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CROSSING THE BRIDGE: New Report Studies Postsecondary Outcomes of GED Recipients

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“Although there is much work to be done to increase the number of GED test passers who successfully earn postsecondary credentials, this research is an indicator of the capacity of adults to pass the GED test and attain the postsecondary credentials necessary to earn a sustainable living wage.”

A new report from GED Testing Service® reveals that individuals who take and pass the GED test are twice as likely to enroll in postsecondary education as individuals who fail the GED test. However, the report, Crossing the Bridge: GED Credentials and Postsecondary Educational Outcomes, also finds that only 12 percent of those who pass the test ultimately graduate from a postsecondary program.

Crossing the Bridge provides crucial insight into the extended path GED graduates follow to enroll in and complete postsecondary credentials,” said Daphne Atkinson, deputy executive director for GED Testing Service. “Although there is much work to be done to increase the number of GED test passers who successfully earn postsecondary credentials, this research is an indicator of the capacity of adults to pass the GED test and attain the postsecondary credentials necessary to earn a sustainable living wage.”

The report is the first from a three-year longitudinal study by the American Council on Education (ACE) to understand the effects of a GED credential on postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion. Crossing the Bridge includes the latest data available from a group of GED candidates who took the test in 2003.

According to the report, 43 percent of individuals who took and passed the GED in 2003 had enrolled in postsecondary education by September 2009. While that number is twice the enrollment rate for individuals who fail the GED, it still trails high school graduates, approximately 64 percent of whom enrolled in postsecondary education.

When choosing colleges, GED passers prefer two-year colleges, with 77 percent enrolling in a two-year college, compared to 22 percent who enroll in a four-year college. Among high school graduates, the percentages of those enrolling in two- and four-year colleges is more equal, with 48 percent enrolling in four-year colleges and 44 percent enrolling in two-year colleges.

Once enrolled in a postsecondary program, most GED test passers struggle to stay in the program and very few ultimately complete the program. According to the report, only half of GED passers who enrolled in a postsecondary program returned for a second semester, and only 12 percent had graduated from a postsecondary program by September 2009.

The complete report is available at http://bit.ly/cuz0cA.

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Higher Education

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