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Credit by Exam—An Opportunity for Gifted Students

March 1, 2013

Educational acceleration is one of the cornerstones of exemplary gifted education practices, with more research supporting this intervention than any other in the literature on gifted individuals. Research from the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) shows that all forms of appropriately implemented acceleration strategies for intellectually gifted and academically talented learners result in academic benefits and positive outcomes. These research-based best practices include grade skipping, telescoping, early entrance into kindergarten or college, credit by examination, and acceleration in content areas through such programs as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate at the high school level.

Credit by Exam is widely practiced at the college level.  The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) gives a student the opportunity to receive college credit for what is already known by earning qualifying scores on any of 34 examinations. Most colleges and universities grant credit for CLEP exams, but not all. There are 2,900 institutions that grant credit for CLEP and each of them sets its own CLEP policy-each institution determines for which exams credit is awarded, the scores required and how much credit will be granted.

For some gifted learners, taking an occasional AP or “honors” or “gifted” class may not be enough.   Credit by Exam provides a way for kindergarten through fifth grade students to take a test to move ahead one grade level. For middle school and high school students, Credit by Exam provides advanced students an opportunity to earn credit in a course that they have not taken in school, yet know the material well enough to “test out” of the class.  By doing so, the student moves to the next level (and more challenging) course.

Not all school districts offer Credit by Exam, and even if they do it usually  is not widely publicized or promoted.  What does your district offer?

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