Emotional maturity of adolescents and adults in GED programs

Billy Joe Riffle


When discussing issues relating to students in General Educational Development (GED) Option and pre-GED programs with educators, the contention exists that it is possible to make reasonably accurate predictions on the success or failure of a student by observing a number of items. Looking at their cumulative records shows their academic and attendance history. Insight is gained by looking at their family dynamics and how they relate to adults. Much can be learned about them from their discipline reports and the nature of any infractions. One of the most intriguing aspects gained through experience and observation is the perception of a relationship between Reading level and maturity; that whatever battery score a student achieves on the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education), his or her maturity level is generally consistent with that score. If the student's score is in the sixth grade range, his or her maturity mirrors that score. Although a generalization and not applicable to all students in these programs, those with familiarity in this area attest that a relationship between score and behavior exists. Observation of an adult GED class, conversely, reveals that although scores may be in the same range, the approach to education and social interactions lacks little similarity to those of the adolescent group. This study looked at three groups of students: adults enrolled in an Adult Basic Education (ABE)/GED program, adolescents enrolled in a pre-GED or GED Option program and normative high school students enrolled in an eleventh grade English class. Instruments utilized for data collections were the TABE and the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). This data was analyzed to determine if correlations exist between these instruments within groups, and if significant differences exist between groups. Analysis included variables of gender and ethnicity. Any of the constructs or sublevels of socially intelligent behavior found to have significant differences could then be utilized as a factor for identifying at-risk students and applying the appropriate remediation.