A Comparison of the Academic Performance of Students with General Educational Development Credentials and High School Diplomas at a Selected Community College

Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Higher Education

First Advisor's Name

Janice R. Sandiford

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Joyce C. Fine

Third Advisor's Name

Theodore J. Wright

Date of Defense



This study compared the performance of students who earned GED credentials in Florida with that of graduates of Florida high schools, when members of both groups enrolled for the first time in fall 1992 at an urban multicultural community college in south Florida. GED’s and HSD’s were matched on gender, race, age range, placement levels, and enrollment in college preparatory courses (reading, English, mathematics). The paired samples t-test compared course grades, first semester GPA, and total college GPA for the groups and subgroups of matched students at a probability level of .05. The McNemar test compared how many students in each group and subgroup re-enrolled for a second and third term, or ever; how many were placed on special academic status during their college enrollment; and how many graduated within 16 semesters. Differences between groups were found only for placement on probation,- with HSD’s on probation in significantly higher proportion than GED’s.

Additional findings among subgroups revealed that male and Caucasian HSD subjects earned higher math grades than their GED counterparts. Male HSD’s were more likely than male GED’s to return to the college at some point after the first term. However, male HSD’s were placed on probation in greater proportion than the GED’s with whom they were matched.

Female GED’s earned higher English grades and higher first semester and cumulative GPA’s and returned to the college in greater proportion than their HSD counterparts. Black GED’s earned higher first-semester GPA’s, re-enrolled in terms 2 and 3 and graduated from the college in higher percentages than Black HDS’s. Black HSD’s were placed on probation in higher proportion than Black GED’s. Lastly, greater percentages of HSD than GED subjects in the lowest age range (16-19) were placed on probation.

Results connected to the performance of Black GED subjects are likely to have been affected by the fact that 50% of Black study subjects had been born in Jamaica. The place of the GED in the constellation of methods for earning credit by examination is explored, future implications are discussed, and further study is recommended.



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