More Adults Taking High School Equivalency Tests

By Staff
July 17, 2009

A new report released this week shows a significant increase in the number of adults who took the General Education Diploma tests, indicating a greater demand for high school education and higher education during difficult economic times.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports that according to the GED Testing Service, a program of the American Council on Education, nearly 777,000 adults took the GED tests in 2008--a 7 percent increase over the year before. In 22 states, the percent increase exceeded 10 percent, while in Louisiana and New Hampshire, GED testing increased by a whopping 40 percent.

"When the economy and jobs markets weaken, we see increased interest and participation in the education sector," explained CT Turner, associate director of marketing for GED Testing Service, in a press release. "Unfortunately, at times like this when adult education most desperately needs investment of resources, it is competing with other social programs for decreased state funds."

College and universities typically demand a high school diploma or GED as a requirement for admission, so the rising interest in GED testing may be attributed to a rising demand for higher education as more workers seek to be retrained during the recession. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 16 percent of the American adult population lacks a high school diploma.

Bruce Brigg, GED Testing Service interim executive director and ACE vice president, noted that he expected additional increases. "With the dropout rate stagnant--hovering at 1.3 million students who drop out each year--and President Obama's goal of the United States leading the world in the proportion of college graduates by 2020, the GED testing program must become a vital tool to reach that goal," Brigg remarked. "Providing an alternative path to college for high school dropouts of all ages is an essential element in reaching the president's goal."

According to the study, of the 777,000 people who took the GED Test in 2008, 80 percent were taking the test for the first time, and 72.6 percent passed--the highest pass rate since the latest series of GED Tests was introduced in 2002.

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