Educational (GED or Diploma) Achievement

Students enter the program with widely different academic levels. Up to 25 percent may already have their diploma. Some programs offer GEDs; others offer diplomas or both GEDs and diplomas. Directors of the initial YouthBuild demonstration sites set the attainment of the GED as the primary objective. The only performance standard was whether or not students passed the five subtests of the GED. But since up to 25 percent may enter the program with a diploma, and some programs now offer a diploma rather than a GED, literacy and numeracy gains have been added as a standard.

GED or diploma standards are as follows:

INCOMING READING LEVEL Excellent Very Good Satisfactory Needing Attention Unacceptable
8th grade or above: achieving diploma or GED 76-100 percent of completers 61-75 percent 46-60 percent 30-45 percent Less than 30 percent
Below 8th grade 65-100 percent of completers 51-64 percent 36-50 percent 26-35 percent Less than 26 percent

We arrived at these standards by looking at the current average GED rates of YouthBuild programs. There is a wide range of GED rates. However, contrary to general expectations, students entering at a low (below seventh-grade) reading level achieve GEDs at roughly the same average rate (35.5 percent) as those entering at an above-seventh grade level (about 37 percent). It appears that outcomes relate as much to the quality of teaching as to the incoming grade levels.