[AAACE-NLA] GED test in Spanish
soricoli at gse.harvard.edu
Tue Aug 17 10:32:09 EDT 2004
Kathleen and others interested --
I just wanted to offer a bit of information on the background of the Spanish GED -- GED Testing
Services didn't begin offering the Spanish version of the tests until 1971, in order to
accommodate residents of Puerto Rico, as well as the growing population of Hispanics in the
I responded directly to Linda's original question on this, but for others who are interested, it
seems that very few people actually take advantage of the opportunity to obtain the GED in
Spanish. I recently did my dissertation on Spanish GED holders in Florida and found that, for
that state, from 1995-1997 less than 3 percent of GED testtakers took the tests in Spanish.
Proportions in other states never exceeded 10%, based on what I reviewed in GED test taking
reports. (GED's annual reports, "Who Took the GED?", do include figures for the Spanish version
if you're looking for data on the subject).
I am pleased to read from this listserv that ABE students are making use of the Spanish GED as a
stepping stone - a useful credential on the longer road to learning English, which was something I
concluded from my study. It's fairly rare that people show an interest in the Spanish GED, so
I'll offer just a little bit of what I learned here...
I examined the relationship between basic skills -- specifically literacy and math -- and earnings
and employment patterns. In most economic research, these skills have been measured in English,
but in this instance, skills were measured in the Spanish via Spanish GED test scores.
Among the findings were
1) with respect to employment,
*literacy skills have a positive effect for females but a negative effect for males (there may be
some dynamic, such as self-employment, at work that I could not control for in my study the
accounts for my male findings)
* math has a positive effect on males' employment but no effect for women
2) with respect to earnings,
* literacy skills have a positive effect for males and females around age 20 but not for eitehr
gender in their 40s.
* math skills have a positive effect on the earnings of males only
I hope this is of some interest to list readers. Feel free to contact me for more information or
share your reactions, or check out my dissertation through dissertation abstracts.
On Fri, 13 Aug 2004 12:44:18 -0600
Kathleen Muro <kathleenmuro at aol.com> wrote:
>The Spanish GED is a big boost in finding a job. Many employers use the GED as a screening device
>for job applicants. They often want oral English proficiency and a GED, and a Spanish GED is no
>barrier to that. Likewise, an individual can meet federal ability to benefit standards to get
>financial aid to go to college with a Spanish GED.
>I think it is a mistake for WIA to refuse to support the Spanish GED. We have no official
>language in the US, (so how is this not a violation of one's rights?) and the existance of the
>Spanish and French versions of the GED test is testimony to the large numbers of returning WWII
>veterans who were language dominant in Spanish or French. Good enough to die for the US, but not
>good enough to get into government-sponsored job training programs? Doesn't this apply now with
>our present military involvements? I cannot believe the military, for whom the GED was created,
>would be happy with this.
>Here on the border, I was one of the first advocates of Spanish GED and programs I worked in
>generated thousands of new GED graduates using Spanish GED. Before, a Spanish language student
>would sit in a class for English GED for several years without ever passing the GED, and usually
>dropped out in frustration with nothing. With a Spanish GED program, such a student would earn a
>GED in two or three months, and move on to college, ESL, or job training, with the added
>advantage that many employers would now take a look at them for a job, rather than screening them
>I see this as one more step in proving the irrelevance of most of WIA to the real world. (It has
>already been demonstrated that federal job training programs have no impact on employment and
>earnings.) It is unfortunate that Adult Ed funds will be wasted keeping discouraged students in
>classes for long periods of time for an English GED, when they could already be moving on to
>their next educational or employment accomplishment. Finally, this is an effective reduction in
>seat space for everyone else.
>One last point: we discovered that it was too confusing for students to combine Spanish GED with
>ESL, so we did them sequentially. With the Spanish GED, attainment was rapid (two to three
>months) and almost universal, so earning it was a major ego boost to the student. Given the
>frustrating task of learning English, which is a 'long haul' effort, it was beneficial for
>students to attain a major accomplishment so quickly.
>El Paso, Texas & Sunland Park, New Mexico
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