CLEP and ACES

The Admitted Class Evaluation Service™ (ACES) helps you determine how student performance on CLEP and other examinations correlates with student performance in courses at your institution. With this information, you can determine the appropriate cut scores for placing proficient students into higher-level courses.

ACES helps you answer important questions about credit-granting and student placement.
An ACES validity study:

  • Identifies the best ways to assess a student's level of proficiency and predict a student's future performance at your institution
  • Analyzes the effectiveness of your current placement methods
  • Demonstrates the relative value of CLEP test scores and other measures of student ability
  • Presents an analysis of findings and gives you general background information to help you examine the study in greater detail

Placement

Placement helps you determine which students are not adequately prepared to benefit from a course and which are sufficiently prepared for a higher-level course. Without appropriate student placement, your institution risks wasting valuable resources, including student time and faculty time.

Conducting an ACES Placement Validity Study at your institution is a simple process. The service is free to all colleges and includes free student access to the CLEP exams you are evaluating. Colorful presentation, graphics, and interpretive text highlight the key findings and make your ACES reports easy to read and understand.

Who Can Conduct an ACES Placement Validity Study Using CLEP?

Faculty members and administrators — anyone with access to data on student performance — can request an ACES study. ACES provides helpful information for anyone making course placement decisions at your institution.

CLEP ACES studies analyze the CLEP scores, other exam scores and final grades of a group of current students in one or more related courses. You can decide which measures to include in your own Placement Validity Study to fit the particular needs of your institution. Data analysis is provided only to the individual requesting the study.

Which Courses and Exams Can Be Included in an ACES Study?

You can include any college course in your ACES study for which there is an equivalent CLEP exam or for which you are considering establishing a CLEP policy. For example, if you want to study placement options for Spanish language courses at your institution, you can include data from student performance in that course and from the CLEP Spanish Language exam.

For math placement, you can look at data from a math course and CLEP Precalculus or CLEP College Algebra scores. You may analyze up to five separate courses in your Placement Validity Study. You may use a single predictor (any measurement that helps to determine student performance) or up to five predictors for a single course.

Getting Started on Your ACES Study

Decide on the size of the study. How many classes, course sections, and students will this study involve? (A minimum of 30 students is required. If you are comparing more than three predictors, you will need a larger sample.)

Inform students about the study. Students must take the appropriate CLEP test during the course, along with any other measures you're comparing (a final exam, a departmental assessment or a portfolio evaluation). Student motivation is essential in conducting an ACES study. Build the expectation into your syllabus: make sure students are aware that they will be taking a CLEP exam, and determine what role, if any, it will play in their final grade.

Get access to students' course grades, including exam grades and anything else you plan to include in the study. You will have to submit this data for analysis. All student data will be kept confidential.

Make sure you have Internet access and a valid .edu email address.

How the ACES Process Works

An ACES study requires five steps on your part. CLEP and ACES staff are available for guidance at every step of the process:

  • Make sure you have everything you need to launch the study. Consult the list above and send CLEP an email indicating your intent to participate (see below).
  • Arrange to have your students take any exams in the last two weeks of the course. Contact the CLEP program to make arrangements with your school's test center or with another center in your community.
  • Complete the Study Request Form. Using this form, tailor your study to the particular needs of your institution.
  • Retrieve your report. When your study has been completed, you will receive an email with instructions for downloading the final report. This report presents an analysis of your data from your study and explains what the numbers mean. (Studies that utilize CLEP examinations will be completed 8 to 12 weeks after you submit your data, depending on the complexity of the study.)

For more information on ACES and CLEP, or to get started, contact CLEP at CLEP@collegeboard.org.