General Educational Development (GED) Awarded
Why is this important?
For high school dropouts, earning a GED is the only opportunity to prepare for better jobs and reenter the education pipeline. As evidenced by the latest Census figures, many states still have large numbers of residents with less than a high school diploma or equivalent. While this problem has improved for all adults over the past ten years, the percentage of 18 to 24 year olds with at least a high school diploma or equivalent has actually declined in nearly all states from 1990 to 2000. The efforts of states to address this problem are critical to improving the lives of these residents.
What are the policy implications?
The problem is vastly different across states - over five million residents in California have less than a high school diploma compared to 50 thousand in Alaska. This warrants different approaches to addressing the problem across states. Given that even a high school diploma today is rarely enough to achieve a lower-middle class life style, efforts to address GED attainment should be combined with efforts to increase the college- going rates of these residents. Currently, there are no measures available across states for college- going rates of GED recipients.
Other factors to consider:
For the above reasons, it is important to look at the size of the problem (percent and numbers of adults with less than a high school diploma), how states have improved in GED production, and how well they are addressing the problem in their state.
Adults with at Least a High School Diploma or Equivalent
Change in GED Credentials Awarded - 1990 to 2001
GEDs Awarded Per 1,000 Adults with Less than a HS Diploma
GEDs Awarded as a Percent of All High School Completers
Data sources and related links:
GED Testing Service, http://www.gedte st.org
U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.censu s.gov
2005 American Community Survey, http:// www.census.gov/acs/www/