Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




David Leslie


Individuals who pass the General Educational Development (GED) exam often pursue higher education. Although GED diploma students tend to enroll in two-year colleges, an increasing number are enrolling in four-year postsecondary education institutions. GED diploma college students are characterized as nontraditional students and usually possess risk factors that impede academic performance and cause attrition. Collective data and analysis of their academic performance and persistence and attrition behavior is needed to determine their success in attaining a bachelor's degree.;The purpose of this study was to analyze the academic performance and persistence and attrition behavior of GED diploma undergraduates who applied directly to Virginia's public, four-year postsecondary education institutions fall 1993 and fall 1994. Data on demographic factors, first-year grade point average, and persistence and attrition behavior for Virginia GED undergraduates and a national sample of nontraditional undergraduates were analyzed and comparisons were conducted within the groups and between the groups.;Statistical tests were used to determine if relationships existed between gender and academic performance and gender and graduation. Multiple regression was utilized to determine if relationship existed between demographic variables and GPA. Discriminant analysis was used to classify first-year dropouts and six-year graduates.;Comparatively, GED diploma undergraduates do not perform as well as other nontraditional undergraduates. GED diploma undergraduates who complete more credit hours in their first-year can earn satisfactory grades and are likely to persist to a second year. Female GED undergraduates should be expected to earn higher GPAs than their male counterparts. Older GED undergraduates are more likely to achieve higher GPAs and accumulate more credit hours than younger GED undergraduates. The majority of GED undergraduates who enroll directly in four-year degree programs drop out in their first year and over time and subsequently, do not earn a bachelor's degree.



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