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Beyond the GED

Suggested Readings

"Adult Literacy and Postsecondary Education Students: Overlapping Populations and Learning Trajectories." Stephen Reder, The Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Volume 1, Chapter 4, 2000.
Reder argues that students in postsecondary education and GED preparation courses need to develop adequate reading, writing, and math skills to prepare them for labor market success. Since higher levels of literacy are equated with higher expected earnings, the author contends that it is important to consider issues around remedial education and to develop improved coordination between basic skills education in postsecondary and adult education programs. Reder uses the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) data to examine the literacy proficiency of postsecondary students and those who have received GED credentials in postsecondary education, to consider the apparent positive impact of postsecondary remedial courses, to examine why GED graduates neither enter nor complete postsecondary education at the same rate as high school graduates, and to compare the experiences of the two groups with remedial education. He surmises that, since more GED recipients than high school graduates participate in remedial education, it may be that those with GED credentials are not as well prepared for postsecondary study.

"A Conversation with FOB…Why Go Beyond the GED?" Focus on Basics, Volume 6, Issue D, February 2004.
Based on his research, Tyler asserts that GED credentials can raise economic earning power but not enough for an individual to move out of poverty. He observes that higher-skilled drop outs, with or without GED certificates, receive better pay than lower-skilled drop outs with GED credentials. Tyler questions how well GED credentials prepare students for college entry and work requirements and argues that programs should concentrate efforts on students with fewer skills because these learners will benefit most from gaining GED credentials. He also proposes that GED programs focus on transitioning students into post-secondary education because that is where students benefit economically from education.

"A Model for Adult Education-to-Postsecondary Transition Programs." Alice Johnson Cain, Focus on Policy, Volume 1, Issue 1, April 2003.
Cain describes the New England ABE-to-College Transition Project, sponsored by the New England Literacy Resource Center , as an example of a program designed to help students transition from GED to postsecondary courses, a need identified through Reder's research. This transition project serves 700 students in six states through free, pre-college reading, writing, and math courses and education and career counseling. Students in these programs, which collaborate with postsecondary educational institutions, are also supported by peer mentors and participation in college survival and study skills courses.

Questions to Consider

Specifically related to the articles:

Generally related to policy: