GED Testing Service

The GED Test as a Springboard for Opportunity  

The GED program gives adults a fighting chance to go to college or get a better job.

For many low-income families in the US, earning high school-equivalency credentials has been critical to climbing out of poverty. Today, 19% of GED candidates are working part time and 36% are unemployed. Nearly a quarter make less than $20,000 a year, which is below the poverty line for a family of four.

Over the last few years, Pearson examined how GED Testing Service helped learners make progress in their lives. Our analysis shows increasing levels of test completion and of students passing GED. Further study also demonstrated increasing levels of graduates go on to postsecondary institutions.

"When I applied for a job, they would look over me because I was 19 without a GED. I [saw] the importance of a high school diploma, and how you get overlooked without it."

Tremayne, recent GED graduate

Intended outcome

After earning their GED credential, learners will progress to postsecondary education.

In 2015, we randomly sampled 10,000 graduates who earned their GED in 2014 to determine how many were attending postsecondary institutions. Just one year after obtaining their GED, 34% had enrolled in postsecondary education.

A 2016 follow-up study with this sample showed that within two years of graduating this had increased to 41% enrolling in postsecondary education.

GED Infographic

Findings from the class of 2015 parallel those of the class of 2014. An additional random sample of nearly 27,000 2015 GED graduates surveyed in 2016 revealed that 32% had enrolled in postsecondary education within a year of obtaining their GED.

Intended outcome

Learners will complete the full GED test at increasing rates over time.

Over three years, the percentage of GED test takers who completed the full GED test increased annually:

  • 57% completed the test in 2014
  • 59% completed the test in 2015
  • 66% completed the test in 2016

Findings indicate a cumulative completion rate of 60% for those taking GED test from 2014-2016.

Intended outcome

Learners will pass GED test at increasing rates over time.

As GED test evolves and students use the practice test and other tools as part of their preparation strategy, the aim is to have more learners complete and pass the full GED test at increasing rates over time.

In the same study described above, from 2014-2016 cumulative GED test results show that 63% of those who completed GED test passed the test on their first attempt.

Among those students who took GED test multiple times between 2014 -2016, there is a pass rate of 83%. Furthermore, of those multiple test takers, 14% passed the GED test at “College Ready” or above.

Our Commitment to Adult Learner Success

At GED Testing Services, we recognize the importance of a high school degree not only to an individual’s future, but also on the economy. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reports that over 30 million adults between the ages of 16 and 65 did not have at least a high school diploma or GED credential as of 2012.

There is a large body of published research documenting the value of earning GED credential. The program aims to give adults without a high school diploma another chance to go to college or get a good job with higher wages—and to produce better long­-term outcomes. GED has opened doors to better jobs and college programs for more than 20 million graduates since 1942.

As the creator of the official GED test, GED Testing Service has a responsibility to ensure that the program continues to be a reliable and valuable pathway to a better life. We lead in innovative test development, promote partnerships across education and labor, and champion the voice of adult learners. For example, increased competition in the labor market has made a post-secondary degree critical, which prompted us to shift its primary focus to postsecondary education.

For today’s tech-savvy world, the comprehensive GED program is a solution that lives up to the expectations of employers, colleges and GED test-takers themselves. The only nationally recognized high school equivalency program that is personalized, aligned with current career and college-readiness expectations, encompasses basic technology skills, GED connects test-takers to opportunities for higher education and employment.

Businesses have also recognized the power of GED and in 2015, GED Testing Service partnered with some of the nation’s largest employers to create GEDWorks. This free, comprehensive employee program includes everything needed to successfully prepare for and pass the GED test. GED advisors are a key element of GEDWorks and help guide, engage, and motivate students. GEDWorks also helps keep graduates moving forward after completing the tests by connecting them with college and career pathways tools on

Age/Stage: Adult Learning

Type: Assessment

Report Downloads

Read how we conducted the research in the 2015-2016 Research Report.