Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Carol Watson

Abstract

Earning a General Educational Development (GED) credential can have positive results in a student's life including higher wages and better job opportunities. The 2014 version of the GED exam changed the format from a paper-based test to a computer-based test. This change coincided with a 35% decline in the pass rate indicating not all students are prepared to pass the new computer-based test (CBT). The purpose of this quantitative study was to evaluate the influence of a candidate's race and reason for taking the exam on the pass or fail outcome of the new computer-based GED exam. The study used Vroom's expectancy theory as the theoretical framework. The guiding question was to examine the relationship between a candidate's motivation and pass or fail outcome of the CBT. This study used a quantitative approach to analyze available archival data from The Technical College System of Georgia in 2014 and 2015. Two chi-square analyses were conducted on data from 21,641 participants using candidate's race, reason for taking the exam, and GED pass or fail outcome. Results suggested that individually, both a candidate's race and reason for taking the test have a statistically significant effect on the participant's pass or fail outcome. Results from this study may help GED educators and students better understand factors that can influence student success. Integrating career development orientations and remedial computer based technology classes into the GED preparation process were recommended. Implications for positive social change include the potential to increase student motivation, improve the preparedness of both students and educators and subsequently increase the number of people who pass the GED exam.