Posted in Breaking News, DSST

UPDATE: DSST Review, Renew, or Discontinue?

Earlier in March, I posted about the DSST exams that are currently “expired” and promised an update as soon as the exams were reevaluated. ACE has extended the exams, but for 10 months, not several years. What does that mean? I’ll tell you what I think it means, but it’s “interesting” to say the least.

Official DSST Website

(orange text represents my original post from March)

All credit by exam tests (AP, CLEP, DSST, etc.) that are evaluated for college credit by The American Council on Education undergo regular exam renewal and review. When an exam is put forward by a company for potential college credit, it gets evaluated for a time frame (about 3 years) and then at the end of that time frame, the exam is technically “expired.” Since companies have to pay a fee for this service, it isn’t surprising that unpopular exam “products” may not be “worth” renewing. As such, every now and then, exams drop out of the catalog. I like to follow these renewal dates because exams that get renewed are often “refreshed” with new content, completely redone, or dropped. Following dates assures that you have the most up to date information about the exam you’re considering. Often, like today, the information I’m posting today is MORE CURRENT than what is on DSST’s own website.

Downgraded

One of the big changes is that The History of the Soviet Union was downgraded. The website still shows as upper level, but you can confirm through the ACE database that this exam is absolutely 100% LOWER LEVEL. This exam was previously evaluated for 3 upper level credits. Unfortunately, we have watched several DSST exams get down graded to lower level credit in the past years, and now we are down to 2 upper level DSST exams. This exam’s evaluation period is from 2/1/2021 – 10/31/2025.

In Limbo… Renew or Discontinue?

This set of exams expired 60 days ago, so I’m hoping we’ll see a renewal ASAP. Typically, when exams are renewed, they will back-date so there isn’t a gap. In other words, if an exam expires on 1/31/2021 and isn’t renewed until 4/1/2021, the new version will have a validity date that starts on 1/31/2021. This assures test-takers that they WILL get college credit for the exam, even if they took it during an expired period. That said, there is NO GUARANTEE that this will happen. Therefore, to be safe, my advice is that you WAIT to take any of these exams until they are fully renewed! If we experience a worst-case-scenario and the gap is not closed, you could potentially take an exam worth ZERO college credit.

I won’t jump to conclusions, but the other possibility is that some of these exams may be fully discontinued or undergo a full rewrite.


April 2021

ACE has finished renewing all of the exams and taken an “interesting” action. Typically when exams are renewed, we see a time period of a few years. This allows students to study and test with confidence, but in this case, all of their expired exams were renewed only for 10 months.

I don’t have insider information about why this happened with DSST, but I’ve seen similar situations in the past with other companies, and my instinct tells me that DSST is probably doing significant content revisions for these exams. Since they received an extension, we KNOW that they are using the current edition. Since the extension period was short (10 months) we can predict that on November 1, 2021 they will likely roll out new versions of these exams.

Pondering and Predicting…

Upper-Level? If I were guessing and making predictions about what we’ll see in November, I’m hopeful that we could see them become reinstated as upper level exams. CLEP and AP exams are lower level credit (100-200) and some of you will recall that DSST hosted multiple upper level exams in the past. This access to 300-400 level college credit by exam set them apart in a huge way. Unfortunately, little by little those exams were all downgraded by ACE. Perhaps DSST is hoping to regain their edge by once again offering upper level credit by exam?

Is DSST in trouble? Unlike CLEP and AP, DSST requires constant monitoring. Between the massive credit downgrades (quality loss), price increases, removing unlimited free testing for military (only 1 free attempt), new partnership with Peterson that charges for test prep that used to be free, and slow website updates (reduced staff?) it’s impossible to ignore the possibility that DSST could be in some sort of financial trouble. Time will tell, but as an outsider who has followed DSST for 15 years, it’s hard to ignore some of these issues.

What do you think?

NEW ACE EVALUATION PERIODS

Business Ethics and SocietyACE ID: DANT-0052June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Business MathematicsACE ID: DANT-0012June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Environmental ScienceACE ID: DANT-0058June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Criminal JusticeACE ID: DANT-0015June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Fundamentals of College AlgebraACE ID: DANT-0049June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Fundamentals of CounselingACE ID: DANT-0061June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Fundamentals of CybersecurityACE ID: DANT-0053June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3 UL
10 month extension
Lifespan Developmental PsychologyACE ID: DANT-0065June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Principles of FinanceACE ID: DANT-0041June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Principles of StatisticsACE ID: DANT-0046June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension
Technical WritingACE ID: DANT-0072June 1, 2017 to October 31, 2021Recommended credits: 3
10 month extension

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Site Owner, Homeschooling for College Credit

One thought on “UPDATE: DSST Review, Renew, or Discontinue?

  1. Just curious, If DSST goes under, what happens to DSST credits that have been earned? Will we still be able to use them for college credits?

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