Marty’s Corner: GED® Graduate Outcomes Data

GED Testing Service tracks the outcomes of GED graduates in a number of ways. One of the metrics we look at is what percentage of and how quickly GED graduates go on to postsecondary education programs.

For context, under the 2002 program about 60% of candidates reported that they took the GED test to enable them to go to college. The most recent data for the previous program (from 2009) indicated that about 46% percent of GED graduates had gone on to postsecondary education within 6 years of completing their credential, but only about 12% of graduates of that program ever obtained any type of postsecondary credential.

The study postsecondary progression rates under the current program that has been in place since 2014, we selected a random sample of GED graduates who received their credential in 2014, and then tracked their progress in postsecondary education through matching data with the National Student Clearinghouse. The table below shows data on those students in subsequent years:

% of all students who identified attending PSE as their primary reason for testing % of students enrolling in PSE within 1 year % of students enrolling in PSE within 2 years % of students enrolling in PSE within 3 years % of students enrolling in PSE within 4 years % of students earning PSE credentials within 4 years
47% 35% 41% 45% 47% 18%

We also selected additional samples of GED graduates who credentialed in 2015 and 2017, to compare their one-year PSE progression rate to the original 2014 sample, to see if there was consistency in moving to postsecondary education over the years. That data is summarized in the table below:

% of all students in 2014 who identified attending PSE as their primary reason for testing One-year PSE progression rate of 2014 GED graduates (measured in 2015) % of all students in 2015 who identified attending PSE as their primary reason for testing One-year PSE progression rate of 2015 GED graduates (measured in 2016) % of all students in 2017 who identified attending PSE as their primary reason for testing One-year PSE progression rate of 2017 GED graduates (measured in 2018)
47% 34% 46% 32% 41% 35%

This data match shows that graduates of the 2014 GED program are moving on to postsecondary education at a faster pace than under the previous program, that the postsecondary progression rates appear to be fairly stable over different cohorts of students, and that the rate of postsecondary enrollment over time is in line with the motivation for taking the GED test that was originally identified by candidates in the year they credentialed.

In next month’s Marty’s Corner, I will share how GED graduates are performing in postsecondary institutions based on findings from this data match.

–Martin Kehe, Vice President of Assessment Services for GED Testing Service


  1. Dear Marty,
    Thanks for sharing the data. My personal observances tell me that almost 95% of GED graduates from Bangladesh go on to PSE (either in the home country or abroad) immediately after graduating. I understand GED International is just a subset of the US numbers. But, this higher percentage shows the relevance of the test in Bangladesh. GED remains a popular alternate pathway to PSE for many in Bangladesh.

  2. Thank you for sharing this data. It was very informative. I look forward to next month’s edition.

  3. Hello,
    I earned my GED in January of 1987 which was my senior year of high school. I had left high school in October because of family financial reasons.
    I am now about to graduate with my EdD. Needless to say, it has been quite a journey.
    I have recently wondered what percentage of GED students go on to earn a terminal degree?

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