Information for Schools and Evaluators
Below are details about how exam grades are determined and how exam credit is applied. You may also be interested in our current Technical Handbook designed to assist college faculty members, administrators, academic advisors, testing directors, and other test users in evaluating test results to Excelsior College® Examinations (ECEs) and in setting credit by examination policies.
In September 1995, Excelsior College began transcripting credit-by-examination results with a letter grade if appropriate information on converting scores to grades was available. Especially for our students who transfer to another institution or who apply to graduate school, we believe there is a benefit in including the largest possible number of credits in the GPA, thus providing a clearer picture of the student's accomplishments than simply a Pass or Credit grade.
The grade to be transcripted is based on a chart of credit recommendations that is regularly updated to reflect changes reported by the testing agencies. For CLEP Subject Examinations, DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs), Excelsior College Examinations, and UExcel exams taken during the current year, letter-grade conversions are published in our annual Student Guide to Credit by Examination at Excelsior College: The Assessment Catalog. Please note the following exceptions:
- Letter grades are not awarded for the CLEP General Examinations, the GRE Subject Tests, or any exam series that does not provide cut-point recommendations for grades of B and A (see below for explanation of cut-point determination).
- Letter grade conversions are not available for some older versions of CLEP, DSST, and ECEs.
The American Council on Education (ACE) has long recommended that colleges award credit for test scores that are at or above the level earned by students who would receive a grade of C in the equivalent course. In evaluating a testing program, ACE approves the passing score it would recommend for the award of credit, and Excelsior follows ACE recommendations.
Whether a letter grade can be awarded depends on the type of technical information provided by the testing agency. National testing programs like Excelsior College Examinations, UExcel, CLEP, and DSST using norming and/or standard setting procedures that allow the mapping of scores to different levels of competency (pass/fail; proficient/marginal/weak; highly competent/competent/needs improvement; or a traditional numeric or letter grade scale). When scores are mapped to the full range of passing grades (A, B, and C), Excelsior College uses that information to assign letter grades for the exam. If information is missing, Excelsior College simply transcripts a passing grade for scores at or above the level recommended by ACE.
High schools throughout the United States can offer Excelsior College Examinations as an option for earning college-level credit. Hundreds of colleges and universities accept academic credit earned through ECEs.
- Students and their guidance counselors should determine if a particular exam will fulfill the necessary requirements.
- Students study for the exams at their high schools. Free content guides are available online and in print upon request. Recommended textbooks and other study resources are available for purchase online from our bookstore.
- Students take the exams at a Pearson VUE Test Center.
- After the exam students may request an official examinations transcript be sent to the college or university of their choice.
Test Preparation Advisory
Preparation for Excelsior College® Examinations, though based on independent study, is supported by Excelsior College with a comprehensive set of exam learning resources and services designed to help you succeed.
These learning resources are prepared by Excelsior College so you can be assured that they are current and cover the content you are expected to master for the exams. These resources, and your desire to learn, are usually all that you will need to succeed.
There are test-preparation companies that will offer to help you study for our examinations. Some may imply a relationship with Excelsior College and/or make claims that their products and services are all that you need to prepare for our examinations.
Excelsior College is not affiliated with any test preparation firm and does not endorse the products or services of these companies. No test preparation vendor is authorized to provide admissions counseling or academic advising services, or to collect any payments, on behalf of Excelsior College. Excelsior College does not send authorized representatives to a student's home.
Depending upon your individual learning style and needs, you may consider using the services and products of a test preparation vendor to help you prepare for an Excelsior College Examination. Some students have found such materials beneficial while others have not. The decision to purchase the services and products of any of these vendors is entirely up to you.
Excelsior College does not review the materials provided by test preparation companies for content or compatibility with Excelsior College Examinations.
To help you become a well-informed consumer we suggest that you consider the following before making any purchase decision regarding study materials provided by organizations other than Excelsior College.
Does the company:
- Clearly articulate that it is an independent business enterprise, separate from Excelsior College, and that it is not a degree granting institution?
- Clearly inform you that the products and services it provides have not been reviewed, nor are they endorsed, by Excelsior College?
- Openly indicate that it is not an agent of Excelsior College, that it is not authorized to provide admissions counseling or academic advising regarding Excelsior's degree requirements, and that all its costs and fees are separate from those you will pay to the College?
- Have a record of unresolved complaints/disputes with consumer protection agencies, nursing boards, attorneys general offices, or other similar organizations?
- Require clients to commit to long-term, binding contracts to access its products and services?
- Provide data to substantiate the satisfaction of its clients with its products and services?