Posted in High School, Resources, Transcripts

Transcript Resource Page

It’s only the most important homeschool document you’ll ever create!  I have a few favorite resources that I know you’ll love.  If you want to read my thoughts,  Homeschooling for College Credit, Chapter 7 is dedicated to the creation of transcripts specifically for families earning college credit in high school.

GPA Calculation

My favorite GPA calculator is Back2College   SUPER easy to use, I’ve used it for at least 5 years.  Totally free, but it is really just a calculator.  They use a standard 4.0 grading scale, so if you’re planning to use a different weighted grade scale, this isn’t the best site.  

Alternative GPA calculator if you use weighted grades  GPA Calculator

Transcript Template

My favorite ready-made transcript template is by How To Homeschool  You can create a pdf document that can be printed or saved, all totally free!  Uses a standard 4.0 grading scale. 

DIY Your Own Transcript

I’ve made my son’s transcripts using Microsoft Word and Open Office.  I’m happy to teach you how to do it too in this free online course I created just for you!

Build it! Homeschooling for College Credit Transcript using MS Word

 

Transcript Services

If you want to use an online template that looks really official, HSLDA offers a transcript service.  Note that they won’t write your transcript for you, rather you enter your data in their system and they store it for 12 months.  While I have not personally used it, I know many who have and were very satisfied with the product.  HSLDA Transcript Service

Transcript Writing Help

HSLDA has a nice section of samples, videos, and tutorials that can walk you through a lot of the basics.  HSLDA Transcript Help page

Not my Favorite

Transcript Pro Software& DVD $189.00

I balanced sharing my negative opinion vs. not saying anything at all, but I opted to share my opinion for this product because of the cost.  The bottom line, if you shell out this kind of money, you’re going to be disappointed.  The full package is $189  ($49 base +$29 for the digital download and an additional $79 for the DVD +$29 for the printable syllabus).  I purchased this program in 2017, but the new version they are selling (version 4) was written in 2009.  Unfortunately, the DVD only teaches you how to use their software, so unless you’ve purchased that too, there is very little for the parent to learn.  The software is locked, and you’ll need a password to open it.  Once open, you can make a total of only 8 transcripts.  You can buy another 8 attempts for $49 more.  Their software operates offline, so no updates to their product are available, and you’ll have to save your files to your computer.  Again, computer technology since 2009 has changed significantly, so it’s a shame that they haven’t moved their product to a web-based platform.  As a result, you’ll not be able to use the program if you have Mac or a mobile device.  It only works (properly) on Windows 98 or Vista, and there isn’t a mobile app, so you’ll need a desktop computer. My advice, this is an extraordinarily expensive product for something that you can do for free on a dozen websites.

Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, Transcripts

“B” and “C” Score Chart for CLEP

If you want to know what letter grade The College Board would assign based on your teen’s CLEP score, you can use the chart below.  These recommendations are NOT endorsed by ACE, and are considered unofficial.  

The American Council on Education (ACE) recommends a credit-granting score of 50 for each CLEP exam.


PARENTS:  a CLEP score should never represent your teen’s entire high school course grade/GPA on their high school transcript.  For starters, it is impossible for a student to earn an “A” using this chart.  The chart below doesn’t go higher than “B” grade, and the difference between a “B” grade and “A” grade can be as little as 1 point or as many as 10- you have no way of knowing since the scaling system is not released by CLEP.

Second, an entire semester or year of work is what constitutes high school credit, not one exam.  High schools award credit based on hours, not competency.  As such, estimate 60 hours = 1/2 high school credit, 120 hours = 1 high school credit.

Ultimately, it’s your decision how CLEP exam results are handled as part of their high school grade, but my suggestion is to mirror the common practices used by high schools and colleges.  As such, a CLEP score should represent 0% of the student’s high school grade.  There is solid precedent to support my suggestion:

  1. Advanced Placement (AP) courses do not use AP exams as part of the student’s course grade.
  2. International Baccalaureate (IB) courses do not use IB exams as part of the student’s course grade.
  3. Colleges do not award letter grades for CLEP exams.
  4. CLEP exams scores never count toward a college student’s GPA or course grade.
  5. Only colleges award credit for CLEP scores, not high schools.
  6. High schools are not authorized to award college credit, only high school credit.

Remember that when a student passes a CLEP exam, their scores will appear on their official CLEP transcript held by The College Board.


The American Council on Education (ACE) recommends a credit-granting score of 50 for each CLEP exam. This is a scaled score, equivalent to earning a C in the relevant course; the corresponding raw score is determined after the panel of college faculty who teach the equivalent course perform a detailed and rigorous review of exam content. The review needs to be approved by the test development committee that oversees each CLEP exam.

In addition to determining the recommended credit-granting score of 50, college faculty members also recommend a scaled score that is equivalent to a grade of B. While ACE has not endorsed this B score, it is useful to those schools that print grade equivalents for CLEP exams on student transcripts, or those specialized programs that require a minimum grade of B on all transferred credit.

Business ACE Recommendations
Exam Title Credit-Granting
Score (C-Level)
Semester
Hours
B-Level
Financial Accounting 50 3 65
Information Systems 50 3 66
Introductory Business Law 50 3 60
Principles of Management 50 3 63
Principles of Marketing 50 3 65
Composition & Literature ACE Recommendations
Exam Title Credit-Granting
Score (C-Level)
Semester
Hours
B-Level
American Literature 50 3 53
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 50 3 59
College Composition 50 6 59
College Composition Modular 50 3 60
English Literature 50 3 62
Humanities 50 3 55
History & Social Sciences ACE Recommendations
Exam Title Credit-Granting
Score (C-Level)
Semester
Hours
B-Level
American Government 50 3 63
History of the United States I 50 3 56
History of the United States II 50 3 57
Human Growth and Development 50 3 58
Introduction to Educational Psychology 50 3 62
Introductory Psychology 50 3 59
Introductory Sociology 50 3 56
Principles of Macroeconomics 50 3 62
Principles of Microeconomics 50 3 64
Social Sciences and History 50 6 62
Western Civilization I 50 3 55
Western Civilization II 50 3 54
Science & Mathematics ACE Recommendations
Exam Title Credit-Granting
Score (C-Level)
Semester
Hours
B-Level
Biology 50 6 (non-lab) 56
Calculus 50 4 64
Chemistry 50 6 (non-lab) 65
College Algebra 50 3 63
College Mathematics 50 6 57
Natural Sciences 50 6 (non-lab) 62
Precalculus 50 3 61
World Languages*ACE Recommendations
Exam Title Credit-Granting
Score (C-Level)
Semester
Hours
B-Level
French Language
Level 1 Proficiency
50 6 64
French Language
Level 2 Proficiency
59 9 69
German Language
Level 1 Proficiency
50 6 59
German Language
Level 2 Proficiency
60 9 67
Spanish Language
Level 1 Proficiency
50 6 56
Spanish Language
Level 2 Proficiency
63 9 68

* For each of the world languages, there is only one exam covering both Level 1 and 2 content. ACE recommends 6 semester hours of credit for mastery of Level 1 content (a score of 50) and 9 semester hours of credit for mastery of both Levels 1 and 2 (a score of 59 on French Language, 60 on German Language, and 63 on Spanish Language).

 

Posted in High School, Math, Transcripts

Math Success 4 Math Averse

So, if you already feel yourself mounting a reaction to the title, this post isn’t for you.  Like anything you’re good at, you can’t imagine that other people can’t “become” good at it too… if they only had a better attitude, different curriculum, a better teacher, etc.  STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are all the rage – most universities have watched their STEM-majors double in the past few years, so there is a ton of emphasis on not only high school math, but college level math in high school.  Sure, with 10,000 hours it’s possible to become an expert in anything.  This is not that.

You’ve heard me tell you that YOU are the best guidance counselor for your teen.  That extends beyond math, obviously, but I’m not going to tell you whether I think it’s right or wrong to push your non-mathy teens into Calculus, that’s for you to decide.  In this post, we’re going to embrace the possibility that some of our teens don’t enjoy math – have no interest in STEM – want to study as little math as possible, and certainly, don’t want a career that requires a lot of math.  It is possible to lead a happy, healthy, educated life without loving math.  That is this.

High School Math

How much is required?  First, you have to answer that question for your state.  If you live in a state with specific high school graduation requirements, then you’ll want to be sure you comply with them.  Compliance assures your teen’s diploma will be valid and legal as they exit high school and move forward in life.  State Requirements Look-Up  Everything that follows in this post assumes you’re making decisions within the framework of homeschooling lawfully.  The truth of the matter is that most of you don’t have graduation requirements, rather your state offers up their public school math program as a suggested course for you to follow. Compliance with public school suggestions are always up to you.

What subjects count?  Let’s assume your state lets you choose your curriculum, in that case, you have a lot of freedom here.  We’re going to go off-book in a minute, but before we do, let’s review a typical k-12  math sequence and roughly when it’s taught:

  1. Arithmetic  (grades k-8)
  2. Pre Algebra (grades 6-9)
  3. Algebra 1 (grades 8-10)
  4. Geometry (grades 9-10)
  5. Algebra 2 (grades 10-12)
  6. Trigonometry / Pre-Calculus (grades 10-12)
  7. Calculus (grades 10-12)

The problem for some students happens around Pre- Algebra.

Algebra, in general, can be when the bottom falls out of your otherwise competent student’s success.  If you ask any adult that “isn’t good at math” where they fell apart, they’ll likely tell you it was in algebra.  If you’ve hit a rough patch in Pre-Algebra or Algebra 1, you have a few options.

  • Do more arithmetic – speed and accuracy are key.  You may be surprised how weak most teens are at arithmetic, and in my opinion, this is likely the culprit. Forget how the transcript “looks” for a minute and think big-picture:  no matter what your teen does for college or a career or in life, they need solid arithmetic skills- this is as important as knowing how to read.  If their arithmetic is weak, make it PRIORITY #1.  No exceptions.  (see my suggestions for this at the bottom)
  • Slow down the pace – assuming the rate of learning new material is the problem, rather than lacking a foundation in arithmetic, slowing down might make it more manageable.
  • Change curriculum- while I hate this suggestion, it is an option.  The problem with curriculum hopping in math, is that the scope and sequence almost never match, and you’ll be left with holes, but the issue here, is that you won’t know you have holes.
  • Change tracks- if you’re sure that arithmetic isn’t a weakness, and your teen is an otherwise fine student capable of learning new things, you do have the option of switching to an applied math!  It is possible that your teen just doesn’t like math.  I can feel you gasp through my computer, but if you can wrap your head around the possibility that they might not need as much math as you’re planning, you may find one of the applied math options really hit’s a home run.  (more about that in a few minutes)

Math in College

Before we can talk about the alternative paths in high school math, most parents protest immediately because they fear their student won’t be able to either (a) get into college (b) do college math.  Let’s look at math in college for a moment and some of the myths.  First, the high school sequence above is actually harder (higher) than the math required for most college degrees.  This is true!  Most parents believe that math through Calculus is required for all college admission, when in fact, math through Calculus is only required for the smallest of career choices.  Let’s learn some vocab:

GENERAL EDUCATION:  the core requirements everyone at that college must take in order to graduate from that college. General Education requirements are as few as 5 classes in some Associate of Applied Science programs, to the more typical 20 courses at a 4-year college.  You’ll find that General Education requirements can be VERY different from one school to the next.

MAJOR:  the requirements beyond the General Education courses necessary to earn your degree. You get to choose your major which should align with your career goals.

Here are some truths:

  • Most non-STEM majors don’t have math requirements.  Their General Education requirement will have some type of math, but you can shop around for low math colleges.
  • General Education requirements across the board usually don’t require math above the College Algebra level (roughly equivalent to Algebra 2 with a chapter or two of Pre-Calculus for good measure).
  • Most 4-year colleges and all community colleges offer math classes for every level.   Even if you enter college unprepared for college math, the college is usually arranged to help you succeed.
  • General Education requirements in math sometimes allow science and technology to count in the same category, meaning it’s sometimes possible to avoid all math entirely by taking an extra science or computer course.
  • There are 2 places you have to check to see the type and amount of math required:
    • The college’s General Education requirement (this will be the same for everyone, so if the college requires Statistics or Trig in their General Education requirements, there is no way around this).  Look for General Education requirements that ask for no more than 3 credits of math (1 class) and with numbers as close as possible to 100.  For instance, MATH105 should be easier than MATH121.
    • Your target major at each target school.  Some majors just require a lot of math, so if you’re looking at a math-heavy major, there isn’t much I can offer.  However, math-light majors can vary from one college to another!  If your teen wants to become a History Teacher, you’ll find most colleges don’t require College Algebra- so if your target school does, keep looking.
MATH-LIGHT MATH-HEAVY
American Sign Language Interpreter

Anthropology

Art History

Automotive

Broadcasting / TV/ Radio

Communications

Construction Technology

Culinary Arts

Diversity

Dramatic Arts

Elevator Installer

Emergency Medicine / Paramedic

Fire Science

Foreign Language

Graphic Design

Hair and Beauty

Health Occupations

History

Horticulture

Hospitality

Human Services/ Social Work

Interior Design

Journalism

K-12 Teacher (non-STEM)

Lawyer / Legal

Library Science

Management

Mortuary Science

Music

Nursing

Performing Arts

Philosophy

Pilot

Police and Law Enforcement

Political Science

Psychology

Real Estate

Religion

Sales and Marketing

Sociology

Studio Art

Sustainability

Writing

Accounting

Actuary

Astronomy

Business

Chemical Engineering

Chemistry

Computer Aided Drafting

Computer Programming

Data Analysis

Economics

Electrical Engineering

Engineering (as a category)

Engineering Technology

Finance

K-12 Teacher (STEM)

Mechanical Engineering

Medical Science

Petroleum Engineering

Physics

Science Teacher

Software Development

Statistics

Supply-Chain

Video Game Design

Jennifer’s tips for students who really, really, really hate math

  1. Spend a lot of time investigating careers and college majors.  You need to know if your career goal works for those who hate math.  If you’re looking at a Math-Heavy career, you’ll have to embrace math or change career trajectories!
  2. If you’ve found a career and major that are Math-Light, start making a list of colleges with low general education math requirements.  The lowest you’ll find is usually called “Mathematics for Liberal Arts” and the lowest amount you’ll usually find is 3 credits – 1 course.  If you’re  seeing general education requirements higher than this, keep looking.
  3. Be sure to look for hidden maths that sneak into a major.  Math can lurk in classes with names that contain these words in their title:
    1. Quantitative
    2. Statistics
    3. Probability
    4.  Research
    5. Financial
    6. Analysis
    7. Inference
  4. See if you can test out of the math requirement in high school using CLEP or DSST exams at your target schools.  (not all colleges will accept exam credit!)  This approach has several benefits.
    1. Study in your own homeschool without stress or pressure.
    2. Earn college credit as pass/fail, removing the worry about your GPA
    3. Start your first semester without a math prerequisite (often you can’t register for science until you’ve finished math)
    4. Start (and finish) college without having to do a single math class.
  5. If you plan to earn your degree as a distance learning student/online, many of these programs also partner with college-credit-businesses that allow you to complete some courses at home (in high school) in a self paced and open book setting.  These partnerships are a wonderful way to earn credit, but outside of the partnership, you may find that the credit won’t transfer.  The company with them MOST college partnerships is called Straighterline.  The lowest transferable math they offer is College Algebra, but their partnership extends to over 100 colleges, so it’s worth considering.

CLEP Testing:  College Mathematics CLEP Exam Website

DSST Testing: Mathematics for Liberal Arts DSST Testing Website

Applied Math Courses in High School

If you’ve caught your breath, and have decided that you may not have to spend all 4 years of high school in pursuit of Calculus credit, I want to offer you some alternative math courses that you can use in place of the traditional sequence we discussed earlier.  Using applied math takes the “theory” of math, and puts it into “application” or real world use of numbers.  For many students that struggle with math, you’ll see a huge improvement when they begin studying applied math- this happened to my 12th grader.  After struggling through 4 years of Saxon Algebra 1/2 (aka pre-algebra) with barely passing marks every year,  (yes, he did the same book 4 years in a row and it never “clicked” for him) my 12th-grade son is now a solid “A” math student in Consumer Math.  He has turned the corner, we found a way for him to be successful! I only wish I’d started him in applied math 4 years ago.

In most cases, you can find these books through your favorite online bookstore.

Consumer Math:  I spent months reviewing the top 4 publishers in this space, and my hands-down favorite is A Beka.  I know some of you aren’t Christian, but besides an occasional bible verse, you won’t find a strong Christian theme in this book.  The content is exceptional.  Full color, practical, easy to read, excellent explanations, manageable lesson sizes, can be done over 1 year or 2.  Note: You don’t need the half-dozen books they sell for the “complete kit” you just need the Teacher Book (answers) and Student Book.  Highly recommend. 

Culinary Math:  This is my wheelhouse.  I taught Culinary Math for 10 years at a community college early in my career.  If your student wants to be a chef, they’ll be miles ahead of their culinary school peers if they start culinary math now.  While Culinary Math is a variation on arithmetic, the terminology is a little different.  Beyond converting recipes and measurements, the student will learn to calculate food and labor costs, convert between weight and volume, and understand purchasing.  The textbook I taught from would be great for a homeschool course:  Culinary Math by Linda Blocker/Julia Hill. 

Math for Health Care Professionals:  Review of the metric system, reading drug labels, medicine cups, syringes, intravenous administration bags, dosages, basic intravenous administration, and basic dosage by weight units.

Personal Finance:  There are dozens of curriculum options since I get to plug my favorites, I love Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance High School course. It can be taken in person, via DVD, or online.

Introduction to Accounting / Bookkeeping:  Many homeschool curriculum companies offer complete products if you don’t see it under “math” try looking under “electives.”

Statistics:  For visual learners, Statistics might be a great fit.  Statistics use a lot of charts, graphs, and spreadsheets.  While traditional Advanced Placement students usually have to wait until after Pre-Calculus to take Statistics, that’s because they want the students to finish their core first.  Most people can study statistics with a mathematical level of around Pre-Algebra or Algebra 1.  There is a college-credit exam for students who want to take their learning to the next level.  See the DSST link above.  

Game Theory & Probability:  This will totally appeal to anyone who likes to play card games, roll dice, flip coins, or talk about sports statistics and winning the lottery.  The Great Courses has several really great full curriculum options, but I personally loved the free streaming lecture series called Against All Odds  

College Math / and or / Mathematics for Liberal Arts:  We spoke earlier about testing out of college math while still in high school.  If you’re eager to try this option, you can find out about the content of these 2 exams at the links above.  While you might be able to find a college text, you can likely build a curriculum DIY style for either of these courses.  This is a great math credit option for 11th or 12th grade.

High School Math / Practical Math:  This isn’t an applied math, however, it’s a perfectly acceptable math course title if you’ve decided to dedicate more time to arithmetic.  Keep in mind that your teen’s real education is more important than what appears on their transcript, so if you see gaps in their skills, ignore the criticisms and do what needs to be done.  A community college accepts all high school graduates at every level of mathematics ability.


 

Arithmetic for High School Students

Earlier, I wrote “Do more arithmetic – speed and accuracy are key.  You may be surprised how weak most teens are at arithmetic, and in my opinion, this is likely the culprit. Forget how the transcript “looks” for a minute and think big-picture:  no matter what your teen does for college or a career or in life, they need solid arithmetic skills- this is as important as knowing how to read.  If their arithmetic is weak, make it PRIORITY #1.  No exceptions.”

If this is where you need to focus, start here:  Arithmetic on Khan Academy