Forum for Thought Blog

Beyond the GED: Preparing for College and a Career in the 21st Century

01/24/2014 12:00 PM - 01:30 PM ET


Capitol Hill Forum


While the GED strives to provide a pathway for many students to transition to postsecondary education and the workforce, studies have shown that in practice many GED prep programs falls short of this goal. According to a 2009 report published by the GED Testing Service, only about one-in-three GED holders enrolled in at least one postsecondary institution five years after attaining their GED; 77 percent of those individuals dropped out after one semester; and only 17 percent of individuals earned a postsecondary credential. In order for the GED to live up to its potential to provide a viable alternative for youth to progress to and through postsecondary education, GED programs must re-evaluate the supports and services they provide to their students.

This Capitol Hill forum, co-sponsored by MDRC, will explore the history of the GED, and highlight best practices at LaGuardia Community College’s GED Bridge Program. Richard J. Murnane, Professor of Education and Society at Harvard Graduate School of Education will provide an overview of the historic trends and value of GED attainment to participating youth. Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College, will then discuss the development and implementation of the GED Bridge Program at LaGuardia. Vanessa Martin, Senior Associate at MDRC will present the results of MDRC’s GED Bridge Program evaluation, and highlight opportunities for future research. Finally, Elizabeth Zachry Rutschow, Research Associate at MDRC, will discuss policy implications, and highlight future opportunities within federal policy to support successful programming.

Co-sponsored by MDRC

Listen to President Gail Mellows describe LaGuardia's GED bridge program on NPR at

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