AbstractThe General Educational Development (GED) credential is issued on the basis of an eight hour subject-based test. The test claims to establish equivalence between dropouts and traditional high school graduates, opening the door to college and positions in the labor market. In 2008 alone, almost 500,000 dropouts passed the test, amounting to 12% of all high school credentials issued in that year. This chapter reviews the academic literature on the GED, which finds minimal value of the certificate in terms of labor market outcomes and that only a few individuals successfully use it as a path to obtain post-secondary credentials. Although the GED establishes cognitive equivalence on one measure of scholastic aptitude, recipients still face limited opportunity due to deficits in noncognitive skills such as persistence, motivation and reliability. The literature finds that the GED testing program distorts social statistics on high school completion rates, minority graduation gaps, and sources of wage growth. Recent work demonstrates that, through its availability and low cost, the GED also induces some students to drop out of school. The GED program is unique to the United States and Canada, but provides policy insight relevant to any nation's educational context.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4975.
Length: 68 pages
Date of creation: May 2010
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Other versions of this item:
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2010-06-18 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2010-06-18 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2010-06-18 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-URE-2010-06-18 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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- James J. Heckman & Tim D. Kautz, 2012.
"Hard Evidence on Soft Skills,"
NBER Working Papers
18121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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