GED (General Educational Development) Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

This GED (General Educational Development) Essay example is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic, please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

The General Educational Development (GED) credential  is a  credential  that  individuals  in  the United States and Canada who have not received a regular  high  school  diploma  may  pursue.  The GED was introduced in 1942  in the United States as  a  credential   for  World  War  II  veterans  who entered the military before completing high school. However,  by the end of the 1950s,  more  nonveterans were taking the test than veterans. The GED test has been revised three  times to keep it more current   with  educational  requirements  and  job skills. It is a battery  of five tests that takes approximately   7  hours   to   complete.   The   GED   tests aptitude in  four  subjects:  language  arts,  mathematical  reasoning,  science, and social studies. The 2002  revision  made  the  test  more  difficult,  and the number  of test takers  and pass rates dropped. In  2001,  roughly  945,000 completed  the  exam, with  a  69-percent   pass  rate,  while  in  2002,  the number of those who completed the exam dropped to  around  603,000,  and   the  pass  rate   fell  to 60 percent.

More  recently,  in  2013   in  the  United  States, about   714,000 completed  the  GED  test,  with  a pass  rate  of  75.7  percent.  In  Canada  in  2013, 10,238 completed  the  exam,  with  a pass  rate  of 62.2  percent.  Currently, most  states  require  that individuals  who take the test be 18 or 19 years old. However,  with  some  exceptions  (e.g., individuals who  are  homeschooled, expelled  from  school,  or serving   in   an   adult   correctional  facility),   the minimum  age  is 16  years  in many  states.  In the United  States,  the  cost  of taking  the  GED  exam ranges from $120  to $155  depending  on the state, except for New York, where the exam is free.

In the United States in 2013, 19.2 percent of test takers  were between  16 and 18 years of age, 34.5 percent  were between  19 and  24 years, and  46.3 percent were 25 years and older. Among those who passed the test, 22.4 percent  were between 16 and 18 years of age, 35.1 percent were between 19 and 24 years, and 43.5 percent were 25 years and older. So those  who were 25 years and older  had somewhat  lower  pass  rates.  In 2013,  51.7  percent  of GED  test  takers   were  male;  43.3  percent   were white,  26.4  percent  were  African  American,  and 24.9 percent were of Hispanic origin. Among GED test  takers  in 2013,  18.1  percent  had  completed 9th grade, 26.1 percent had completed  10th grade, 33.3  percent  had completed  11th  grade, and 11.1 percent   had   completed   12th   grade,   with   the remainder having  completed  less than  9 years  of schooling.

GED pass rates vary by gender and race/ethnicity. In 2013,  79.1  percent  of males and  71.1  percent  of  females  passed  the  GED.  The  GED  pass rate for whites was 85.8 percent in 2013, while the pass rates for African Americans was 61.8 percent, and the pass rate for those of Hispanic  origin was 71.8 percent.

The GED is designed to be a high school equivalency credential,  and  in many  states  the  name  of the credential  reflects this. For example,  in Ohio, the credential  is called the Ohio High School Equivalency  Diploma,  while  in Utah  the  name  is the Utah High School Completion Diploma. However, empirical evidence shows that among individuals who do not enter postsecondary education,  those   with  a  GED  credential   have  worse labor  market  outcomes  than  those  with  a regular high  school  diploma.   In  fact,  among  males,  the labor  market  outcomes  of those  with  a GED credential  are not  very different  from  the labor  market outcomes  of high school dropouts.

While  many  GED  test  takers  report  that  they are taking the test to pursue some form of postsecondary   education, the  facts  prove  otherwise.   In 2013,  53.5  percent  of test  takers  stated  that  one reason  for taking  the exam  was to continue  their education at a 2-year  or 4-year  college. However, in a recent  study  conducted by the  GED  testing service, of the 1,000  randomly selected test passers, only 31 percent  ever enrolled in a postsecondary institution, and  among  those  who  did enroll, 77 percent  enrolled for only one semester.

For females, the distribution of cognitive ability (based on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery results and data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey  of  Youth)  for  those  with  a GED but  no college looks  similar  to the distribution  of cognitive  ability  for  those  with  a regular high school degree but no college and is shifted to the right of the distribution for high school dropouts. For males, the distribution of cognitive ability for those  with a GED but  no college is shifted to the right of the distribution of cognitive ability for high school dropouts but to the left of the distribution  for  those   with   a  regular   high  school diploma  but no college.

However,  there is also some empirical  evidence using  data  from  the  1979  National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to suggest that  for males the noncognitive   ability   distribution  (which   is  derived from measures of early violent crime, minor crime, marijuana  use,  regular   smoking,   drinking,   and early sexual intercourse) for those with a GED but no college is lower than  that  for both  high school dropouts and  regular  high  school  graduates with no college. For females, the distribution of noncognitive ability for those with a GED but no college is  similar  to  that  for  high  school  dropouts and lower than the distribution for those with a regular high school diploma  but no college.

Since both  cognitive  and  noncognitive abilities are important for employers because of their influence on  worker  productivity, a GED  may  give a “mixed  signal” for males. While males with GEDs (and  no  college)  have  higher  cognitive  abilities than  high  school  dropouts, they  also  have  lower noncognitive abilities  than  high  school  dropouts. On  the other  hand,  females with  a GED (and  no college) have  higher  cognitive  abilities  than  high school  dropouts and  similar  noncognitive abilities.

There is some recent empirical evidence that indicates  that  the  availability  of the  GED  option leads to higher high school dropout rates. For example,  the  1997  increase  in the  national minimum difficulty for passing the GED required  some states  to increase  their  passing  standards in order to be compliant. Using states that  were already  in compliance   with   the  national  minimum   as  the control  group  and  those  needing  to increase  their passing  standards as the treatment group,  a comparison   of  the  treatment  and  control   states  in terms  of the  change  in high  school  dropout rate postincrease versus pre-increase of the national minimum    yielded   the   finding   that   the   GED increased  dropout rates  by 1.3  percentage  points. In 1974,  California became the last state to adopt the  GED. When  compared with  other  states,  the graduation rate in California decreased by 3.1 percentage   points   after   the  GED  was  introduced. Finally, using longitudinal data on the GED options program introduced at the school  district  level in Oregon,  a school-sanctioned program that  offers GED preparation and certification in high schools for  students   at  high  risk  of  dropout, showed  a 4-percent   drop   in  high  school  graduation  rates since the program was implemented.

Finally, given the empirical nonequivalence between  the  GED  credential   and  a  high  school diploma,  combining  the two  when calculating  statistics, such as high school graduation rates, can be misleading. For example,  when combined,  the high school  graduation rate  has  increased  slowly  but steadily over the past 40 years. However, using only regular high school diplomas when calculating graduation rates shows decreasing high school graduation rates  until  about  2000,  with  increases thereafter, with high school graduation rates  being stagnant over  a  40-year  period.  Calculating high school graduation rates using both GED credentials and  regular  high  school  diplomas  shows  a black-white high school graduation gap converging  over a 40-year  period  ending  around 2005.  Using only regular high school diplomas when calculating high school graduation rates results in the narrowing of the black-white gap in high school graduation rates.


  1. GED Testing Service. 2013 Annual Statistical Report  on the GED® Test. GED Testing Service LLC, 2014.
  2. Heckman James, John Humphries, and Nicholas “The  GED.” In Handbook of the Economics of Education, vol. 3, Eric Hanushek, Stephen Machin, and Ludger Woessmann, eds. Amsterdam, Netherlands: North-Holland, 1999.
  3. Heckman James, John Humphries, Paul LaFontaine, and Pedro Rodríguez. “Taking the Easy Way Out: How  the GED Testing Program  Induces Students  to Drop  ” Journal of Labor  Economics, v.30/4 (2012).

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality
Special offer! Get discount 10% for the first order. Promo code: cd1a428655