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Academic achievement economic impact education work relationship educational attainment grades (scholastic) high school graduates high schools income labor market outcomes of education


This issue of ETS Policy Notes (Volume 9, No. 2) provides looks at the difference that a college degree makes in wages. It is generally acknowledged that the earnings differential between those who have college degrees and those who do not is large, but whether higher achieving students who do not go on to college earn more than lower achieving students has not been clarified. Research from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 shows that the labor market does not generally reward efforts to excel in school for those who persevere to graduation. In the United States, a situation has developed in which those under the age of 21 are pretty much treated alike in the labor market. The age-level of jobs that pay more and have career ladders and fringe benefits seems to be rising toward the mid-20s. Young graduates who are not rewarded in the years just after high school are not likely to realize this, and this makes raising high school achievement levels and graduation rates more difficult. Overall, there is a disjuncture between the age at which public education is completed and the age of economic adulthood. ED 434 907

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