College-Level Examination Program gives options

Alex Panasenko and Alex Panasenko

CLEP tests may save money for students while ARC looks into offering assessments

American River College is looking at using the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test in the future.

The CLEP test is accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities and administered in over 1,700 test centers. Like an assessment test, CLEP tests how much a student already knows the subject he or she is trying to enter. CLEP test takers include adults just entering or returning to school, such as traditional college students or military service members. Students who wish to take the CLEP test should have proficient knowledge of the material.

“CLEP is kind of what I see as an equivalent to that course, I believe,” said Dean of Counseling and Student Services Jeffrey Stephenson. “(The CLEP test) would satisfy area 5A on the GE pattern for three units. It’d be the content of that course; you just take an exam for that course. You are taking, basically, a comprehensive final exam on that course. You’ll have to know the material.”

ARC accepts CLEP credits. So if you already passed one of these test, you can save time on taking classes. But ARC is not a testing site.

“There is some research going on in the district that there is a possibility that we could do CLEP down the road,” said Jerome Lahey, Assessment Center Testing Coordinator at American River College. “But it’s not going to be immediate. We are doing all we can to do the assessment exams for our students.

“If we add an additional test on to that, then it just becomes more and more that we have to cover those exams in a sense of staffing. And right now, our matriculation budget has been cut by $1 million. And that takes a lot of money out of being to staff additional types of testing.”

CLEP can save students money, but is not free.

“There is a standardized fee that the CLEP organization charges, so the administrating fee (is the cost),” said Lahey. “And then schools can individually decide if they want charge an additional fee, a proctoring fee, and that varies. We haven’t gotten far enough to decide if we would have an additional fee for proctoring.”

If a student is interested in taking one of these tests, the closest testing location is University of Phoenix here in Sacramento at 2860 Gateway Oaks Drive. They can be contacted at 800-266-2107 for more information.