Jun 29, 2017

Participation and Pass Rates Rise, Build on Impressive Gains in Prior Year

NEW ORLEANS, La. - Louisiana is leading the nation in the College Level Examination Program, or CLEP®, with a 55 percent increase in the number of high school students earning college credit, according to new data from the College Board. CLEP® is a nationally recognized credit-by-examination program that provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of college-level materials in introductory subjects and earn college credit.

The 2016-2017 CLEP® data, presented last week at the program's national conference in New Orleans, show Louisiana high school students are participating at higher rates and performing at higher levels.The resulting benefits to these students are dramatic. Among the highlights:

  • The number of Louisiana high school students earning college credit increased by 55 percent.CLEP® is scored on a scale of 20 to 80, with a 50 being the lowest score for which course credit is granted. In 2015-2016, just under 2,800 students earned a passing score. In 2016-2017, that number ballooned to about 4,300.

  • The number of Louisiana high school students taking a CLEP exam increased by 37 percent.In 2016-2017, more than 8,700 CLEP® exams were administered to Louisiana high school students. That's an increase of 37 percent from 2015-2016, when approximately 6,400 exams were taken.
  • Nearly half of all Louisiana students taking a CLEP exam passed.In 2016-2017, 49 percent of students passed CLEP® exams. That’s an increase from last year, when the pass rate hovered at 43 percent.
  • Louisiana high school students collectively earned 12,000 credit hours and saved more than $3 million--at least.With a passing score of 50 or higher, students earn between 3 and 12 credits of college-level coursework before leaving high school, depending on the guidelines of the specific postsecondary institution. The more credits earned early on, the more money saved over time. If each passing score in 2016-2017 is awarded just 3 credit hours, Louisiana high school students could expect to receive 12,315 credit hours. If the average tuition is about $250 per credit, that's a savings of over $3 million. But that's a modest estimate; these amounts are likely much higher, as many of the American Council on Education's recommended credit amounts for each subject are higher than 3 credits.
  • Louisiana continues to lead the nation in high school CLEP® test taking.Louisiana administered CLEP® exams among 152 test centers and 127 high schools in 2016-2017, and the state's students accounted for approximately 37 percent of CLEP high school test taking nationwide.

"We are elated that so many students in Louisiana are getting a head start with the opportunity to earn college credit through CLEP," said Emily Paulsen, Executive Director for the CLEP program. "These students are also increasing the likelihood of completing college once enrolled. In fact, recent research found that earning just one credit-granting CLEP score increases the probability of degree completion."

The gains build upon the dramatic increases Louisiana witnessed last year. In 2015-2016, the testing volume swelled by more than 100 percent from the previous year, and the pass rate skyrocketed by more than 200 percent.

The increases follow a commitment by the state to count college credit opportunities in the school accountability system.

"More Louisiana high school students than ever before are graduating having already earned college credit, which enhances their academic experience, saves them time and money, and prepares them for productive adult lives," said State Superintendent John White. "But there is more to be done. As we move forward, and as we implement our new state education plan, Louisiana is committed to maintaining and expanding these gains by ensuring all students among all schools have access to these opportunities."

For more information about CLEP, click here.

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