Posted in ACE, DSST

DSST Expiration / Revision Dates

ACE is the third-party review organization that colleges use to decide if a class or exam is “worth” college credit or not. In other words, DSST exams are worth college credit because they have undergone review by ACE.

When ACE reviews an exam, they always assign a date range for that review. At the ending date, the exam must be reviewed again or removed. If it is reviewed and renewed, a new date range is issued. In general, DSST likes to keep test takers informed, and often posts on their website when an exam is undergoing revision (they sometimes call it being “refreshed”) and a target date for the change.  As such, it’s a little bit easier to track DSST exam revisions than CLEP!

All date ranges and the history of date ranges are available by searching the ACE Database.

These dates are no guarantee that there will be an exam revision or removal, but the expiration dates are established by ACE,  as such, you should plan your high school accordingly, and proceed as if an exam will be revised or removed on its expiration date to be on the safe side.

A handful of exams were revised 4/1/2016 despite their deadline not being up, so be aware that even with the best planning, you should remain flexible.


NOTE:  upon expiration (12/31/2014) the following exams were DISCONTINUED.  If you’ve already taken one of these, no worries- your score is still valid.  However, DSST testing centers will no longer offer these exams:

  • Business Law II
  • Introduction to the Modern Middle East
  • Physical Geology
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Western Europe Since 1945.

Currently, 36 DSST exams are evaluated for college credit.

A History of the Vietnam War   11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018  (Deadline approaching)

Art of the Western World   11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Astronomy  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Business Ethics and Society  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Business Mathematics   6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Computing and Information Technology   1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Criminal Justice  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Environmental Science  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Ethics in America  1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Foundations of Education  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Fundamentals of College Algebra  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Fundamentals of Counseling   6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Fundamentals of Cybersecurity  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

General Anthropology 7/19/2016 – 12/31/2018

Health and Human Development (formerly Here’s to Your Health)  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

History of the Soviet Union  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Human Resource Management  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Human Cultural Geography  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Introduction to Business 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Introduction to Law Enforcement 11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Introduction to World Religions  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Lifespan Developmental Psychology  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Management Information Systems 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Math for Liberal Arts  11/1/2016 – 10/31/2019

Money and Banking  1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Organizational Behavior  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Personal Finance 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Principles of Advanced English Composition  11/1/2016 – 10/31/2019

Principles of Finance  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Principles of Physical Science I  11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Principles of Public Speaking   11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Principles of Statistics 6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Principles of Supervision  4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Substance Abuse 4/1/2016 – 12/31/2018

Technical Writing  6/1/2017 – 2/29/2020

Civil War and Reconstruction 11/1/2013 – 1/31/2018 (Deadline approaching)

Posted in ACE

PADI (Scuba Diving)

Does your teen know how to scuba dive or practice underwater photography?  Did they learn how through a PADI course?  If so, there is up to 34 college credits available through this source.   If they haven’t learned to scuba dive, but plan to, it’s industrious of you to choose a company that awards college credit.  (not all do)

PADI courses are evaluated for college credit by ACE, which means they may qualify for college credit.  The category will likely be Physical Education/ Recreation or non-general education elective.  Charter Oak State College allows you to count up to 30 credits in this category towards the completion of an Associate of Science degree.

The American Council on Education‘s College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) connects workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping adults gain access to academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside the traditional classroom.

This type of credit falls into the category of  least transferable type (less likelihood than CLEP, AP, or dual enrollment through a college)  however, if your teen is doing -has done- the work, you should register with ACE and put their PADI course on the transcript.  There are a thousand reasons to do it, and no good reason not to.

If you still haven’t created an ACE account for your teen, do it today!  It’s free and only takes a minute.  You’ll be able to add any and all of their ACE credit from here on out, as well as older credit that you can verify.  ALEKS, Straighterline, Sophia, Saylor Academy, edX, and others (like PADI) are all varieties of ACE credit.

Watch my short video on how to set up an ACE account.

PADI Classes for College Credit (through 6/30/2017)

“PADI International, Inc., is a professional organization that focuses on the training of scuba divers and scuba diving instructors. PADI’s goal is to promote the training and education of the general public in the proper techniques of recreational underwater activities and the advancement of those activities.

All PADI courses are developed in terms of demonstrable student performance. PADI course materials employ the concepts of mastery learning based on student-centered objectives, and the curriculum is performance-based rather than time-based.

Students are certified as PADI divers when they master all cognitive and motor-skills performance objectives. Students who have not demonstrated an acceptable level of performance typically matriculate to another course or begin remedial training with the instructor until all cognitive or motor-skill performance objectives are met.”

Locate a PADI course or get more information:  www.PADI.com 

  1. Open Water Diver (2 credits)
  2. Advanced Open Water Diver (1 credit)
  3. Deep Diver (1 credit)
  4. Rebreather Diver (1 credit)
  5. Advanced Rebreather Diver (1 credit)
  6. Divemaster (3 credits)
  7. Dry Suit Diver (1 credit)
  8. Course Director Training Course (3 credits)
  9. Emergency First Response Instructor Training Course (1 credit)
  10. Enriched Air Diver (1 credit)
  11. Instructor Development Course /Formerly: Open Water Scuba Instructor (3 credits)
  12. Night Diver (1 credit)
  13. Public Safety Diver (2 credits)
  14. Rescue Diver (1 credit)
  15. Search and Recovery Diver (1 credit)
  16. Sidemount Diver (1 credit)
  17. Tech 40 Diver (1 credit)
  18. Tech 45 Diver (1 credit)
  19. Tech 50 Diver (1 credit)
  20. Tech Sidemount Diver (2 credits)
  21. Tech Trimix Diver (2 credits)
  22. Underwater Navigator (1 credit)
  23. Underwater Photographer (1 credit)
  24. Wreck Diver (1 credit)
Posted in CLEP, Credit by Exam, Curriculum

Used Book Buying Guide

Do you need to buy the current edition CLEP prep book?  Nope!  Why?  Read on…

All CLEP exams are worth college credit because they have undergone review by ACE.  ACE is the third-party review organization that colleges use to decide if a class or exam is “worth” college credit or not.  When ACE reviews an exam, they always assign a date range for that review.  In order for an exam to be refreshed, revised, or updated, it must undergo a new review.  When a new review happens, the ACE Database is updated!

So, the list below shows the current exam date ranges for each of the college-credit eligible exams.  Exam date changes are very important to test takers, so that’s one of the many things I track closely.

It is possible for CLEP to do a revision today, but while it undergoes review, they’ll have to continue to use the current exam.  Once the revised exam “passes” for credit, the database is updated, and the new exam goes into effect.  Therefore, we don’t usually know about an edition change until the database is updated or unless CLEP (College Board) puts out a press release.  So, be aware that this can happen anytime.

All date ranges and the history of date ranges are available by searching the ACE Database.

2 Parts of CLEP Prep

  1. The curriculum.  As a homeschool parent, you’ll likely want your teen to learn the material before taking a CLEP exam.  Let’s say your teen is learning American Government and American Literature this year, and you’d like her to try the CLEP tests.  The curriculum that you use for those subjects can be any brand, published any time, and new or used.  The curriculum is your choice.  You’ll want to visit the Official CLEP Website to be sure your curriculum covers similar content as they’ll be tested on, but in general, you can use anything you like.

  2. Test prep.  The test prep material dates are very important.  Test prep isn’t teaching new information, rather it is telling your teen what topics from their class will be on the test, and the distribution (percentages) they’ll need to know.   When exams are revised, not only can the topics tested change, but the distribution can change.  Knowing if a topic makes up 2% or 32% is a big deal.   In this case, you’ll always want to be sure the test prep books were published since the exam revision!


Based on the current exam edition of American Government, any test prep book written after 7/1/01 will be accurate.  For American Literature, however, the test prep book needs to have been written after 3/1/15 to be accurate.  Again, curriculum can be older, but test prep materials must match the current exam version.

American Government  7/1/01- 11/30/18

American Literature  3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature  3/1/15-11/30/18

Biology  7/1/01- 11/30/18

Calculus 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Chemistry 7/1/01- 11/30/18

College Algebra 1/1/07 – 11/30/18

College Composition (essay) 7/1/10 – 11/30/18

College Modular (no essay) 3/1/15 – 11/30/ 18

College Math 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

English Literature 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Financial Accounting 1/1/07 – 11/30/18

French Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

German Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

History of the United States I 7/1/01- 11/30/18

History of the United States II 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Human Growth and Development 11/1/06 – 11/30/18

Humanities 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Information Systems 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Intro. Educational Psychology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Intro. Business Law 5/1/02 – 11/30/18

Intro. Psychology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Intro. Sociology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Natural Sciences 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Precalculus 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Macroeconomics 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Microeconomics 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Management 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Marketing 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Social Science and History 3/1/16 – 2/28/19

Spanish Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Western Civ.I 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Western Civ. II 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Posted in ACE, CLEP

CLEP Expiration / Revision Dates

ACE is the third-party review organization that colleges use to decide if a class or exam is “worth” college credit or not.  In other words, CLEP exams are worth college credit because they have undergone review by ACE.

When ACE reviews an exam, they always assign a date range for that review.  At the ending date, the exam must be reviewed again or removed.  If it is reviewed and renewed, a new date range is issued.  Recently, we saw a renewal for every exam except for Social Science and History (which was recently renewed anyway).  Even exams that weren’t set to expire were bumped.  We don’t know if any exams are undergoing a rewrite for implementation before 11/30/18, but that’s always a possibility.

All date ranges and the history of date ranges are available by searching the ACE Database.

These dates are not guarantees that there will be an exam revision or removal, but they are the expiration dates as established by ACE. As such, you should plan your high school accordingly, and proceed as if an exam will be revised or removed on its expiration date to be on the safe side.   

Currently, 33 exams are evaluated for college credit.  


American Government 7/1/01- 11/30/18

American Literature 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Analyzing and Interpreting Literature  3/1/15-11/30/18

Biology 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Calculus 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Chemistry 7/1/01- 11/30/18

College Algebra 1/1/07 – 11/30/18

College Composition (essay) 7/1/10 – 11/30/18

College Modular (no essay) 3/1/15 – 11/30/ 18

College Math 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

English Literature 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Financial Accounting 1/1/07 – 11/30/18

French Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

German Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

History of the United States I 7/1/01- 11/30/18

History of the United States II 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Human Growth and Development 11/1/06 – 11/30/18

Humanities 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Information Systems 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Intro. Educational Psychology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Intro. Business Law 5/1/02 – 11/30/18

Intro. Psychology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Intro. Sociology 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Natural Sciences 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Precalculus 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Macroeconomics 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Microeconomics 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Management 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Princ. of Marketing 10/1/12 – 11/30/18

Social Science and History 3/1/16 – 2/28/19

Spanish Language 3/1/15 – 11/30/18

Western Civ.I 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Western Civ. II 7/1/01- 11/30/18

Posted in Curriculum, Distance Learning, High School, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

Straighterline Dissected: What to Take

I first published this story in February 2017, but in March 2018, some of the Straighterline courses changed a bit.  You can see every Straighterline syllabus by entering their website and clicking on the course you’re interested in.  If the exact number of quizzes/points is important in your decision-making process, be sure to check before enrolling.  -Jennifer

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Not all Straighterline courses follow the same format.  In this document, we’ll explore the structure of each Straighterline course, and I’ll help you break down the differences between them.  This will help you choose courses that meet your specific need.


Courses are generally considered “easy” and/or “fast” to complete when they:

  1. Consist only of only exams, a midterm, and a final.  Those three exam types are multiple choice format, open book, and instantly graded by computer.  
  2. The course point distribution allows you to accumulate enough points to pass the course before taking the final.
  3. The course textbook is available digitally, which allows you to search out answers quickly during exams.  Tip: hold the Ctrl button and press the F key.  A “find” box will open, and you can search the text for any word or phrase.

Courses are generally considered “hard” and/or “slow” to complete when they:

  1. Have assignments that must be uploaded to Straighterline.  The assignment will be graded by a human, and can take 3-5 days.
  2. Are subject to a human’s interpretation of the course instructions, which can result in a low grade.  The nature of the grading system means your grader is anonymous and you can not ask follow up questions or make revisions.  You will likely have a different person grading each of your assignments.
  3. Require labs.  Science labs can stretch several days each, especially if you’re waiting for a reaction or culture to grow.  Labs also require uploading photos in every lab report.

Courses are generally “more expensive” when:

  1. You take a science lab.  Science labs all require lab kits purchased through the link in the course syllabus.  Lab kits can cost as much as $200. 
  2. You don’t use a discount code.  There are usually at least 2 codes at any time.  I keep a log of current codes on this website. Discount Codes

 

A passing score for every Straighterline course is 70% unless your college says differently.

Straighterline credit comes into every college as PASS/FAIL credit unless your college says differently.  

Charter Oak State College (CT) is the only college I know of that awards letter grades for Straighterline courses.  They use a standard 90=A, 80=B, 70=C grade scale.

When the “pre-proctor” column is 700 or more, you can pass the course before taking the final exam. Note, they still require you to take it, but there’s no pressure.


I pulled all of the following MASTER TABLE information from the Straighterline website on 2/25/2017.  Information is subject to change at any time, but I will make every effort to keep this current.  If you find an error, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

 

MASTER TABLE

STRAIGHTERLINE COURSE CONTENT SUMMARY PRE-PROCTOR PROCTORED EVENT
Accounting 1 4 exams @ 150 / midterm 200 800 Final exam 200
Accounting 2 4 exams @ 150 / midterm 200 800 Final exam 200
American Government 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200 700 Final exam 300
Anatomy & Physiology 1 16 exams @ 40 / midterm 160 800 Final exam 200
Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lab 9 exams @ 42 *lowest score dropped

9 written lab reports @ 83 *lowest score dropped

1000 -0-
Anatomy & Physiology 2 13 exams @ 50 / midterm 150 800 Final exam 200
Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lab 9 exams @ 42 *lowest score dropped

9 written lab reports @ 83 *lowest score dropped

1000 -0-
Biology 13 exams totaling 700 700 Final exam 300
Biology Lab 8 exams @35 / 1 homework @ 40

8 written lab reports @ 85

1000 -0-
Business Communication 14 exams @ 25 / midterm 150

3 written papers @ 100

800 Final exam 200
Business Ethics 4 exams @ 175 700 Final exam 300
Business Law 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
Business Statistics 6 exams @ 125 750 Final exam 250
Calculus 1 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 150 650 Final exam 350
Calculus 2 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 150 650 Final exam 350
Chemistry 6 exams @115 690 Final exam 310
Chemistry Lab 8 exams @35 / 1 homework @ 40

8 written lab reports @ 85

1000 -0-
College Algebra 4 exams @ 125 500 Final exam 500
Criminal Justice 12 exams @ 50 / midterm 200 800 Final exam 200
Cultural Anthropology 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
English Composition 1* 15 exams totaling 610

9 written assignments totaling 400

1010 -0-
English Composition 2 17 exams totaling 510

8 written assignments totaling 500

1010 -0-
Environmental Science 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
Financial Accounting 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
First Aid 4 exams @100 / midterm 200

1 demonstration 100 / CPR verification 100

800 Final exam 200
Introductory Algebra 7 exams @ 100 700 Final exam 300
Introduction to Business 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
Introduction to Communication 4 exams @ 100 / midterm 100

3 speeches totaling 300

800 Final exam 200
Introduction to Nutrition 15 exams @ 40 / midterm 150 750 Final exam 250
Introduction to Philosophy 4 exams @ 75 / midterm 200 500 Final exam 500
Introduction to Programming C++ 4 exams @ 50 / midterm 200

8 Program assignments @ 25

600 Final exam 400
Introduction to Religion 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200 700 Final exam 300
Introduction to Statistics 5 exams totaling 500 points 500 Final exam 500
IT Fundamentals 19 exams totaling 700 points 700 Final exam 300
Macroeconomics* 19 exams @ 40 / midterm 120 880 Final exam 120
Managerial Accounting 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200 700 Final exam 300
Medical Terminology 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200 700 Final exam 300
Microbiology 6 exams @ 100 / midterm 200 800 Final exam 200
Microbiology Lab 8 exams @ 48 *lowest score dropped

8 written lab reports @ 95 *lowest score dropped

1001 -0-
Microeconomics* 24 Exams @ 30 / midterm 140 860 Final exam 140
Organizational Behavior 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
Personal Finance 14 exams @ 50 / midterm 100 800 Final exam 200
Personal Fitness 10 Exams @ 70

Fitness test/Caloric Inventory/5K race @ 0

700 Final exam 300
Pharmacology 1 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
Pharmacology 2 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250
Physics 4 exams @ 150/ midterm 200 800 Final exam 200
Physics Lab 9 exams @ 42 *lowest score dropped

9 written lab reports @ 83 *lowest score dropped

1000 -0-
Pre-Calculus 4 exams @ 175 700 Final exam 300
Principles of Management 4 exams @ 150 / midterm 200 800 Final exam 200
Psychology* 4 exams @ 175 700 Final exam 300
Sociology 10 exams @ 50 / midterm 150

5 discussion assignments @ 20

750 Final exam 250
Spanish 1 4 exams @ 75 / 2 written assignments @ 75

2 oral assignments @ 75 / midterm 150

750 Final exam 250
Spanish 2 4 exams @ 75 / 2 written assignments @ 75

2 oral assignments @ 75 / midterm 150

750 Final exam 250
Survey of World History 18 exams totaling 700 points 700 Final exam 300
United States History 1 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 200 700 Final exam 300
United States History 2 4 exams @ 125 / midterm 250 750 Final exam 250

SL courses WITHOUT webcam proctored final exams

English Composition 1
English Composition 2
Microbiology Lab
Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lab
Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lab
Biology Lab
Chemistry Lab
Physics Lab

SL courses approved as “Advanced Placement” by College Board

English Composition 1
Macroeconomics
Microeconomics
Psychology

SL courses you can’t pass unless you also pass the final exam

Chemistry
Calculus 1
Calculus 2
Introduction to Programming C++
College Algebra
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Statistics

SL courses that require written essays

Business Communication
Sociology
English Composition 2
English Composition 1

SL courses that require giving speeches/video recording

Spanish 1
Spanish 2
Introduction to Communication

SL courses that require a 3rd party to verify your activity

First Aid
Personal Fitness

SL courses that require purchase of a lab kit

Anatomy & Physiology 1 Lab
Biology Lab
Chemistry Lab
Microbiology Lab
Anatomy & Physiology 2 Lab
Physics Lab

TIP:  If you have multiple children that are earning lab credit, you only have to buy 1 lab kit.  Email Straighterline at Advisor@straighterline.com and request a “group lab form.” 

SL courses that can be “passed” before taking the final exam 

NOTE: the quizzes, labs, homework, exams, and even mid-term exams are all open book.  The only closed book activity is the FINAL EXAM, and not all final exams are closed book!  In other words, your teen should be able to earn nearly perfect scores on everything leading up to the final exam.

Macroeconomics
Microeconomics
Introduction to Communication
First Aid
Business Communication
Accounting 1
Accounting 2
Anatomy & Physiology 1
Anatomy & Physiology 2
Criminal Justice
Microbiology
Personal Finance
Physics
Principles of Management
Spanish 1
Spanish 2
Sociology
American Government
Business Law
Business Statistics
Cultural Anthropology
Environmental Science
Financial Accounting
Introduction to Business
Introduction to Nutrition
Introduction to Religion
Organizational Behavior
Pharmacology 1
Pharmacology 2
United States History 1
United States History 2
Western Civilization 1
Western Civilization 2
Personal Fitness
Psychology
Biology
Business Ethics
Introductory Algebra
IT Fundamentals
Managerial Accounting
Medical Terminology
Pre-Calculus
Survey of World History

Jennifer’s TOP 10 Suggested SL Courses

based on: fewest computer graded activities that can result in a pass before the final exam

  1. Psychology – not only is this course approved as an AP course (record it as such on your teen’s high school transcript) but it only has 4 exams @ 175 points each + final. If you want, your teen can also take the AP exam and/or CLEP exam.  The content of this course aligns with both very nicely.  Note: their target college will still only award 3 credits even if they have multiple passing scores.
  2. Business Ethics – some partner colleges consider this a philosophy or ethics course, which meets a general education requirement!  Only 4 exams and a 300 point open book final.
  3.  Accounting 1 & 2 – These don’t make sense for all of my readers, but if you’re looking for math alternatives or business courses for your teen, these two courses follow the same structure and can yield a full year of math.  There are 4 exams and midterm (all open book) totaling 800 points.  Since only 700 is needed to pass the course, you can pass long before attempting the 200 point open book exams.
  4. Principles of Management– Also a less traditional option, the structure makes this class a winner.  4 exams and a midterm (all open book) totaling 800 points.  Again, easy enough to pass before attempting the 200 point open book exam. CLEP also offers an exam for this course.
  5. American Government- Almost every high school student takes a government course, so this acts as a great DIY dual enrollment option.  A straight-forward structure consisting of 4 exams and midterm (all open book) totaling 750 points.  The final is closed book, however, it’s possible to pass this course before taking the final. CLEP offers an exam for this course, however, the pass rate is very low.  SL would be a significantly easier option if deciding between the two.  *while there is an AP exam in this content area, the SL course is not an approved AP course.
  6. Environmental Science– Considered a nice and easy science by most, the structure here makes this course a great option.  4 exams and a midterm (all open book) totaling 750 points followed by an open book final.  *while there is an AP exam in this content area, the SL course is not an approved AP course
  7. Introduction to Religion– This course is usually considered a general education course, not a theology course, making it a good option for any degree.  The structure is simple with 4 exams and a midterm (all open book) followed by a 250 point open book final exam.  In my opinion, I thought this course covered the major religions well and without strong bias toward one over another.
  8. United States History 1 & 2 – Like Accounting, these two courses can be taken individually, but when taken together make a full sequence.  Both have the same structure: 4 exams, a midterm, and final.  US History 1’s final is closed book, while US History 2’s final is open book.  Either way, it’s possible to pass both before taking the final.  There are CLEP exams for US 1 and US 2, but if you want to plan for an AP exam, be sure to take both classes!
  9. Western Civilization 1 & 2 – Identical in structure to US History 1 & 2, but both have open-book final exams.  Like all the courses on this list, you can pass the class before taking the final exam.  There are CLEP exams for Western Civilization 1 and 2.
  10. Cultural Anthropology– This course is an alternative to Sociology or Psychology as a social science option.  In some colleges, this course also meets requirements related to world cultures or diversity.  The structure is very similar to the others on this list- 4 exams and midterm with a 250 point open book final.
Posted in Curriculum, Distance Learning, Self-Paced Learning, Straighterline

Straighterline Basics

Disclaimer:  Straighterline is a registered trademark.  The content of this blog is not endorsed, evaluated, or approved by Straighterline in any way.

Official Website:  www.straighterline.com

What:  Straighterline is a business that offers online courses.

Who authorizes the credit? The courses have been evaluated by the American Council on Education as college credit eligible.

Who accepts the credit?  Straighterline has over 100 partner colleges that have formal credit arrangements.  Not all of their partners accept all of their courses for credit.  Furthermore, the course equivalency list may be one or more semesters old.  Confirm that your target college awards credit before enrolling.   Interesting point:  Straighterline has more partner colleges than anyone else in this segment. 

How it works:  I suggest visiting their official website for a detailed overview, but I’ll give you the quick version.  You pay a monthly subscription fee of $99 per user.  You then purchase courses a la carte as you need them (average around $50 each).  For most of the courses, a textbook is required, but they incorporate a “free” ebook into the course fee.  If you want a physical text, you’ll have to buy that on your own.  The contents of the course are self-paced and NOT proctored.  Quizzes, exams, homework, and midterm exams are open book.  After you complete all of the course’s required activities, you’ll take the proctored final exam (if applies) via webcam on your home computer.  They use a third party proctor company called ProctorU to monitor you during your test. Your exam score is uploaded instantly.  If you passed the course, you must complete the final step of getting your course onto your ACE transcript.

What is an ACE transcript?  Create an ACE account  Each of your homeschooled students needs their own ACE account with individual email addresses.  Creating a transcript is free but not so easy.  I’ve made a short Youtube Video to walk you through the process.  Save their login information, they’ll keep the same account for life.

Potential:  Straighterline offers 55 courses for college credit totaling about 156 potential credits.  Note that most of the partner schools cap the number of StraighterLine credits you can use toward a degree.   Strict schools allow as few as 30, while generous schools allow up to 90.

Cost:  Cost is difficult to determine since the pace you complete the course determines the cost.  Students are incentivized to work quickly because the faster you complete the course, the cheaper it is.   The minimum cost to complete any course is one month ($99) plus the cost of the course(s) you choose.  Straighterline’s marketing material suggests you can complete 1 course in a month.  Completing 1 course in a month is about $150/month. I can tell you that the adult learners on InstnatCert focus on speed over learning. It isn’t unusual for members to power through an entire course in under a week, which brings the cost down considerably.

My high school teens complete an average of 2 courses per month if they’re adding as a subject to their school day, but have done 3 courses in a month when it was their “only school” subject for the month. Completing 3 courses costs $99 subscription + $59 per course (x 3) = $178*.  So, you can see it is more cost effective to complete SL courses QUICKLY and in BULK rather than spread out over a semester.  

Scholarships:  Straighterline has scholarship arrangements with many partner schools.  A typical arrangement is “complete 4 courses with StraighterLine and receives 10% off tuition.”  Check to see if your target school is on their Scholarship Participants list.

Codes:  Codes reduce the cost of your SL course, and there are always codes. I keep a current list here: Discount Codes.  It is normal to receive $50 off each course you register for, and they NEVER EXPIRE, so you can purchase the courses during a promo code period, and use it later!   (I use codes for all our classes.  In the above sample, my son completed 3 courses  *9 college credits*, each with a $50 off code for a total of $127!

ACE and Expiration Dates:  While Straighterline courses never expire in your account, Straighterline refreshes or replaces courses when their ACE expiration is up (or has the option to, of course, they may also choose to do nothing…but since we can’t read minds…). So, it’s important to keep an eye on dates when the courses you purchase are up for renewal.  I advise you to “use them up” before their renewal – this avoids any potential sticky situations that may cause you trouble.

Posted in College Admission, Credit by Exam

2017 Survey of College Admin

Sometime I like to share articles that help you see inside the big picture of higher education – how it works and what they think. I just read the report from Insider Higher Education this morning (link follows)- they looked at the 2017 survey that asks college leaders (Chief Academic Officers/Provosts- the big bosses) about the state of higher education on their campus today.   I realize you may not be interested in reading the entire thing, but there are 4 quotes I wanted to pull from the summary. If you only have 2 minutes, skip straight to number 4.
1.  “Seventy-three percent also say that their institution relies ‘significantly’ on non-tenure-track professors…35% expect more reliance on adjunct faculty.”
WOW! Ok folks, this is huge. Let me break this down for you.  Tenure (not without problems) really means having a teaching position for life.  Coming from a community college where there are almost zero tenure faculty, even I was shocked by this number. Colleges and universities that have tenure faculty have typically stood out as being the creme de la creme.  Thnk: flagship universities and Ivy League.  These professors are integral to the college’s “brand” and for some fields, it’s the reason students choose a specific university.    But wait, there’s more….
There are other categories besides tenure and non, so if they rely less on tenure, who is doing the teaching?  Certainly they mean just regular -full time faculty?  Uh, nope.  Over 1/3 of them are going to use more adjunct faculty.
What is adjunct?  That’s the academic term that means “temp hire.”  Adjunct work 1 semester at a time, teaching classes the full timers can’t or don’t want to teach.  As it stands, community colleges already have the highest number of adjunct faculty.  I’m not going to slam adjunct work – I did it for 14 years in the community college system, but if you’re paying a premium dollar for tuition, you may be getting the same teacher who is also teaching 6 other sections at 3 other colleges in your town.  (Adjunct earn on average only $1500 per semester per course taught).   As a temp, there are extreme limitations to that teacher’s commitment to the student (that they will never see again) their ability to interject quality into the curriculum (they have no power) and their desperation to be hired back next term (be extra nice to the students – students like A’s).
2.  “45 percent of provosts believe that liberal arts education (across institutional types) is in decline.”
I suspect that’s because students with a strictly liberal arts preparation are having a hard time repaying their enormous student loans while earning low paying jobs. There is a push (rightfully) that college graduates should be employable upon graduation.
My first degree (Associate of Occupational Studies) was to get a job – plain and simple.  I went to culinary school to learn culinary arts so I could become a chef.  Simple.  Everything else is not so simple.  Later, when I earned an AA in general studies and a BA in Social Science (liberal arts), I realized how starkly different a liberal arts education and vocational education were.  My BA didn’t give me “work place skills” I studied social psychology, anthropology, history, and other social sciences.  Interesting, but not job skills.  If I wanted a job in social science, I’d have to earn a PhD so I be hired by a university that would then pay me to teach students studying social science who would then have the option of earning a PhD so they could teach social science to students….  [I’ll give you a minute to let that soak in….]
So, if a vocational education is job training, why do people earn BA degrees in liberal arts? Well to be “educated” of course.  Everyone knows vocational education isn’t real college (heavy sarcasm).  BUT, here’s the rub.  The highly educated but underemployed segment is growing at a HUGE rate.  This is the group that can’t repay their student loans, and the group that is getting expensive colleges in major hot water.  (To be fair, vocational colleges whose students can’t get jobs are also in hot water).
3.  “Eighty-five percent of provosts report that their institutions use student evaluations when judging faculty members for tenure, promotion or raises.”
Do students know that they hold this kind of power?  Bad reviews on Rate My Professor can make or break a career.  I remember in 1997, our college adopted a new philosophy called “Continued Quality Improvement” or CQI.  In short, we could no longer call students students, we were now to think of them as a “customer” and our focus was to shift toward customer service.  Having been a college student as a teen and as an adult, I can tell you there is a stark contrast between my experience as a youth and that of an adult.  While I liked having more power (don’t laugh), we also know what student-driven success looks like.  It looks like an “A” or else.
4.  “This year, 91 percent of provosts at public colleges and universities said they favored awarded credit through CBE”
THIS!  CBE is “competency based education” which is to say a college awards credit for competency rather than time spent in a classroom.  This looks like CLEP, AP, DSST, prior learning assessments, and others.  If you read nothing else in the article, pan down and read the section titled Competency Based Education.  Frequently, at least a few times per month, someone asks me what I think of fewer colleges accepting CLEP or awarding credit for AP.  Huh?  Those number have soared over the past decade (I keep records of such things).    As you read the article, you’ll see 2/3 of all public colleges report awarding credit for some type of CBE, while only around 1/3 for private.  I think that’s reasonable.   Private colleges have a brand development dilemma that gets in the way – but that’s not because of CLEP, those same private colleges also don’t accept much transfer credit either.  It’s just the nature of their business model.
So, one more bit of good news, even with 2/3 currently participating in CBE, those that don’t were asked if they were exploring the idea.  49% said yes.