Accepting Examination Programs for Credit

Statement of Policy

Excelsior College will accept examinations for credit which meet the psychometric and academic standards of the College.  This includes examination programs recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE) as published in their Guide to Educational Credit by Examination.  The College reserves the right to establish local policies for minimum acceptable scores and amount of credit awarded for examinations included in this ACE guide.

Examination programs which are not evaluated by ACE will be evaluated by Excelsior College using the criteria established by ACE.  These criteria include:

  • Content validity of the examination
  • Currency of the knowledge, skills, or competencies assessed by the examination
  • Representativeness of the test’s content with respect to the values, issues, and knowledge in the subject area
  • Clarity and precision with which the test’s items are written
  • Adequacy of pre-testing before operational administrations
  • Availability of evidence on the reliability of the test scores for relevant examinee population(s)
  • Procedures for setting minimum scores for credit
  • Clarity of the instructions for administering and scoring the test, and adequacy of time limits (permitting most examinees to finish the test)
  • Adequacy of testing security
  • Evidence of continuity of the testing program
  • Faithfulness to the documented procedures and policies of the program
  • Evidence that the program monitors, updates, and revises the examinations to keep them responsive
  • Procedures and criteria used by the developer to select content specialists who represent the subject area, disciplinary field, or program of study
  • Evidence that the qualified content specialists have played a substantive, systematic role in the development of the examination

Review of examination programs which are developed by regionally accredited colleges or universities will also include the following criteria:

  • Faculty involvement in the development and rating of the examination program
  • Acceptability of the examination program toward the institution’s own degree
  • Endorsement of the college or university curriculum committee
  • Examinations correspond to course analogues offered by the institution
  • Degree to which access to higher education opportunity provided by the examination program is not available through other sources

Challenge examinations from regionally accredited colleges and universities which have been developed for the matriculated students of that institution and reported for credit on their transcripts will be accepted for credit without being reviewed following the procedures described below.  It is not necessary for the Excelsior College student to have been matriculated at the college/university in order to have the challenge examination considered for credit.


For ACE Endorsed Examination Programs

When a member of the faculty, staff, or student body requests that the College accept credit for an examination program which has been endorsed by ACE, the appropriate faculty will classify the examination for the number and level of credits the College will award, and for the degree requirements to which these credits are applicable.

For Non-ACE Endorsed Examination Programs

When a member of the faculty, staff or student body requests that the College accept for credit an examination program or an individual examination which has not been endorsed by ACE, the College will review the examination through a three stage process:

  1. When transcripts from regionally accredited institutions list credit by examination, the Dean of the appropriate academic program (or designee) will determine if the examination is a college or university challenge examination, or if it is an examination program offered to the public. If the Dean determines that the examination is an institution based challenge examination, she or he will have the examination entered on the Examination Database maintained in the office of the Provost – Chief Academic Officer and credit will be granted for the examination.
  2.  For examinations or programs other than institutional challenge examinations, the Dean of the appropriate academic program (or designee) will conduct a preliminary review of the examination program, gathering information about how it meets the ACE/EC criteria. This information will be presented to the faculty for their consideration as an additional source of credit.
  3.  If a full review is approved by the faculty, the Dean of the program and the Dean of Assessment will together assemble a team of specialists to review the examination and prepare a report. The report will be presented to the appropriate academic program faculty committee for approval of the credit recommendation. If an examination is proposed for General Education credit, the recommendations will then be forwarded to the Liberal Arts/General Education faculty approval of this use.

If the faculty approves the examination program as a source of credit, they will determine the amount, area and level of credit the College will award for successful performance on the examination. The Dean will then notify Enrollment Management, Records, the Academic Evaluation Specialists, the Military Liaison, the Academic Advisors, and the Publications Office of the faculty’s decision, that the College has certified the examination as acceptable for credit. The Office of the Registrar will secure a sample score report and make arrangements with the examination sponsor to receive and verify scores from students wishing to use this examination as a source of credit.