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Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Article written by Michael Ormsby

GED Programs and the GED: A Value Beyond Basic Skills Proficiency

With workforce skills shortages on the rise, business managers and human resources officers should adopt hiring practices that embrace GED graduates and consider workforce development strategies that include support of adult learners and GED study programs.

The GED refers to the General Education Development credential, the single alternative for adults who never completed their high school education. GED tests are standardized and normed using a national random sample of graduating high school seniors. To pass the tests, a candidate must demonstrate a skill level that meets or exceeds skills demonstrated by 60% of graduating high school seniors. Consider that 40% of graduating high school seniors wouldn’t pass the GED tests, even though most will still receive a high school diploma.

These percentages demonstrate that the GED test is rigorous. A 7.5-hour evaluation, the GED test measures knowledge, skills and proficiency in science, social studies, math, reading, writing ability, and addresses English mechanics, grammar and comprehension.

However, the test measures more than basic skills proficiency. Candidates must ‘show what they know.’ The GED is designed to measure five higher-thinking processes. It demands critical thinking and deductive abilities, along with practical knowledge and application -- critical qualities to workforce productivity.

Consider the following national research and guidelines from the American Council on Education (ACE), along with learning solutions data compiled by e-learn, inc. and http://www.PassGED.com/:
  • The GED test determines a candidate’s ability to make evaluations and deductions from literary and analytical materials including data, charts and graphs.

  • The GED math test requires knowledge, skill and ability with basic number operations, algebra and geometry, along with data analysis and calculator functions.

  • Rigorous standards define GED programs and the GED test: guidelines, test development and standards are monitored by the ACE, the federal administrative and oversight agency.

Conclusively, a GED program enables uneducated or undereducated adult learners and workers to learn or reinforce basic skills, and demands a focus on critical-thinking skills and analytical abilities through knowledge development and application. Acquiring the GED is an important step, and paves the way toward more stable employment, career objectives, educational opportunities and family stability. According to research:
  • People without a basic education have difficulty finding employment in today’s workforce. Most adult learners seek a GED because they want to progress in the workplace, or they’re seeking a career.

  • The GED credential is a viable ‘diploma,’ and enables access to work choice, advanced workplace training, as well as access to higher educational opportunities. The GED is considered -- and accepted -- as an equivalent to a high school diploma by approximately 97% of colleges and universities in the U.S., and 95% of employers.

  • Over a lifetime earning period, a GED graduate will make 40% more than a non high school graduate, an average of $385,000 more.

As business managers evaluate workforce skills shortages or weigh their workforce development objectives, consider that the GED credential has a value that extends beyond basic skills proficiency.

Employers want employees who have - or can acquire – a comprehensive skill set that includes basic skills, knowledge application, critical thinking and technical competence. But related abilities are equally important – abilities that contribute to workforce stability and productivity. These abilities include communication skills, problem solving, perseverance, flexibility, trainability and work ethics. And these abilities are certainly indicated by other benefits reflected in studies of GED holders, which extend to their employment and financial security, to their families and even communities. According to research:
  • People without a GED or high school diploma find it difficult to progress beyond low-wage jobs, and research shows the climb from poverty toward economic security is linked to continuing education and includes GED accreditation.

  • According to ACE research, two-thirds of GED candidates are seeking more education. An estimated 60 percent of GED recipients continue their education through workplace training, technical programs, adult continuing education or higher education programs at community colleges and universities.

  • Those with a GED have more full-time work and experience employment consistency for longer time periods than their non-credentialed peers.
  • Those with a GED report more job satisfaction, better self-esteem and confidence in their job and abilities. And one recognized study of GED graduates shows they’re more likely to encourage their children to finish school.
In the US today, 34 to 38 million adults don’t have a high school degree. For these adults, the GED is an important educational pursuit, with value in pursuit and the goal that extends beyond a passing score. It’s a value worth supporting through hiring practices, student support, workforce development, corrections education and community-based programs.
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