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Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out

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Author Info

  • Heckman, James J.

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • Humphries, John Eric

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

  • LaFontaine, Paul A.

    ()
    (American Bar Association)

  • Rodríguez, Pedro L.

    ()
    (IESA)

Abstract

The option to obtain a General Education Development (GED) certificate changes the incentives facing high school students. This paper evaluates the effect of three different GED policy innovations on high school graduation rates. A six point decrease in the GED pass rate due to an increase in national passing standards produced a 1.3 point decline in overall high school dropout rates. The introduction of a GED certification program in high schools in Oregon produced a four percent decrease in high school graduation rates. Introduction of GED certificates for civilians in California increased the high school dropout rate by 3 points. The GED program induces students to drop out of high school.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3495.

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Length: 121 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2012, 30 (3), 495-520
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3495

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Keywords: dropout; GED;

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References

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  1. James J. Heckman & Paul A. LaFontaine, 2007. "The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels," NBER Working Papers 13670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1991. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," NBER Working Papers 3804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James J. Heckman & Paul LaFontaine, 2006. "Bias Corrected Estimates of GED Returns," NBER Working Papers 12018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lillard, Dean R. & DeCicca, Philip P., 2001. "Higher standards, more dropouts? Evidence within and across time," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 459-473, October.
  5. Roberto Agodini & Mark Dynarski, 1998. "Understanding the Trend Toward Alternative Certification for High School Graduates," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1894, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. Donald Kenkel & Dean Lillard & Alan Mathios, 2006. "The Roles of High School Completion and GED Receipt in Smoking and Obesity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 635-660, July.
  7. Robert Kominski, 1990. "Estimating the National High School Dropout Rate," Demography, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 303-311, May.
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Cited by:
  1. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2009. "Comparing IV With Structural Models: What Simple IV Can and Cannot Identify," NBER Working Papers 14706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard Sutch, 2010. "The Unexpected Long-Run Impact of the Minimum Wage: An Educational Cascade," NBER Working Papers 16355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Eduardo de Carvalho Andrade & Luciano I. de Castro, 2008. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1469, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Bridget Terry Long, 2010. "Dropout Prevention and College Prep," NBER Chapters, in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, pages 249-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jepsen, Christopher & Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth, 2012. "Labor-Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Yi-Chun Chen & Siyang Xiong, 2008. "Topologies on Types: Connections," Discussion Papers 1470, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Pugatch, Todd, 2012. "Bumpy Rides: School to Work Transitions in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 6305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 18701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eduardo Andrade & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Tougher Educational Exam Leading to Worse Selection," Discussion Papers 1533, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. de Carvalho Andrade, Eduardo & de Castro, Luciano I., 2011. "Tougher educational exam leading to worse selection," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 5(17), pages 1-24.
  11. Richard J. Murnane, 2013. "U.S. High School Graduation Rates: Patterns and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 370-422, June.

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