecondary education 2 years later, in 12th grade. Finally, the brief explores the reasons GED recipients reported for leaving high school and obtaining a GED credential. The Issue Brief draws on data from the base-year study and first and second follow-ups of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002). The ELS:2002 is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, and contains data from a nationally representative sample of public and private school students who were 10th-graders in spring 2002. Appended are: (1) Standard errors for Table 1: Percentage distribution of spring 2002 10th-graders, by high school completion status and selected characteristics: 2006; (2) Standard errors for Table 2: Percentage distribution of 2002 10th-graders, by high school completion status and participation in high school programs and classes, academic achievement, and plans for postsecondary education expectation: 2002, 2004, and 2006; and (3) Standard errors for Table 3: Percentage of 2002 10th-graders who completed a GED credential or dropped out of school, by reasons for leaving school and reasons for obtaining GED credential: 2006. (Contains 6 tables and 6 endnotes.)
National Center for Education Statistics. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 10; Grade 12; High School Equivalency Programs; High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center for Education Statistics (ED)
IES Funded: Yes