Credit by Examination and Home Schooled Students

If you’ve ever considered how a homeschooler can graduate from secondary school and college at the same time, it is probably because they combined home school with earning college credit by examinations. CLEP examinations, DSST examinations and AP examinations can be used to accelerate through high school and college. There are three basic types of examinations used to earn college credit while home school learners at the secondary school stage. These are the same programs used by learners attending a physical high school as well.

1. The CLEP (College Level Examination Program) was designed by the College Board to allow scholars to gain credit for prior experience or knowledge. There are 33 examinations available that range from three to six credits per test. More than 2900 approved colleges and universities agree to these assessments as credit for classes, allowing learners to skip starting programs and get to the meat of their program. Home schoolers can take CLEP examinations at local colleges and universities.

credit_by_examination2. DSST examinations (formerly known as DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) were initially designed for the army and allowed servicemen to speed up their education while serving in the military. While these assessments are free for the army, citizens may also use these examinations instead of attending a traditional college class. Over 1200 schools agree to the 38 DSST examinations as credit for classes at their schools. Home schoolers and High School students are drawn to DSST examinations as they cover common topic like Astronomy, Personal Finance, and Introduction to World Religions that learners are likely to have some information about and may have to take as a core subject in college. Students must take the credit by examination at a university that provides the test.

3. AP programs with examinations are designed by the College Board and used widely in public schools to award high school learners with college credits. AP exams are often taken in the Spring as part of an official AP (Advanced Placement) class; however, home schoolers can still participate through independent study. You will also need to arrange to take the AP credit by examination at a college in your area that takes part in the AP program.

Combining Homeschool and Credit By Exam

Through a process of trial, error and sharing, many homeschooling families have the approach to combining secondary school education and planning for university-level examinations down to a science. There are two basic approaches to earning higher education credit while simultaneously completing secondary school.

1. If a college student has acquired knowledge that aligns to a credit by exam check, they would get a research guide and take a practice exam to see if they know enough to complete the check. If they feel confident, they would take the credit by exam check and if they complete it, they have gained higher education credits according to the DSST, CLEP, or AP programs. The parent will also award the college student high school credit on the home school transcript.

2. When a homeschooler is ready for high school work, sometimes as early as junior high school age, the parent and kid will choose his or her course of study. To gain higher education and secondary university credit simultaneously, they will match-up what they want to study with a credit by exam check. The home school student might decide to research US History 1 for 9th grade and after learning the information from a textbook and spending a few weeks reviewing CLEP planning materials, he or she will take the CLEP evaluation. If the kid passes the test, they will have gained both secondary school and higher education credit from studying the same material. If the kid does not pass the test, he or she will have still gained secondary school credit from doing the work. The kid can then earn even more higher education credits by following the US History 1 CLEP with the Civil War and Reconstruction DSST evaluation, as the examinations have overlapping information.

The most apparent benefit to making college credits in secondary school is to speed up the degree process. This can be a considerable benefit from a tuition viewpoint, as well as placing you on a fast-track to profession income.