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The Myth of Achievement TestsThe GED and the Role of Character in American Life$
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James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, and Tim Kautz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226100098

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226100128.001.0001

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An Institutional History of the GED

An Institutional History of the GED

(p.57) 2 An Institutional History of the GED
The Myth of Achievement Tests

Lois M. Quinn

University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides a history of the GED test from its inception in 1943 as a college placement exam for wounded World War II veterans and later as a requirement for GIs to meet before receiving wartime high school diplomas. Ralph Tyler of the University of Chicago, E. F. Lindquist of the University of Iowa, and others associated with the American Council on Education promoted the test as part of their largely unsuccessful efforts to introduce “general education” curricula into the high schools and to end the dominance of the Carnegie unit system. Since the 1960s decisions were made to lower the test's reading levels, market the GED for school age youth, and distance the GED's emphasis away from the academic regimen and character skills required of traditional graduates. Government funding supports GED test-prep instruction as a substitute to high school attendance and coursework for credit-deficient teens and adults.

Keywords:   History, Ralph Tyler, E.F. Lindquist, American Council on Education, General Education, Carnegie Unit, Veterans

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