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

Abstract

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

Islam, T. M. Tonmoy and Rouse, Kathryn, College Readiness, Early Post-Secondary Academic Performance and the GED Degree: Evidence from Kentucky (March 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3800208 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3800208

T. M. Tonmoy Islam (Contact Author)

Elon University ( email )

Elon, NC 27244
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.tmtonmoyislam.com

Kathryn Rouse

Elon University ( email )

Elon, NC 27244
United States

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