Developing Your CLEP Program

Because CLEP doesn’t administer or grant credit for CLEP exams, students rely on colleges and universities to help them gain access to CLEP exams.

Institutions participate in the CLEP program by:

  • Developing exams
  • Setting exam standards
  • Creating institution-wide policies to grant credit for CLEP examinations
  • Administering the exams to students at on-campus test centers

Build a Meaningful CLEP Program at Your Institution

Step 1: Set a CLEP Policy or Evaluate Your Current Policy

Colleges and universities develop their own policies for awarding credit and placement to their students for CLEP exams. By setting a fair and flexible CLEP policy, which is periodically reviewed by faculty and staff, your institution can offer your students broader academic options. Learn more about setting a CLEP policy.

If your institution already has a CLEP policy in place, you should review it for possible expansion and to verify that the policy is fair and appropriate and reflects the needs of your students:

  • Does your policy clearly articulate the educational foundations for awarding credit by examination?
  • Does it encourage departments to take advantage of the credit-by-examination options available, including CLEP?
  • Does it ensure that students who have earned credit by examination will be treated equally with students who earn credit through course work?
  • Does it state that credits earned through examinations will be treated as equivalent to credits earned through course work at another institution or your own?
  • Does it clearly state the total amount of credit available through examination?

You may also want to conduct a free concurrent validity study using the College Board's Admitted Class Evaluation Service (ACES™) to learn more about how student performance on CLEP exams correlates to their performance in the classroom. Learn more about CLEP and ACES.

Step 2: Provide Information to Students

Credit-granting institutions are encouraged to provide CLEP policy information to students on their websites, in college catalogs and brochures, and through the advising and admissions offices. Before taking a CLEP exam, a student needs to know:

  • The required score in order to receive credit and/or advanced placement
  • The course equivalency
  • How the credit will be applied to the student's transcript
  • Any special requirements and conditions for earning credit-by-examination

Learn more about policy promotion.

Step 3: Engage Faculty and Advisors in the CLEP Process

The success of any CLEP program relies upon a system of communication and cooperation between the test center on campus (if applicable), faculty and administration. Building this system involves:

  • Finding key people on campus who can become CLEP advocates, including faculty who have been involved in the test-development process or those who have had personal experience with CLEP or CLEP test-takers.
  • Keeping an open dialogue with advisors, administration, admissions, and faculty. You may order free CLEP resources to help staff learn more about the program. Offer to answer questions or address concerns.

Step 4: Assess Your Students' Testing Needs

If your college is not already a CLEP test center, consider becoming one. Testing on your campus has many advantages. A test center:

  • Offers your students the convenience of testing in an environment with which they are familiar.
  • Brings examinees to your campus who are not enrolled at your institution, providing a recruitment opportunity.
  • Offers instantaneous access to score results for your students, making credit decisions simple and fast.

Learn more about how you can develop a test center.