Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to explore the impact locus of control (LOC) had on the postsecondary achievement, as measured by self-reported GPA, of GED® recipients and traditional high school graduates (THSG) controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, and time in college. Data was collected from 767 GED® recipients and THSG enrolled in three postsecondary institutions in Northern New Mexico. LOC was assessed using the Adult Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale (Nowicki & Duke, 1974). The majority of respondents were Hispanic/Latino (47.34%) and Caucasian (37.34%). Responses were analyzed using Pearsons r. Although LOC did not contribute significantly to academic achievement as measured by self-reported GPA of GED® recipients and THSG, the findings supported previous claims that higher internality is associated with higher academic achievement. Self-reported GPA was considerably above average for students with higher internality, regardless of type of degree, gender, race/ethnicity or time in college. This study holds power in removing the GED® stigma. Students who complete the GED® and display high internality are just as likely to succeed in college as THSG. Policy makers and practitioners would be well advised to assess LOC and provide planned interventions to increase internality for students earlier in their school years. Future research may yield greater generalizability with a more representative sample size, consideration of multiple antecedents of locus of control, and collection of institutional data to confirm actual vs. self-reported GPA.'


GED Credential, GED diploma, traditional high school diploma, traditional high school students, Common Core State Standards, CCSS, College and Career Readiness, CCR, GED recipients, GED diploma, traditional high school graduates, Adult Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale, ANSIE, locus of control, LOC, internal locus of control, external locus of control, self-reported GPA, GPA, postsecondary academic achievement, GED stigma, antecedents of locus of control, actual versus self-reported GPA, dropouts, locus of control of reinforcement, locus of control and academic achievement, GED recipients, American Council on Education, GED Testing Service, high school seniors, Postsecondary Educational Outcomes, Attribution training, persuasion strategy, at-risk college students, self-assessment, college success, dropout rate, academic performance of GED recipients and traditional high school graduates

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Sheri Williams

Second Committee Member

Arlie Woodrum

Third Committee Member

Alicia F. Chávez

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara Casey