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

37 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2008 Last revised: 3 Jun 2008

See all articles by James J. Heckman

James J. Heckman

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Paul LaFontaine

American Bar Association

Pedro L. Rodriguez

University of Chicago - Center for Social Program Evaluation

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2008

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.

Suggested Citation

Heckman, James J. and LaFontaine, Paul and Rodriguez, Pedro L., Taking the Easy Way Out: How the Ged Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out (May 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14044. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1139360

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

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Paul LaFontaine

American Bar Association ( email )

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Pedro L. Rodriguez

University of Chicago - Center for Social Program Evaluation ( email )

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Chicago, IL 60637
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