College Readiness, Early Post-Secondary Academic Performance and the GED Degree: Evidence from Kentucky
44 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 8, 2021
The General Education Development (GED) certificate is recognized as a credible alternative to a high school diploma in the US. In this paper, we use detailed administrative data from the state of Kentucky to measure the efficacy of a GED degree. We examine the association between the GED college readiness and early post-secondary academic performance. Following previous work in this area, we address selection issues by focusing on a sample of students who are identified as at-risk prior to high school entry. Our results suggest the GED credential is not a credible signal of PSE readiness, particularly in the area of mathematics. GED graduates attain a lower first semester GPA and are also less likely to re-enroll in second semester courses. Differences in the highest level of high school math coursework between GED holders and traditional graduates account for a majority of the observed GED related math-readiness disparities. We also test whether the substantial changes made to the GED exam in 2014 improved student readiness in PSE institutions, however we find no meaningful improvements in PSE math readiness.
Keywords: GED; High School; College Readiness; Kentucky
JEL Classification: I21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation