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

46 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 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

Abstract

We exploit an exogenous increase in General Educational Development (GED) testing requirements to determine whether raising the difficulty of the test causes students to finish high school rather than drop out and GED certify. We find that a six point decrease in GED pass rates induces a 1.3 point decline in overall dropout rates. The effect size is also much larger for older students and minorities. Finally, a natural experiment based on the late introduction of the GED in California reveals, that adopting the program increased the dropout rate by 3 points more relative to other states during the mid-1970s.

Keywords: GED, dropout

JEL Classification: C61

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. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3495. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1294557 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

James J. Heckman (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0634 (Phone)
773-702-8490 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

American Bar Foundation

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Paul LaFontaine

American Bar Association ( email )

321 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610
United States

Pedro L. Rodriguez

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

1155 E. 60th Street, Room 038
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
58
Abstract Views
1,080
rank
308,117
PlumX Metrics