Saturday, June 14, 2008

I Have Fallen Madly in Love with the CLEP Test

Thursday I got a fax from a student. He had decided to switch his major from Exercise Science to Engineering, and learned that in order to do that he'd have to take a lot more math. A year more math than most engineering students since he placed into college algebra, so before he would be allowed to take Real Calculus, he'd have to do both college algebra and pre-calc.

Fortunately he realized that since he hasn't taken math in a while that we're not going to let him move directly to real calculus, so he asked me to over-ride placement so that he could take pre-calc. He swore up and down that he would study college algebra all summer and would be ready for pre-calc in the fall. Please, please, please, please, please.

And here is where the money machine of the College Board comes into play. (The early history of the College Board makes me even more partial to it.)

After looking at the information he provided, I wasn't impressed, so I pulled out my boilerplate answer and told him about this wonderful opportunity provided by the math department in cooperation with the registrar's office. Pass the CLEP test with a score above a certain threshold, and you'll get full credit, three credit hours, for college algebra. Just pay your money and take the test, and you can prove to us that you really know the material. Your satisfactory understanding of college algebra will be noted on your transcript.

You can take the CLEP as many times as you want until you run out of time and/or money. Convinced that your placement score was a fluke and that your first CLEP score was also a fluke and that you really, really do know the material? Take the CLEP again! Angry that you failed college algebra (and it's all our fault), and you don't want to have to take it again before moving on to Calculus Lite or pre-calc? Take the CLEP!