GED Accessions in the Selected Reserve: How Long Do They Serve?

by Richard Buddin, Sheila Nataraj Kirby

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A third of all high school dropouts earn a General Educational Development credential by passing an examination in math, science, and other academic skills. This report profiles those GED-holders who enter the Selected Reserve components and examines the issue of how long they serve. The question of how comparable GEDs are to high school diploma graduates is a critical one with important implications for recruiting policy. The report addresses this issue using data on FY86-FY94 entry cohorts, examining both prior-service and nonprior-service gains into the Reserve components. The following issues are investigated: How common are GED accessions in the Selected Reserve components? Has the proportion of GED accessions changed over time? How does GED attrition behavior compare with that of high school diploma graduates? Do recent cohorts of GEDs display higher or lower attrition than earlier cohorts? Is it better to recruit older or younger GEDs? Do GEDs who score higher on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test do better in the Reserve than those scoring lower?

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