Superintendent’s Memo No. 198-14

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

August 1, 2014

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Announcing Statewide Pilot Testing for the College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

The Virginia Department of Education, in collaboration with the College Board, is pleased to announce a statewide pilot program at selected schools.  The College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a nationally recognized credit-by-examination program that provides high school students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of college-level materials in introductory subjects and earn college credit.  During the 2014-2015 school year students who are enrolled in the Business Law and Accounting classes in a selected number of high schools may volunteer to participate in the CLEP pilot testing.

Benefits to Students

CLEP is recognized by 48 postsecondary institutions in Virginia and by 2,900 across the United States that award credit for passing scores on the examinations.  A passing score on particular tests allows students to earn between 3 and 12 credits of college-level coursework before leaving high school, depending on the guidelines of the specific postsecondary institutions.  The College Board’s CLEP Financial Accounting and Introductory Business Law Examinations are on the Board of Education’s approved list of industry certifications, occupational competency assessments, and licenses; the Virginia’s high school course competencies for Business Law and Accounting have been aligned to the CLEP test blueprints for Business Law and Financial Accounting exams; instructional support and resources including pre-tests are available; and testing is offered year-round, but the ideal time would be when the student successfully completes the high school course. There is no penalty for not passing a CLEP exam so this is a “win-win” opportunity for students.

During the 2014-2015 school year, through federal Perkins funding, there will be no cost to the school division for students who volunteer to participate in the CLEP pilot testing for Business Law and Financial Accounting courses.  Additionally, it should be noted that students not participating in the statewide pilot but who successfully complete an appropriate high school course are eligible to take the CLEP exams listed on the Board’s approved list. The school division may claim reimbursement (approximately $80-125 for the cost of test prep materials and exam per student) through state or federal funding allocations for Virginia’s Pathway to Credentials Initiative.

School divisions offering Business Law and/or Advanced Accounting courses who would like to volunteer to be considered as a 2014-2015 CLEP pilot site for instruction and testing or if you have any questions, please contact Judith Sams, specialist, Business and Information Technology and Related Clusters, Office of Career and Technical Education Services, at cte@doe.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-225-3119 by August 20, 2014.

SRS/LBH/cmc