Although they are increasing in absolute and relative numbers among degree seekers, few adult women GED holders successfully complete 4-year degrees. In order to develop a more complete picture of the postsecondary education experiences of adult women GED holders who seek 4-year degrees, an understanding of the experience of deciding to pursue a 4-year degree is needed.
This research studied the experience of deciding to pursue postsecondary education for adult women GED holders entering postsecondary education for the first time later in life. The guiding questions were: Why do adult women who earned their GED credentials choose to pursue postsecondary education? What is the process of choosing to engage in postsecondary education for female GED holders? Descriptive case study interviews with seven women who held GED credentials and who had completed at least one year of study were used to develop a Grounded Theory of the decision to pursue postsecondary education.
The salient themes that emerged from this research were: self-efficacy, life change, external support, aspiration and opportunity, short-term goals, and information seeking. Situating these findings into a visual Grounded Theory model provided the framework for a model of the decision to pursue postsecondary education for women with GED credentials. The findings indicate that successful interventions for increasing the number of women who choose to pursue postsecondary education after attaining GED credentials include strategic outreach during life-changing events and the use of stackable credentials at every level of postsecondary education.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2011. Major: Education, Work/Community/Family Education. Advisor: Dr. Rosemarie Park. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 163 pages, appendices A-B.
Goff, Emily L..
The decision to pursue postsecondary education for women who hold GED credentials..
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