Use of College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Tests to Meet General Education (GE) Requirements

AS-2942-10/AA (Rev)


RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) endorse the recommendations of the Chancellor’s General Education Advisory Committee to expand the breadth of CLEP exams authorized for meeting statewide CSU GE requirements (as attached); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU similarly endorse the recommendations of the Chancellor’s General Education Advisory Committee regarding the modifications to the acceptability of some Advanced Placement (AP) courses to meet Statewide CSU GE requirements (as attached); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to Executive Vice Chancellor Echeverria; the Educational Policies Committee of the CSU Board of Trustees, campus provosts, campus senates, the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS), Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges, and the California Intersegmental Articulation Council (CIAC) listserv.

RATIONALE: In recent years, the Chancellor’s General Education Advisory Committee has undertaken a review of the scope and breadth of the CSU GE requirements (including a review of alignment with the IGETC pattern) and systematically evaluated expanding the GE applicability of AP and IB exams.  This later evaluation has, in the 2009-2010 academic year, been expanded to include an evaluation of the potential expansion of the applicability of CLEP exams to meet CSU GE requirements.

The CLEP exam is often used by military personnel, veterans, and others with "life experience" rather than those having achieved formal university credit (although it could be used by those individuals where such credit is non-transferable).  As such, the expanded use of CLEP is entirely consistent with the "Troops to College" initiative and, more generally, the movement away from strict “seat time” metrics of academic performance.  The Chancellor’s General Education Advisory Committee — a committee chaired by and predominantly composed of CSU faculty —  has received the recommendations of campus faculty who have independently evaluated the rigor and breadth of the CLEP exams.  Additionally, GEAC is satisfied (i) with the CLEP development process and security measures, and (ii) that passing the (various) CLEP exams recommended to be approved for CSU GE credit does indicate an acceptable level of university-level knowledge as well as sufficient GE breadth exposure to justify awarding CSU GE credit. 

It will be noted that this expansion of CLEP is unique and not entirely non-controversial since CLEP exams, unlike AP and IB exams, are not inherently tied to a course or program of study.  CLEP exams are truly stand-alone examinations.  The use of CLEP may best be thought of as meeting the requirements of credit by examination as permitted under EO-1036.

At present, Coded Memorandum AA-2009-11 provides guidance to the community colleges regarding which of the AP, IB, and CLEP exams are recommended for inclusion within CSU Breadth.   This list provides the best guidance for Community Colleges regarding which exams are acceptable to meet CSU GE requirements.  The expansion of the CLEP exams (presumably via an updated memorandum) will serve to facilitate graduation via reducing redundancy in educational experiences.  The modifications to the AP and IB lists reflect some changes in course offerings and the explicit permission to "grandfather" some AP exams that used to be counted for more units of GE under the previous "Jo Service" memo (1997) and which were not addressed by coded memorandum AA-2008-52.

Approved Unanimously – May 6-7, 2010



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