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Achievement Tests and the Role of Character in American Life

Achievement Tests and the Role of Character in American Life

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Achievement Tests and the Role of Character in American Life
Source:
The Myth of Achievement Tests
Author(s):
James J. HeckmanTim Kautz
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226100128.003.0001

This chapter summarizes the main findings presented in this book. It discusses the GED test and its origin in the modern achievement test. It summarizes the large body of evidence, some of it original to this book, showing that GED certifiers perform far worse than ordinary high school graduates and slightly above the level of other dropouts. Accounting for their greater ability, they perform at the level of other dropouts. GEDs lack important character skills valued in the labor market, in school and in society at large. Character skills are defined and the early life origins of character and cognitive deficits are discussed. Factors promoting the growth of the GED program despite the ineffectiveness of the GED credential are summarized. Interventions to promote character are briefly surveyed, anticipating the extensive analysis of Chapter 9.

Keywords:   Overview, Character, Achievement Tests, Main Argument

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