Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Virginia Foley

Committee Members

Dr. Cecil Blankenship, Dr. Don Good, Dr. Cynthia Smith


The purpose of this study was to investigate the state of adult literacy in Tennessee. The field of adult education underwent a transition as the testing procedure and the test changed to correlate with the induction of the Common Core standards in public schools. Adult students face many barriers to overcome to be successful. The research questions posed guided the analysis of demographic data on student who completed the GED prior to the changes.

Data were provided from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development database. The demographics and scores included those of adults who had passed the GED test from 2008 through 2013. A series of 2-way chi square analysis were used to examine pass rates using the characteristics of race and ethnicity, gender, and age. A sample of 2,000 was randomly selected from a population of 60,000.

The data showed that in the state of Tennessee there are significantly more males than females who pass the test each year. Although all ethnicities are permissible to take the GED, more Caucasians and African Americans take and pass the test in this state. Takers of the GED in the state of Tennessee are to identify their age while completing the exam. The majority of adults taking the GED from 2008 through 2013 were in the age group of 19 to 24.

Many test takers only need to attempt to pass the test the first time. Out of 2,000 randomly sampled males and females, the data showed that a higher proportion of males than females pass the test in the first attempt. There was no significant difference between the randomly sampled age groups on number of attempts. The data did indicate that Caucasian testing candidates pass the GED significantly more often on the first try than African American candidates.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.