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CLEP Scoring System: Passing Scores & Raw vs. Scaled Score

Instructor: Stacey Bumpus
As you prepare for a CLEP exam, it's a good idea to determine the score required to earn desired college credits. Dive into the basics of the CLEP scoring system to learn about the raw score, scaled score and what constitutes a passing score.

How is the CLEP Scored?

If you're in the process of studying for a CLEP exam, you're probably eager to learn all about CLEP scoring. Scores for specific exams are determined by computing the raw score and scaled score.

The raw score is calculated by adding up the number of questions answered correctly on an exam (each correct answer is worth one point). After the raw score has been computed, it is converted through a statistical process called equating (equating adjusts scores for slight differences in the difficulty of test forms and ensures standards for test scores are consistent over time).

The scaled score is the result of the raw score conversion process. It ranges from 20 to 80 and is the score presented on the test taker's score report.

Scoring Essay Exams

While CLEP exams featuring multiple-choice questions are typically calculated via computer, some exams that include essays use a different process for computing scores.

Essays written for the CLEP College Composition exam are reviewed through the English Testing Service's Online Scoring Network (ONS) by college English professors. The score for each essay is scaled from 0 to 6 by two different reviewers, then combined and weighted. This makes up half of the test takers' score. The essay score is then combined with the multiple-choice score to create a final scaled score.

The CLEP American Literature, English Literature, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature and College Composition Modular exams may include two essays alongside multiple-choice questions if institutions choose this option. These essays are typically scored by individual institutions.

CLEP Test Passing Score

The final score CLEP uses to determine whether a test taker has passed an exam and will earn college credits is called a cut score. This score, determined by CLEP's test development committee and standard-setting panel, equals the number of correctly answered questions common for a C student.

Based on these criteria, the cut score equals a scaled score of 50. This score is the lowest CLEP recommends as a passing score when granting course credit to test takers. However, it's good to note that individual institutions are afforded the option to set their own passing scores.

How to Receive Scores

After taking the CLEP exam, your score for a multiple-choice exam is provided onscreen immediately following completion (a printed copy of the score report is given to test takers before leaving the test center). Scores for essays are mailed to test takers up to three weeks following the test date.

How to Send Score Reports to Institutions

Test takers interested in sending CLEP scores to a certifying agency, employer or college can select the institution to which they want those scores sent during registration or on the day of the test.

What Your CLEP Score Means

By earning a passing score on one of the 33 exams offered by CLEP, you will receive college-level credit that is accepted at 2,900 colleges and universities. Visit the CLEP website to find schools that grant college credits for passing CLEP exams.

CLEP exams typically correlate with one-semester courses, but there are some that correspond with one- and two-year courses. Earning college credits through CLEP can speed up your process of earning a degree or achieving other career-related goals.

Earning a Passing CLEP Score

Study.com offers 31 study courses that you can utilize to study for various CLEP exams. Some of the CLEP exam courses offered include American Literature, College Composition, College Mathematics, Introductory Business Law, Introductory Sociology, Principles of Management, Principles of Microeconomics and much more!

Feel free to visit our comprehensive list of CLEP exam courses to find one that meets your needs. These courses offer exclusive access to expert instructors, entertaining lessons, multiple-choice quizzes and practice exams that can help you pass your chosen examination.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

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