When you first started college, you knew there would be tests. You figured you would study, take the exam and earn your grade. Doesn’t seem all that hard, right?
Then it came time to register for your first midterm. You discovered just how many credit-by-exam options there are, and you remember seeing something about taking tests at home.
You thought you knew it all, but now you realize there's more to learn. Maybe you do not have time to search for the answers. Perhaps you feel your questions are too simple and silly, or that you just don’t know where to start or who to talk to. If you feel lost or confused by test formats, examination programs or proctoring services, we’re here to help.
So, to talk about all things testing, Maureen Woodruff, director of the Office of Test Administration, and Emily Carone, assistant director of the Center for the Assessment of Learning, answer your most pressing exam questions and the ones you’ve been searching for, but were too afraid to ask.
1. What is a TECEP® exam?
Emily: The University offers TECEP®, its own credit-by exam program, to enable you to earn credit by taking exams instead of courses.
Maureen: You can go to the myEdison® student portal, and click on the TECEP® tab to find the information that explains the program in detail.
2. Are all ProctorU exams closed book? Are there any that are open book, and if so, what books can be used? How can I learn which books and materials can be used during an exam?
Maureen: Some exams allow additional materials such as a textbook, notes or a non-programmable calculator. If extra materials are allowed, they will be listed in Moodle (OL/online course, GS/Guided Study and EP/e-Pack® course) or in the TECEP® test description. Select the correct course code and term when scheduling an appointment with ProctorU so the list of acceptable materials will be accurate for your course. For example, Principles of Statistics (STA-201) is offered in several different formats: OL, GS, EP and TE. The materials allowed vary for each of these assessments, so accuracy is key when scheduling a test appointment.
3. How does Thomas Edison State University decide which TECEP® exams to create?
Emily: Oftentimes the University requests a particular title. In other instances, we develop a TECEP® for a subject that a lot of students do portfolios for. Recently, we've been developing exams for non-collegiate organizations, such as the Saylor Academy and OERu, who provide online courses, but cannot offer college credit. You can now make suggestions for new titles on the TECEP® listing page on the website, here.
4. When will the remaining TECEP® exams announced last year in partnership with the Saylor Academy be released?
Emily: We've developed four TECEP® exams based on Saylor Academy courses so far, including: Environmental Ethics (ETH-210), World History from 1600 to Present (HIS-126), Introduction to Comparative Politics (POS-282), and Negotiations and Conflict Management (NEG-401). The others (Management Information Systems, Mechanical Engineering and Thermodynamics) will not be developed. At the moment, we don't have any additional Saylor/TECEP® tests in the works, but are open to developing others.
5. How many exams for credit can be used to complete my degree?
Maureen: There is no limit to how many credits can be completed through an exam program. You need to have approval from an academic advisor, however, before registering. This approval will ensure that the completed credits will fit into your degree plan.
6. Why are there very few upper level TECEP® exams?
Emily: Credit-by-exam programs were originally designed to test knowledge of lower-level subject areas, since they were based on prior learning. So that's what the University did when it started the TECEP® program, although we did develop a number of upper-level exams.
7. Should I tell my advisor when I plan to take any exam for credit?
Maureen: Once an advisor has approved a TECEP® exam, you can take it whenever you are ready. Be aware that these exams are semester-based programs with specific registration dates. Once the TECEP® term begins, you can take the test at any time during that 12-week term.
8. What are the easiest TECEP® exams to take?
Emily: While there is no such thing as an “easy” TECEP®, you can base your decision on which one to take dependent on whether you prefer multiple-choice tests or written response tests. In addition, consider testing in a subject where you have prior knowledge or personal interest. This is what will make these exams “easy” for you.
9. How can I submit CLEP and DSST scores to the University so that they’re reviewed?
Maureen: When taking a CLEP or DSST examination, you will be asked to document which institution is to receive your official score report. The CLEP code for Thomas Edison State University is 2748 and our DSST code is 9001. You can use these codes to ensure that score reports are sent directly to the University.
10. Can I take a TECEP® exam even if I’m a non-enrolled student?
Maureen: Yes, as a non-enrolled student you may take a TECEP® exam. You can access Online Student Services through the University website. Follow the instructions for attaining a University ID so that you can go online to register for the test.
11. Can I use TECEP® exams to fulfill my credit hour residency requirements?
Maureen: TECEP® exam credits can no longer be used to satisfy credit hour residency requirements under Per Credit Tuition Plan that went into effect on April 1, 2016. However, students currently registered for TECEP® exams and Prior Learning Assessment credits for the April and May 2016 terms will be able to apply those credits toward their residency requirements. In addition, credits earned via TECEP® exams and Prior Learning Assessment prior to April 1 can be applied to a student’s residency requirement under the plan.
12. Can I take TECEP, CLEP and DSST exams via ProctorU?
Maureen: All TECEP® exams except one, English Composition II (ENC-102-TE), can be taken online through ProctorU. The CLEP and DSST exams are also online but they are not administered through ProctorU. Information on the location of CLEP and DSST test sites can be found on the Clep.Collegeboard.org and GetCollegeCredit.com, respectively.
13. Are there any fees associated with using ProctorU?
Maureen: No, there are no fees associated provided you schedule appointments well before the official test week. Since all exams must be completed by the last day of the term, ProctorU offers some fee related scheduling opportunities if you need an appointment at the last minute. If you schedule early in the term, as we advise, you will not be required to pay any fees.
Do you have any pressing exam questions? Leave them in the comments, and Maureen Woodruff and Emily Carone will answer them!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated to reflect University policies.
Written by Thomas Edison State University