Setting an example: Young children motivating their parents to earn a GED® diploma

Parents and guardians are the first, and often remain the primary, influencer when it comes to how children feel about education and what personal and professional goals they set at an early age.

For many parents, returning to school is a chance for them to set the example and show the value of education. This is especially important for the adult learners that did not complete high school.

Over 40 million U.S. adults have low literacy, including 20% of adults with a high school diploma. Of these 40 million adults, 64% of adults with low literacy are employed. They are employed in primarily low wage jobs and lack the preparation needed to succeed in postsecondary education.

Literacy and numeracy have a direct connection to upward mobility; so does earning a high school diploma or GED® credential. One in five working adults does not have a high school credential. The impact this can have on a household, especially the lack of potential income growth, can be significant for that family and the larger community.

Full-time workers with a GED diploma go on to make an average of $9,000 more a year than those without a high school diploma. The potential for salary growth increases as workers with a high school diploma or GED credential enter postsecondary education—making them eligible for a number of well-paying middle skill jobs.

Parents play a huge role in children’s literacy development and the attainment of a GED credential has additional benefits outside of income growth. The skills adult learners obtain in the classroom are actively used in the household and passed down to their children.

At GED Testing Service we have worked to identify how we can support adult learners and get them back in the classroom and on their way to earning a GED diploma. In our student research we found that many students listed their families as the primary reason for going back to school. Starting adult education classes is often the first step of many to improve their reading, writing and math abilities while developing the soft skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workforce.

Each year at the GED Testing Service Conference we recognize GED graduates from across the country that displayed exceptional dedication and scholarship during the preparation and testing process.

Marquita, a 2018 GED Graduate of Year awardee, shared how being an example for her children was a driving force behind earning her GED credential. As a single parent of four children and primary caretaker for an ailing parent, Marquita enrolled in adult education classes with the goal of getting her GED diploma and starting a Medical Office Specialist program.

“The biggest motivation had to be my kids,” said Marquita. “I wanted something better for them. Having dead-end jobs was just not enough, I need to (be) established and have that financial support and I wasn’t going to do it without my education.”

Marquita’s story is one shared by many GED students. They are parents motivated by their young children to pursue additional education and better job opportunities—all while learning the foundational skills they need to support their young learners. 


Danielle P. Wilson is the Communications Manager for GED Testing Service. She coordinates digital communications strategies and media outreach to support the GED test program. GED Testing Service is the sole provider of the official GED® test. The GED test has opened doors to better jobs and college programs for more than 20 million graduates since 1942. The GED test is accepted by virtually all U.S. colleges and employers.