Welcome back to all of you InsideEd readers who have been glued to "developments" from today's peace summit-cum-conference-cum-"launchpad," where Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to try to agree on something more substantial than that before the end of the Bush administration.
We offer you now a smooth transition back to the more provincial battleground of secondary education with some "facts on the ground" of our own, namely, the results of the 2006 GED test.
Yes, the results of last year's General Education Development test -- better known as the high school equivalency exam -- like beaujolais, est arrive! For those of you planning on actually reading the just-released report, we don't recommend popping the bottle just yet. It's a bunch of tables, and you'll need to focus.
But for the rest, kick back with a glass of young fermented grape juice, and skim the following Maryland-centric summary.
But first (for what our editors call "sweep"), the national context:
*More than 39 million U.S. adults lack a high school diploma, according to the 2000 census. That's 18 percent of the over-16 population.
*614,000 test-takers worldwide took the GED in 2006 and 68 percent of them passed, or 419,000 newly minted GED holders. Last year, 72 percent of test-takers passed.
*The average GED candidate in 2006 was 25 years old. Fifty-three percent were white, 23 percent black, and 19 percent Hispanic.
*States with the highest pass rates were more likely to require candidates to complete practice tests before taking the official test, according to the study. Iowa had the highest pass rate of nearly 99 percent, followed by Delaware's 94 percent. (Must be all that time studying while waiting in the toll-booth line.)
Now, for the Maryland results:
*There are about 618,000 Marylander adults without a high school diploma. Last year, about 8,100 Free Staters took the GED. Of those, 63 percent passed. (That's about 5 percentage points below the U.S. average, for those of you who skipped the national sweep and went straight for the terrapin meat.) Last year, Maryland's pass rate was 67 percent.
*African-American test-takers represented the largest percentage of GED candidates only in Maryland and Washington, D.C. In Maryland 49, percent of test-takers were black, though only 39 percent of successfull passers were African-American.
*Sixty-one percent of Maryland test-takers were male; nationwide, men comprised 56 percent of all GED candidates.
*The GED is offered in French, but no Maryland test-takers opted for the French version. In New York, 328 people took the French-language version. C'est la interesting bit of petite trivia, non?