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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

PROPOSAL FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE REGARDING MINIMUM SCORE REQUIREMENTS EARNED FROM CREDIT BY EXAM TESTS

On behalf of the Educational Policy Committee, Professor Larry Abraham (professor, curriculum and instruction and committee chair) submitted the following motion concerning the minimum score requirements earned from credit by exam tests. The secretary has classified this proposal as general legislation, which will presented to the Faculty Council at its meeting on October 27, 2008.



Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council and General Faculty



Distributed through the Faculty Council web site (www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/) on October 20, 2008. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.

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PROPOSAL FROM THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY COMMITTEE REGARDING MINIMUM SCORE REQUIREMENTS EARNED FROM CREDIT BY EXAM TESTS

The Educational Policy Committee offers the following motion (all of the following document) concerning the minimum score requirements earned from credit by exam tests.

Add the following statement to the Undergraduate Catalog, and to make the necessary changes in the registration process for implementation.

“Academic programs may accept minimum scores earned on credit by exam tests to satisfy designated course prerequisites.”

RATIONALE
Justification for this recommendation is that current University policy requires that for a course to be used to satisfy a prerequisite for another course, the prerequisite must appear on the student’s official record or transcript. However there is a two-step process for students to have recognition of credit by exam or advanced placement test scores appear on their transcript. The first step is to earn the credit by taking the exam and earning the appropriate score. Several types of exams contribute to “credit by exam”, including selected tests from the Advanced Placement program, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) program, UT Austin tests, and other tests. The second step is to officially request that the qualifying score be recognized on the official record as credit for an equivalent course. In some cases, the score may qualify a student to receive credit for more than one University course, and so the student may choose which course will appear on the transcript.

There are several situations in which a student may wish to either delay or completely defer seeking for these scores to be recognized on the transcript, yet may still wish to enroll in a course for which this score could serve to fulfill a prerequisite. One such situation is when a student has not yet chosen a major and so is not sure which qualifying course will best meet the degree requirements. Another situation is when the course that would fulfill a prerequisite for a required course would not itself fulfill any degree requirement, and so adding this course to the transcript would mean having additional hours beyond the minimum required for the degree. Since the State of Texas offers $1000 to students who graduate with no more than three credit hours above the minimum required for the degree, requiring students to petition for prerequisite courses to appear on their transcripts could carry a financial penalty.

Regardless of these various circumstances, which might lead a student to seek the proposed benefit, the sense of the committee is that the student would have demonstrated the competence required to fulfill the course prerequisite. One way to view this is that the exam would be serving simply as a qualifying exam to allow the student to take a more advanced course, which is generally less controversial than the exam's more common use as a mechanism for receiving actual course credit.

The registrar has confirmed that the automated prerequisite checking system can be modified so that credit by exam scores earned and ready for student petition can be accessed and used to qualify students for registration. Individual academic programs may still set unique, course-specific prerequisites that supersede this standard policy, including (if they wish) requiring actual course credit to fulfill a prerequisite. However the proposed recommendation would establish as the default policy to accept test scores that would qualify for course credit, which would, in turn, satisfy the prerequisite.