Posted in ACE, ALEKS, AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, Credit by Exam, Distance Learning, DSST, Dual Enrollment, edX, Foreign Language, HS4CC, MOOCs, Sophia, Straighterline, Study.com, Temporary Homeschooling

College Credit & Social Distancing

We’re in full social distancing mode, but even with so many businesses closed, earning college credit is still possible for most of our audience!  The following list shows you which college credit resources are still alive and well! Continue reading “College Credit & Social Distancing”

Posted in AP Advanced Placement, CLEP, SAT, Straighterline, Study.com

Forms of ID when Homeschooling for College Credit

Parents of teens earning college credit in high school may be shocked to find that many exams require identification.  For those with a driver’s license, that’s usually enough, but many of you have teens without a driver’s license. What can they do?

You’ll find some very different policies regarding the acceptable forms of ID based on the test your teen is taking.  I’ve done my best to collect the most current information from the more popular exams we talk about here, but know that companies can change their requirements at any time!  Please, allow yourself enough time to confirm and also obtain acceptable ID for your teen.

 

CLEP (College Board)

Identification: Your driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued identification that includes your photograph and signature. You will be asked to show this identification to be admitted to the testing area. The last name on your ID must match the name on your registration ticket. The ID you bring must meet the following criteria:

  • Be government-issued.
  • Be an original document—photocopied documents are not acceptable.
  • Be valid and current—expired documents (bearing expiration dates that have passed) are not acceptable, no matter how recently they may have expired.
  • Bear the test taker’s full name, in English language characters, exactly as it appears on the registration ticket, including the order of the names.
  • Middle initials are optional and only need to match the first letter of the middle name when present on both the ticket and the identification.
  • Bear a recent recognizable photograph that clearly matches the test taker.
  • Include the test taker’s signature.
  • Be in good condition with clearly legible text and a clearly visible photograph.
  • Military test takers must bring their military ID.
  • Homeschooled students and high school students: If you do not have the required government-issued ID, please complete a Student ID Form (.pdf/55 KB) which is valid for one year. The form must be accompanied by a recognizable photo with a school or notary seal overlapping the photo. The form must be signed in front of a school official or notary. If you fail to present appropriate identification, you will not be tested.
  • Examples of other types of acceptable indentification include:
    • Government-issued passport with name, photograph and signature
    • Driver’s license with name, photograph, and signature
    • State or Province ID issued by the motor vehicle agency with name, photograph, and signature
    • Military ID with name, photograph, and electronic signature
    • National ID with name, photograph, and signature
    • Tribal ID card with name, photograph, and signature
    • A naturalization card or certificate of citizenship with name, photograph, and signature
    • A Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) with name, photograph, and signature
    • Source link

SAT & AP (College Board)

Note:  AP Students taking AP exams at their high school do not need identification.  More information about AP exams:  AP Bulletin for Parents

Test center staff will compare the information on your Admission Ticket and your photo ID with the test center roster to confirm your registration and identity. You cannot be admitted to the test center if any of the information does not match. This includes the use of a nickname on one item but your full name on another. Source link

The staff is not required to hold your seat if you did not bring acceptable identification.

ID Checklist

ID documents must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be a valid (unexpired) photo ID that is government-issued or issued by the school that you currently attend. School IDs from the prior school year are valid through December of the current calendar year. (For example, school IDs from 2015-16 can be used through December 31, 2016.)
  • Be an original, physical document (not photocopied or electronic).
  • Bear your full, legal name exactly as it appears on your Admission Ticket, including the order of the names.
  • Bear a recent recognizable photograph that clearly matches both your appearance on test day and the photo on your Admission Ticket.
  • Be in good condition, with clearly legible English language text and a clearly visible photograph.

Note: Not all of these requirements apply to Talent Search identification documents used by students who are in the eighth grade or below at the time of testing; however, Talent Search identification forms must bear an original student/parent signature.

Important:

Check Your ID—Every Time

Even if an ID got you into a test center before, it does not guarantee it will be acceptable in the future.

Acceptable ID Examples:

  • Government-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID card
  • Official school-produced student ID card from the school you currently attend
  • Government-issued passport
  • Government-issued military or national identification card
  • Talent Search Identification Forms (allowed for eighth grade and below)
  • SAT Student ID Form (.pdf/490KB); must be prepared by the school you currently attend or a notary, if home-schooled

Unacceptable ID Examples:

  • Any document that does not meet the requirements
  • Any document that is worn, torn, scuffed, scarred, or otherwise damaged
  • Electronic document presented on a device
  • Any document that appears tampered with or digitally altered
  • Any document that bears a statement such as “not valid as identification”
  • Credit or debit card of any kind, even one with a photograph
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Employee ID card
  • Missing Child (“ChildFind”) ID card
  • Any temporary ID card

More About Names

If you need to make a change to your name after registering, please contact Customer Service at least 30 days prior to your intended test date. Middle names and initials are optional on your documents; however, if provided, the middle initial must exactly match the first letter of your middle name on your ID.

More About Photos

You may not be allowed to enter the test center, let alone take the test, if test center staff cannot sufficiently authenticate your identification from the ID you present. Your score may even be withheld or canceled.

Admission to the test center is no guarantee that the ID you provided is valid or that your scores will be reported. All reported or suspected cases of questionable ID or test-taker identity are subject to our review and approval before, during, and after the test administration.

ID Requirements Apply All Day

You should keep your ID and Admission Ticket with you at all times while at the test center, including during breaks. You may be required to show your ID and Admission Ticket and/or to sign a test center log multiple times and at various points throughout the test administration.

If it is discovered after your test administration that you used a false or invalid identification, your test scores will be canceled, and you will forfeit your registration and test fees. Your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) (if you are under 18), your high school, and the colleges and programs you have designated to receive your score reports will be notified and may be told why your scores were canceled. Law enforcement authorities may also be notified when fraud is suspected, and you may be banned from future tests.

If you fail to comply with these identification requirements and policies, you may be dismissed from the test center and your scores may be withheld or canceled. If you are dismissed from the test center prior to completing the test because of invalid or unacceptable ID, or failure to comply with these ID requirements and policies, your test fees will not be refunded.

If You Do Not Have Acceptable ID

If you do not have another form of acceptable ID you may be able to use the Student ID Form (.pdf/490KB). This form must be prepared and authenticated by the school you currently attend or by a notary if you are home-schooled. A current photo must be attached to the form in the area indicated before the form is notarized. This form is only valid as ID if you are testing in the United States and for test-takers under 21 years of age.

If You Are Waitlisted

In countries where waitlist status is used, you must present an acceptable school- or government-issued photo ID that has been issued in the country in which you are testing. Foreign passports, foreign national IDs, or IDs from foreign schools will not be accepted.

If You Are 21 or Older

If you will be 21 or older on test day, the only acceptable form of identification is an official government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, that meets all of the requirements above. Student ID cards are not valid forms of identification for test-takers who are 21 or older.

Testing in India, Ghana, Nepal, Nigeria, and Pakistan

The only acceptable form of identification is a valid passport with your name, photograph, and signature. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Testing in Egypt, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam

A valid passport or valid national ID card with your name, photograph, and signature are the only acceptable forms of ID. If you travel to another country to test, you must provide a passport as identification. There are no exceptions to this policy.


DSST (Prometric)

Q.4 What form of ID should I bring to the testing location when I take a DSST exam?

A. Prior to the test administration, all test takers must present current and valid picture identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or picture student identification. DANTES funded eligible military test takers must provide a valid Common Access Card (CAC). Only test takers should be permitted into the testing room. Unauthorized visitors are not permitted in the testing room at any time. Source link


Straighterline (Proctor U*)

Proctor U is the 3rd party online proctoring system currently used by Straighterline.  Proctor U’s website:  Always have your ID ready before connecting to a proctor. If you are unsure of what identification is needed for your exam, please reach out to your instructor for clarification. In some instances, a second ID may be required. This includes a school ID or passport. Source link

Straighterline’s Proctoring Page:  Source link

Two forms of IDs, one of which must be a government-issued photo ID, as proof of identification. Valid forms of government identification are as follows:

  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Driver’s license or ID card issued by a State provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • U.S. Military card
  • Foreign passport

Saylor Academy 

OPTION 1 – Proctor U*

Proctor U is the 3rd party online proctoring system currently used by Saylor Academy.  Proctor U’s website:  Always have your ID ready before connecting to a proctor. If you are unsure of what identification is needed for your exam, please reach out to your instructor for clarification. In some instances, a second ID may be required. This includes a school ID or passport. Source link

Saylor’s website:  When it is time for you to take your test, log in to ProctorU and press the blue button under the “My Exam” tab to launch your proctoring session. To verify your identity, your Proctor will ask you to use a webcam to show a form of identification, and then answer a number of questions based on public record information.  If you live outside of the United States, ProctorU will not have access to public record information, and you will instead be asked to show a second form of ID. Source link

OPTION 2 – Private Proctor

Detailed information is not provided for this option.  Source link  While the proctoring instructions do state that the proctor must  “Verify student identification prior to entering the testing area” there are no further instructions.  My recommendation is to contact Saylor Academy well in advance for clarification.  Saylor Academy Help Center. 


Study.com (Software Secure)

Study uses Software Secure AKA Remote Proctor Now as the third party proctoring service.  Study’s proctored exam instructions simply state a student must provide “a photo ID.”  Source link


 

 

ACT 

Acceptable Forms of Identification

Only the following forms of identification are acceptable. If it is not on this list, it is not acceptable, and you will not be admitted to test.  Source link

Current official photo ID

Must be an original, current (valid) ID issued by a city/state/federal government agency or your school. Note: School ID must be in hard plastic card format. Paper or electronic formats are NOT acceptable. Your first and last names must match the ticket. The photo must be clearly recognizable as you.

ACT Student Identification Form with photo  

You MUST present this ACT Student Identification Form (PDF) with photo if you do not have a current official photo ID as described above. It must be completed by a school official or notary public; neither may be a relative. All items must be completed.

ACT Talent Search Student Identification Form 

If you are participating in an Academic Talent Search program and were not required to submit a photo with your registration you must present your ACT Talent Search Identification form. If you are participating in an Academic Talent Search program and were required to submit a photo when you registered, you must present either a current official photo ID or an ACT Student Identification Form with photo.

Unacceptable Forms of Identification

You will not be admitted if you present any forms of ID other than those listed as acceptable. The following are examples of unacceptable identification:

  • ACT ticket alone
  • Birth certificate
  • ChildFind ID card
  • Credit, charge, bank or check cashing cards, even with photo
  • Diploma
  • Family portrait or graduation picture, even if the name is imprinted on the photo
  • Fishing or hunting license
  • ID issued by an employer
  • ID letter that is not an official ACT identification form
  • Learner’s driving permit (if it doesn’t include a photo)
  • Temporary/replacement driver’s license (if it doesn’t include a photo)
  • Organization membership card
  • Passport or other photo ID so old that the person presenting it cannot be identified
  • Personal recognition by anyone, including members of the test center staff, classmates, parents, counselors, and teachers
  • Photo ID of parents
  • Photo with your name embossed or printed on it by a photographer
  • Photocopies or reproductions
  • Photos issued by a business for promotional purposes (e.g., amusement parks)
  • Police report of a stolen wallet or purse
  • Printed, stamped, or photocopied signatures
  • Published photo, including yearbook or newspaper
  • Report card
  • Social Security card
  • Telephone calls to counselors, teachers, or school officials
  • Traffic ticket, even with a physical description and signature
  • Transcript, even with photo
  • Web page with photo

 

ID2

 

*Proctor U :  While not disclosed on any the websites I visited, Proctor U has the ability to use a process called Acxiom-X identifiers.  These identifiers could require your student to answer a number of “unique” questions that they should know about themselves.  The best resource I found identified potential 115 questions in their question bank.  Acxiom’s website states

“The Acxiom Identify-X Authenticate process uses unique data generated questions to identify an individual and then verifies these individuals through our high-quality database, offering greater security to the end user.

Acxiom’s identification platform utilizes demographic and geographic data in challenge questions with nearly 900 data elements for more than 300 million individuals. Identify-X Authenticate data comes from public, publicly available and non-public proprietary databases. Identify-X Authenticate data is current and regularly updated daily, weekly and monthly, depending upon the data source.”

Obviously not all of these would apply- but examples of possible Acxiom questions that could be asked during identification verification when using Proctor U include:

  • Based on your driver’s license do you wear corrective lenses?
  • What professional licenses do you hold?
  • What subdivision do you currently reside in?
  • What state does your relative Joe live in?
  • How many fireplaces did you have in your last residence?
Posted in ACE, ALEKS, Foreign Language, Sophia, Straighterline, Study.com

Creating an ACE Account for your Homeschooled Teen

You’ll need to create an ACE account anytime your teen takes a course taught by a business “for college credit.”

Even when the company tells you they can forward your credit directly to the college of your choice, that doesn’t create a permanent record. You are wise to put the credit on an ACE transcript where it will be held for 20 years and can be sent to any college at any time now or later.


Taking courses from these providers?

Set up an ACE account!

  • Straighterline
  • Saylor Academy
  • ALEKS
  • Sophia Learning
  • Study.com
  • TEEX
  • ACTFL
  • Alternative Credit Project
  • Ed4Credit
  • Lumerit / Unbound / College Plus
  • Excelsior College Exams (Uexcel / ECE)
  • Penn Foster College
  • PADI (scuba)
  • Pearson Learning
  • Statistics.com
  • Verity
  • Year Up

Link to set up your teen’s ACE account  ACE-Net



If you set up an account more than 5 years ago, it was probably free.  Now, they say they are charging a fee ($20) to establish your account, but then you’ll get a $20 “credit” when you request your first ACE transcript.  I’ve had many parents email me telling me that they were still able to set up the account for free…. so I’m not sure what to tell you other than you *may* be charged $20 to do this.  Either way,  you’re going to pay $20 either during set up or when your teen goes to college and needs a transcript.

Setting an account up is tricky and took me forever to figure out. I’ve created a click by click video to help you.

Posted in Curriculum, Dual Enrollment, High School, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

Straighterline and my 10th Grader’s Spring Semester

Almost as an afterthought, when my 12th grader started using Straighterline this past semester, I decided to enroll my 10th grader- for just one month.  My goal was for them to share the textbook I’d just purchased for my older son.  Efficiency is always an important part of our budget.  They’d share the text, learn lessons together (mostly) and we’d assess after the first class.  (NOTE:  In our second month, Straighterline’s policy for books changed, and a free edition of an eBook was included with each course’s tuition, so we ended up not spending anything on books after the first month!)

You can read about the basics of using Straighterline in your homeschool, or how to choose your courses in my previous posts.  For this post, I just want to provide a brief overview of what my son did, what we spent, and his outcome.  As you’ll see, the first month was so successful (earning 9 college credits) that I decided to continue for the duration of the semester (Dec-May).  You should know that he dedicated about 1-2 hours per day to his Straighterline course Monday-Friday as part of his regular school schedule.  He was able to complete his other homeschool courses (Chemistry with Lab, Consumer Math, and Building Thinking Skills) during another 1-2 hours each day.

As you read the schedule, I list each course and credit earned in the month that I purchased it, not the month he completed it.  Some courses were completed in a week, others in a month, and others took longer still.  As an example, Nutrition and American Government, courses he’d already taken in homeschool, took him only 1 week each, but writing-intensive courses like English Composition I & II took him about 7 weeks each.

As I write this, he enters his final month of the school year with Straighterline and me. We take a summer vacation, so I’m ready to wrap things up with our kids by Memorial Day.  He has completed everything except Chemistry and English II.  He has 3 more papers to write for English II and hasn’t started their chemistry course.  Since he’s been doing Chemistry with Lab all school year with me, I expect Straighterline’s General Chemistry I to go smoothly and take about 2 weeks.  Writing, for him, is a long and arduous process.  I expect he’ll struggle through until the very end.

Grades:  His grades have been fine.  Straighterline requires a minimum passing score of 70% for their courses, and he’s finished most of his courses in the mid-80’s.  His best course grade was English Composition I (100%) and his lowest course grade was Introduction to Psychology (79%).  Final course grades issued by Straighterline are based only on quizzes and exams (except composition and lab courses) so testing acumen is important if you want to score well.  Since these credits will only appear as “credit” on his college transcript, the final grades aren’t important to his GPA.  While I used his Straighterline courses to inform the grade I awarded him on his high school transcript, in most cases, the grades I gave him differed slightly.  (NOTE:  Since Straighterline is not a college, you never have to disclose any grades or credits earned/not earned through them.  Dual enrollment, on the other hand, requires full disclosure on college applications)


Breakdown of Costs & Credit

Month Class Cost Discounts Applied Credits Earned
December Membership

Introduction to Religion

Microbiology

Business Ethics

$99

$49

$25

$69

-$20 coupon

-$20 coupon

9
January Membership

Cultural Anthropology

Medical Terminology

Introduction to Nutrition

$99

$49

$49

$49

9
February Membership

English Composition I

English Composition II

$99

$69

$69

6
March Membership

Environmental Science

American Government

Introduction to Psychology

$99

$59

$59

$59

-$49 coupon 9
April Membership

Chemistry I

Introduction to Business

$99

$59

$59

-$50 coupon 6
May Membership $99
IMG_3442 $1376

-$139 coupons

$1237

39

The total we spent over 6 months was: $1237

Total credits earned:  39 

Breakdown average per month:  $206/month

The average price per credit:  $32/credit

What I liked best about his semester:

  • I obviously liked that he earned college credit since he’s isn’t eligible to use dual enrollment in our state until next school year.  This gave him a great head-start.
  • I liked that the course rubric (point break down) is spelled out clearly, so, at any given time, he (I) knew exactly how many points he needed to pass the class.  This eliminated a LOT of testing anxiety because in most cases, he’d already earned enough points to pass
    the course before ever taking the proctored final exam.  While the exam is required, passing is not, so his testing anxiety wasn’t nearly as high as when he attempted (and failed) his first CLEP exam last year.
  • I like that they added free eBooks in the tuition of each course.  This helped me make sure I had the book on day 1 of each class without waiting for books to arrive.
  • I liked that I can pay for my son’s classes with Paypal.
  • I liked Straighterline’s video lesson format.  Since a couple of their courses didn’t have the video lesson format (Microbiology and Statistics) this can also be classified as what I didn’t like!
  • I liked that my son could do all of his courses without my help (after the first one!)

What I liked least about this semester:

  • I didn’t like finding a totally different format (reading only!) in the Microbiology course.  This was a huge disappointment.  There’s a reason that course is only $25.
  • Some courses had WAY TOO MANY quizzes, or the quizzes were WAY TOO LONG.  I can think of several instances where the quizzes were over 50 questions and covered 4 or more chapters in the text.  Both my sons hated these.  Obviously, since the quizzes are open book (I make them look up every answer on every question on every open book quiz- that’s low hanging fruit people!) these took a long time.
  • This seems to contradict what I just said, but other quizzes were too short.  Nutrition, for instance, was full of 10-question quizzes.  As you can imagine, missing a few questions really makes a difference between an A and a C!  The “sweet spot” according to my teens is the 20 question quiz.  I tend to agree.
  • Written assignments are not graded by teachers, they are graded by “graders.” Graders are anonymous people who you’ll never meet, and can never have
    a conversation with.  While they attempt to give good feedback, the loop is broken because the student can’t communicate with the grader!  In one instance during English I, my son turned in a paper that was kicked back for being off-topic.  It was clearly on-topic, so we had to submit a support ticket, which escalated to a course administrator, and finally resulted in his paper being accepted and graded.  The process is clunky and frustrating when compared with the other courses that don’t have graders (tests are automatically graded instantly).
  •  My son worked fast- and you have to because you’re being
    billed $99 per month.  So, there is a constant sense of playing “beat the clock” in a course. Since we were aware of the structure ahead of time, I adjusted his homeschool schedule and was prepared to pull back on his other work if necessary, but for me, the feeling was a little inconsistent with my normal approach to courses- allowing plenty of time for marinating.  When I asked my son, he said he liked finishing courses quickly instead of spending all semester studying something……so mark this up to personal preference.
  • ProctorU.  I really, really, really don’t love ProctorU.  ProctorU is the third party webcam proctoring service that is part of each final exam.  Your teen logs in, the webcam clicks on, ProctorU opens your final and then testing begins.  Initially, I didn’t like the feeling of the webcam experience, but my kids thought this wasn’t an issue at all.  But, the issue that we had at least 3 times (between about 24 courses with 2 teens) was technical issues getting logged in.  If there is any log in trouble, they route you to tech support, but if you don’t start your exam within the 15-minute window, you have to reschedule it and pay $5.  So, as you can imagine, this is really really frustrating because you have to reschedule your test!  Finals must be scheduled 72 hours in advance (or pay a rush fee).  2 of the 3 times Straighterline covered the $5 reschedule fee for us (I didn’t ask the first time because I didn’t think to) but it’s really inconvenient when you’ve planned your homeschool schedule around taking a proctored exam.  The room has to be private, quiet, and free of things that could be used for cheating.  In our home, the room that meets these criteria is our dining room, so keep that in mind too.  One final ProctorU comment, you’ll need identification for each test.  If you don’t have a driver’s license, they’ll ask for 2 forms of ID.  My son used his passport and driver’s permit.

    EDIT TO ADD ONE MORE THING!!  I can’t believe I forgot to share this earlier when I posted, but 4 Straighterline courses are also accredited as AP Courses. These are the SAME COURSE that is in their catalog, but if you take it, you can list the AP designation on your homeschool transcript.  Courses that qualify as AP are:

  • English 1
  • Psychology
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics

And no, you don’t have to take the AP exam to list AP on your transcript.  You CAN of course, but if you’re sure that the ACE credit offered via Straighterline will do, you don’t have to.  Some of you may want AP scores for other reasons- so that’s fine, but we skipped them.


Want to know which Straighterline classes to take and why?  Read this post.