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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Schochet, Peter Z.; Burghardt, John; McConnell, Sheena
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    This paper presents findings from an experimental evaluation of Job Corps, the nation's largest training program for disadvantaged youths. The study uses survey data collected over four years and tax data over nine years on a nationwide sample of 15,400 treatments and controls. The Job Corps model has promise; program participation increases educational attainment, reduces criminal activity, and increases earnings for several postprogram years. Based on tax data, however, the earnings gains were not sustained except for the oldest participants. Nonetheless, Job Corps is the only federal training program that has been shown to increase earnings for this population. (JEL I28, I38, J13, J24) (Author abstract)

    This paper presents findings from an experimental evaluation of Job Corps, the nation's largest training program for disadvantaged youths. The study uses survey data collected over four years and tax data over nine years on a nationwide sample of 15,400 treatments and controls. The Job Corps model has promise; program participation increases educational attainment, reduces criminal activity, and increases earnings for several postprogram years. Based on tax data, however, the earnings gains were not sustained except for the oldest participants. Nonetheless, Job Corps is the only federal training program that has been shown to increase earnings for this population. (JEL I28, I38, J13, J24) (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zafft, Cynthia; Kallenbach, Silja; Spohn, Jessica
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    While the majority of adults who take the General Educational Development (GED) test do so in order to continue their education, few go on to enter postsecondary education (Tyler, 2001). Yet, these same adults stand to make substantial economic and personal gains when they use their adult secondary credential to move from the ranks of high school dropout to postsecondary graduate, with the possibility of going from low-wage jobs to careers with a livable wage and benefits. Unlike transition services for high school graduates, which are well-established, the transformation of adult basic education (ABE) programs to include transition services for adults is an emerging area of concern for the field of adult education (Office of Vocational and Adult Education, 2004). Identifying adult education models that help adult learners avoid cycles of remediation at the beginning of their college careers is more likely to produce students who can persist and obtain a postsecondary education credential. In the first five years of adult transition work done by staff at the New England Literacy...

    While the majority of adults who take the General Educational Development (GED) test do so in order to continue their education, few go on to enter postsecondary education (Tyler, 2001). Yet, these same adults stand to make substantial economic and personal gains when they use their adult secondary credential to move from the ranks of high school dropout to postsecondary graduate, with the possibility of going from low-wage jobs to careers with a livable wage and benefits. Unlike transition services for high school graduates, which are well-established, the transformation of adult basic education (ABE) programs to include transition services for adults is an emerging area of concern for the field of adult education (Office of Vocational and Adult Education, 2004). Identifying adult education models that help adult learners avoid cycles of remediation at the beginning of their college careers is more likely to produce students who can persist and obtain a postsecondary education credential. In the first five years of adult transition work done by staff at the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education, Inc., the team noticed distinct models emerging in the field. To capture and categorize these models, NELRC surveyed adult education centers with transition components from around the United States, guided by the question: Do ABE-to-college transition programs fall into discrete models and, if so, what are the key features of these models? Through the development of program snapshots and four state profiles, the team discovered commonalities, allowing for an extension of an earlier typology of adult transition programs (Alamprese, 2004) now to include five models: Advising, GED-Plus, ESOL, Career Pathways, and College Preparatory. In addition, analysis of the aggregated data produced a series of themes and recommendations that other states contemplating adult transition services might find helpful. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Caputo, Richard K.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    Guided by human capital, socialization, and institutionalization theories, this study examined mid-life health and economic well-being of General Education Development (GED) certificate recipients. Relying on a study sample (N = 1,927) obtained from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, GED recipients were found to have worse mid-life outcomes than conventional high school graduates on measures of family income and depression and to have better mid-life outcomes than high school dropouts on measures of assets, family income, depression, and self-reported physical illnesses. Findings suggested that GED recipients should not be unnecessarily lumped together with high school graduates and that programs and services targeting potential and subsequent GED recipients and high school dropouts to remain in school might not only improve their mid-life labor market and economic outcomes, but also their physical and mental health. (author abstract)

    Guided by human capital, socialization, and institutionalization theories, this study examined mid-life health and economic well-being of General Education Development (GED) certificate recipients. Relying on a study sample (N = 1,927) obtained from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, GED recipients were found to have worse mid-life outcomes than conventional high school graduates on measures of family income and depression and to have better mid-life outcomes than high school dropouts on measures of assets, family income, depression, and self-reported physical illnesses. Findings suggested that GED recipients should not be unnecessarily lumped together with high school graduates and that programs and services targeting potential and subsequent GED recipients and high school dropouts to remain in school might not only improve their mid-life labor market and economic outcomes, but also their physical and mental health. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Zachry Rutschow, Elizabeth ; Grossman, Amanda; Cullinan, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    For the nearly 39 million U.S. adults who do not have a high school diploma, the General Educational Development (GED) programs and exam have served as the main avenue for improving individuals’ skills and helping them earn a high school credential. However, few students who start these programs ever get this credential and even fewer advance to the postsecondary education and higher-level training programs that could increase their earning potential. In response to this challenge, the American Council on Education (ACE) partnered with Pearson Inc. to release a new more rigorous GED test in 2014 that assesses the crucial thinking, writing, and analytical skills considered essential for success in today’s labor market. In addition, ACE partnered with the New York City Department of Education’s District 79 (D79), the Office for Adult and Continuing Education (OACE), and MDRC to create the Learning Pathways Pilots, a project aimed at improving students’ preparation for this new more rigorous exam.

    The pilots focused on revising a K-12 writing curriculum (based on the Writers...

    For the nearly 39 million U.S. adults who do not have a high school diploma, the General Educational Development (GED) programs and exam have served as the main avenue for improving individuals’ skills and helping them earn a high school credential. However, few students who start these programs ever get this credential and even fewer advance to the postsecondary education and higher-level training programs that could increase their earning potential. In response to this challenge, the American Council on Education (ACE) partnered with Pearson Inc. to release a new more rigorous GED test in 2014 that assesses the crucial thinking, writing, and analytical skills considered essential for success in today’s labor market. In addition, ACE partnered with the New York City Department of Education’s District 79 (D79), the Office for Adult and Continuing Education (OACE), and MDRC to create the Learning Pathways Pilots, a project aimed at improving students’ preparation for this new more rigorous exam.

    The pilots focused on revising a K-12 writing curriculum (based on the Writers Express [WEX]) and an adult basic education math curriculum (based on Extending Mathematical Power [EMPower]) to align with the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core is a set of nationally recognized K-12 language arts and math competencies upon which the new GED exam was based. These curricula were then implemented in dozens of D79 and OACE classrooms. This report details the findings from MDRC’s evaluation of the implementation of these curricula over the course of the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Marin, Vanessa; Broadus, Joseph
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    Nationwide, close to 40 million adults lack a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Nearly a quarter of high school freshmen do not graduate and, in many large cities, dropout rates in recent years have stood at around 50 percent. And while most high school dropouts eventually do continue their education — usually through adult education or GED preparation programs — too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a high school diploma already face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education; for GED holders, the chances are even worse. Given this context, the need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal...

    Nationwide, close to 40 million adults lack a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential. Nearly a quarter of high school freshmen do not graduate and, in many large cities, dropout rates in recent years have stood at around 50 percent. And while most high school dropouts eventually do continue their education — usually through adult education or GED preparation programs — too few of those who start GED programs ever pass the exam. Moreover, for those who do earn their GED, the certificate often marks the end of their education, in part because few GED programs (even those that operate on community college campuses) are well linked to college or training programs. Students with only a high school diploma already face long odds of success in a labor market that increasingly prizes specialized training and college education; for GED holders, the chances are even worse. Given this context, the need to develop stronger pathways to college for those without high school credentials is clear. And this need is only magnified by new rules eliminating federal financial aid for aspiring college students without a high school diploma or a GED, and by the planned 2014  implementation of a new GED exam that emphasizes college readiness. 

    To better understand how adult education programs might strengthen pathways to college and careers, MDRC, with financial support from the Robin Hood Foundation and MetLife Foundation, partnered with LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY) to launch a small but rigorous study of the GED Bridge to Health and Business program. The GED Bridge program represents a promising new approach to GED instruction, as it aims to better prepare students not only to pass the GED exam, but also to continue on to college and training programs. MDRC has conducted several evaluations of programs that include GED preparation as one among many program components, but this evaluation is one of only a few to focus specifically on GED curriculum, program design, and efforts to forge a stronger link to college and career training. The results are highly encouraging: One year after enrolling in the program, Bridge students were far more likely to have completed the course, passed the GED exam, and enrolled in college than students in a more traditional GED preparation course. This brief details some of the key findings from this study as well as their implications for future research and for the development of stronger GED and adult education programming. (Author Abstract)

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