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Paper Versions of Computer-Based CLEP Tests Coming Online

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2003 – The College Level Examination Program that has become a popular route for service members seeking degrees will introduce 14 new paper tests in April 2004.

These will replace some tests that will no longer be available in paper form, beginning early 2004. "These are aged exams," said Len Lipp, Exam Programs Manager for the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, referring to the CLEP tests now used by DANTES. "The current paper-based exams, after their withdrawal date, will no longer be considered valid examinations and will have to be pulled. This is not uncommon in the testing world."

According to the DANTES Web site, subjects such as social science, history, sociology, psychology, humanities, college algebra and mathematics will be reintroduced in the paper form. The test material will be based on computer versions of CLEP exams being administered at national test centers located on college and university campuses.

Since July of 2001, more than 1,300 campus test centers have offered electronic computer-based CLEP tests. Lipp said the reintroduced paper-based exams are considered "high volume" exams. "They are the most popular, they have the best success rate and they meet a majority of educational requirements of most degree programs that people use CLEP for," he noted.

Lipp said the hard-copy exams will still be available because of the "recognized need for paper-based testing in the military." He pointed to locations and environments in DoD where paper-based education is a good alternative -- "where it would be very difficult to deliver computer-based testing -- for example, ships at sea, and numerous remote locations, particularly in the Middle East and other areas."

CLEP tests offer service members a chance to earn up to 30 semester hours' credit toward a bachelor's degree. The exams, widely accepted by colleges and universities, cover material taught in most college freshman and sophomore courses.

Lipp said that of the three credit-by-exams programs recognized by colleges, CLEP by far is the most popular among the military. He said the program has been used extensively, particularly in the Air Force, which he said constitutes nearly 55 percent of the military testing volume.

"Up until just recently we were averaging in the neighborhood of about 70,000 to 75,000 exams a year," he explained. He said that number "far exceeded" the DSST testing program which is the second largest with a volume that is around 55,000.

According to Lipp, in the near future CLEP tests might soon become even more popular and convenient for service members.

He said that DANTES and the College Board, the well-known organization that provides college information, testing and financial-aid sources, are working to introduce a new Web- based CLEP program, hopefully by fiscal 2006. That program will allow service members to take CLEP tests online at military education centers.

For more information about CLEP tests and the nearest national test center, visit http://www.collegeboard.com/clep/ or go to http://www.dantes.doded.mil/dantes_web/examinations/CLEP.ht m.

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