Lori writes: “I was attempting to sign my son up for the CLEP test in American Government and the registration form on the CLEP site does not accept any student designation that is less than 10th grade. My son is in the middle of his 9th-grade year, but he would like to take the test and I feel that he is more than ready. I know that some other parents have been successful in arranging for CLEP test for their students who are even younger than my son (15), so I was wondering if anyone had any information on how to get around this stipulation on the CLEP form?”
That’s a great question, Lori! At least 4 other parents have asked this exact question this year, and I don’t know why The College Board can’t simply add more “tick box” options for lower grades. It seems like a simple solution, especially since one advantage of using CLEP in a homeschool is that those too young for dual enrollment have an opportunity to earn college credit when they’re ready- not at a specific grade.
It is my opinion that UNLESS your child is an NCAA athlete, to feel completely comfortable selecting the 10th-grade box. The College Board continues to maintain that the tick-box is strictly demographic data for internal use and that colleges will never see that box. For non-NCAA athletes, that’s an acceptable answer, because even in the worst case scenario that this is untrue, a parent can simply explain why they selected the 10th-grade box, and The College Board can verify that info.
Now, for those who are NCAA athletes, it’s a different story. NCAA is exceptionally strict regarding age and grade. They are exceptionally strict about the number and type of high school credits a student earns, and they are exceptionally strict about the records documenting these activities…. and that’s just for public school students. The scrutiny of homeschooled students headed into NCAA is at least twice as difficult- maybe more. In summary: NCAA doesn’t play around. If they think something is “off” about your teen’s records, your teen will be disqualified from playing college sports- game over.
So, since the stakes are so high for the students in the NCAA category, I would take the extreme opinion of telling NCAA families to wait until 10th grade before attempting a CLEP exam. This protects your teen from the extremely unlikely event that your identification of their (higher) grade is disclosed somewhere somehow.
Until then, parents with teens younger than 10th grade should continue to contact The College Board and simply suggest that they add a box for those younger than 10th grade. It’s an easy request, and easy fix, and it keeps everyone honest.
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
P.O. Box 6600
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600
Phone: 800-257-9558 or 212-237-1331
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Professionals) <– homeschool parents use that address
E-mail: email@example.com (Students)Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time.