The GED Gets Revamped to Inspire Recipients to Pursue Higher Ed

The GED is going through it’s biggest makeover since inception 69 years ago. The new direction? To make the GED reflect changes in education and our economy and become a guiding force to get GED recipients enrolled in higher education.

Anymore, a high school diploma or a GED isn’t the ticket to landing a job; a high school education serves as a stepping stone to a college education. The original GED was created as a pathway to get WWII vets back in school to receive a high school diploma and attend college. Today, the GED is used by people in the military, prison, or those who are too old for public schools. The average age of today’s GED recipient is 26.

The new GED aims to do the following:

  • Urge students to pursue higher education.
  • Include professional development for GED teachers, reworking curricula, and adding strong counseling support.
  • Equate to completing a high school education.
  • Emphasize soft skills, like persistence and study skills.

A 2010 study found 43 percent of GED recipients enroll in certificate or college programs within six years, compared to 64 percent of high school graduates. However, few GED recipients pursued more than a year of coursework. Another study of 1000 GED recipients found only 307 enrolled in postsecondary education after five years. After one semester, three-quarters had dropped out, and only 17 of those completed a degree or certificate.

“If we are going to take seriously an American agenda that moves the number of people with postsecondary degrees up to where it should be, we need to be serious about students who must take the GED and move on,” said community college president Gail O. Mellow. “Making that connection with community college is an essential part of flipping the GED into an aspirational degree.”



“Higher Education Is Goal of GED Overhaul,” by Catherine Gewertz. 14 November 2011. Education Week. Accessed on 15 November 2011.


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