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Credit by Exam—An Opportunity for Gifted Students

April 9, 2010

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.  

Coppell ISD offers a wider range of academic offerings at the high school level, however, elementary and middle school grades are dependent on Challenge and GT/Pre-AP classes to motivate the students.  For Gifted Learners, this 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.

Credit by Exam is offered by Coppell ISD, yet is not widely publicized or promoted.  The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) requires that all school districts in Texas provide students an opportunity to advance in elementary grades K-5 or acquire course credit in grades 6-12 through an examination process.

  • A student may advance a grade level in elementary school (K-5) by scoring 90 on each of the 4 district approved exams (Mathematics, Reading/Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science).
  • A student in grades 6-12 may obtain semester credit for any course by scoring 90 on a district approved exam. Note – CBE scores are not used in the calculation of GPA’s.

 Any student wishing to take a Credit By Exam (CBE) test must initiate the process by applying before the test registration deadline. The exam dates are posted on the CISD website under Curriculum and Instruction, subcategory “testing”.

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