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What Is a GED® Diploma Good For?

By Tori Landau, Educator

The GED test, HiSET exam, and TASC test provide a route to a high school credential for those who never graduated high school. Thirty-nine million American adults lack a high school diploma, leaving them undereducated and under-qualified for jobs and higher education. High school equivalency (HSE) exams are essential in creating a qualified workforce. But alone, an HSE certificate is not enough.

Dropouts who take an HSE test typically had difficulties in school. School was discouraging and dampening to low-performing students. Many felt stupid in school and simply stopped trying. Why try, when you constantly feel you will fail? Even after earning a high school equivalency diploma, adults can carry a feeling of failure from their past experiences in school which can prevent them from working toward higher education and a brighter future. Is it possible to counteract the negative effects of past failures?

Part of preparation for the GED test, HiSET exam, or TASC test should be preparation for future success. These HSE exams are good for future employment, college, and trade school, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. Adults need to learn life skills that many high school dropouts missed out on. Self-motivation, self-esteem, workplace skills, money skills, goal-making (and achieving), and learning skills are often left behind in the struggle to acquire specific language, math, science, and social studies skills.

Arguably, these skills are the most important part of adult education. They are meta-skills, ones that will improve students' abilities to acquire new knowledge, get jobs, go to college, and advance in life. A high school equivalency diploma is good for a lot, but it is not an ending. It's a beginning. Adults who earn a diploma need to continue their forward momentum. Test preparation should give them the skills they need to improve their circumstances.

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What Is a GED® Diploma Good For? by Tori Landau is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United Stated License, redistribution of this article is allowed under the following terms outlined here.

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