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Who Benefits From High School Equivalency Credentials? New Regression Discontinuity Evidence From Massachusetts

Thu, April 8, 5:00 to 6:00pm EDT (5:00 to 6:00pm EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Adult Literacy and Adult Education Poster Sessions


We leverage a regression discontinuity research design to estimate the impact of obtaining a GED or HiSET high school equivalency (HSE) credential on reported earnings and post-secondary outcomes for two self-selected groups of HSE testers in Massachusetts: high school dropouts who do and do not enroll in publicly funded adult basic education classes. We theorize that HSE credentials play importantly different roles for different types of testers, as some may be motivated to pursue an HSE credential by a desire to terminate their formal schooling, while others may view HSE credentials as a pathway to reengage with formal education. Our findings will highlight heterogeneity in educational and economic returns to earning an HSE for policy-relevant target populations.