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Rural and Urban Pennsylvania Adults Taking, Completing and Passing the GED

Posted: February 8, 2011

The impact of obtaining a General Educational Development (GED) credential for those who have not graduated from high school is demonstrated by the change in perception of themselves and their future success in employment, education and income.

A research study was done entitled, An Analysis of Rural and Urban Pennsylvania Adults Taking, Completing and Passing the GED, which depicts the similarities and differences of rural and urban GED students to determine the factors behind the success of these students.

On average, GED candidates were 24 years old, earned about $5,000 the year prior to obtaining their GED and did not complete schooling beyond the 10th grade. The foremost reasons for taking the GED were for personal satisfaction, to enter college, to get a better job and to be a role model for their family.

The research stated rural candidates’ educational functioning level (EFL) was significantly higher than urban candidates; however, urban candidates’ level of participation was more intense and persistent than that of rural candidates. Overall, however, total rural GED scores were lower than urban GED scores by an average of eleven points.

Based on the data, a substantial number of adults without a high school credential do not become GED candidates. Of those that become candidates, only about 40 percent take advantage of the programs available at ABLE’s, which include adult education and family literacy services, the federal Workforce Investment Act, Title II and William F. Goodling Even Start Family Literacy Program. For adults it’s necessary to consider their average age, years of schooling, reasons for dropping out and current economic situation.

To address educational needs as quickly as possible, providers will offer short, yet challenging classes to refresh what he/she learned in high school, provide counseling and link class content to the work force.  Furthermore, providers will use available resources to effectively assist the transition from earning their GED to the work force. Lastly, they will review common characteristics of rural and urban candidates and create special programs tailored to meet the interests and needs of each group.

This article can be read in its entirety.


Submitted by Abigail L. Miller, Research Assistant to Dr. Theodore Alter.