Monday, February 22, 2010

Failing Grade

New York Times Editorial "Failing Grade" (February 21st, 2010) argues that New York state should take measures to increase the pass rate on the GED, but makes two mistakes:
New York would do well to emulate Iowa’s highly successful preparation program. In 2008, 99 percent of test takers there passed the arduous exam.
The article compares New York State to Iowa, without informing readers that different states have different standards for passing. Students in different states can take the same test, pass in one state, but not in the other. Such differences are exploited to measure the gains to a GED degree in studies Tyler, Murnain, and Willett (2000)

In addition, the article fails to explain how the gains to those who pass a difficult GED and provide a strong signal to employers are outweighed by the gains to others from test with a higher pass rate. Ultimately, if the test is difficult enough to keep many from passing, it is more worthwhile (in terms of labor market signaling) to those who do pass. The article should consider both the winners and losers from a change in the test pass rate before suggests any overhauls.

No comments:

Post a Comment