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Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out

James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, Paul A. LaFontaine and Pedro L. Rodríguez
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 30, No. 3 (July 2012), pp. 495-520
DOI: 10.1086/664924
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/664924
Page Count: 26
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Taking the Easy Way Out: How the GED Testing Program Induces Students to Drop Out
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Abstract

The option to obtain a General Educational Development (GED) certificate changes the incentives facing high school students. This article evaluates the effect of three different GED policy innovations on high school graduation rates. A 6-point decrease in the GED pass rate produced a 1.3-point decline in high school dropout rates. The introduction of a GED certification program in high schools in Oregon produced a 4% decrease in high school graduation rates. Introduction of GED certificates for civilians in California increased the dropout rate by 3 points. The GED program induces students to drop out of high school.

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