Proficiency Credit for Undergraduate Students

Section III. Item 9.

The university believes that students should be afforded the opportunity in selected areas of study to earn credit on the basis of examinations, performance, and/or portfolio. The awarding of such credit reduces educational costs both to students and the public and encourages self-actualization in the learning process.

Assessment and Evaluation

Responsibility for designating courses, [other than those 100- and 200-level courses offered to meet general education distributive area requirements,] for which proficiency credit may be granted, and for making proficiency decisions regarding non-course specific credit to be awarded in a subject area rests with the academic department through which credit is offered. Decisions regarding interdisciplinary and/or interdepartmental courses are to be made by the respective coordinating committees or departments.

Proficiency decisions regarding areas of study such as those associated with CLEP general examinations are to be made by the appropriate college or colleges and approved by the Undergraduate Coordinating Council. Proficiency decisions regarding credit to be awarded in an academic subject area but not for one or more specific courses are to be made by the academic department in which the credit is offered.

Departments or academic coordinating committees under whose auspices proficiency credit may be granted accept responsibility for identifying and/or preparing suitable assessment instruments for this purpose. In those instances in which the results of paper and pencil tests are not appropriate or provide insufficient information on which to base proficiency decisions, oral examinations, evaluation of interview responses, creative works, and/or performance may serve as the basis for granting credit. In addition, the respective departments or other academic units will bear responsibility for specifying the minimum criteria for the awarding of credit, the number of hours of credit to be awarded, and the manner in which the credit is to be recorded on permanent records if the credit is for other than specified course offerings.

Submission of Scores from External Examinations

Scores from nationally recognized external examinations (Advanced Placement Program, CLEP, etc.) may be submitted at any time by NIU students or persons admitted to NIU. Departments and coordinating committees reserve the right to limit the number of test scores (multiple test scores) and the frequency with which test scores may be submitted and considered for proficiency credit for courses and/or areas of study for which they are responsible.

Reporting Proficiency Credit to the Office of Registration and Records

All proficiency credit earned is to be reported to the Office of Registration and Records on the Report of Credit by Proficiency Exam Form. These forms may emanate from the office of academic department chairs and the Office of Testing Services only. Proficiency credit is to be reported as credit hours earned with no attendant letter grade. No record of proficiency examinations attempted and failed should be sent to the Office of Registration and Records.

Credit granted on the basis of locally sponsored tests is to be reported by either chairs of academic departments, or by the Office of Testing Services under authorization from appropriate department chairs.

Credit granted on the basis of external examinations (Advance Placement, CLEP, etc.) is to be reported by the Office of Testing Services as authorized by the appropriate credit offering units. As such, external test scores submitted to Northern for credit consideration are to be directed to the Office of Testing Services.

Fees

No fees will be assessed for the administration and processing of results of proficiency tests developed on this campus.

All testing and score transmittal fees for external tests (APP, CLEP, etc.) are to be paid by the examinee. No additional fee will be assessed for determining from scores submitted whether or not credit is to be awarded, or for recording on examinees' permanent records credit awarded on the basis of these scores.

Costs

Departments and coordinating committees having responsibility for courses and/or areas of study for which proficiency credit may be gained are responsible for providing appropriate instruments for this purpose. Costs associated with test administrations conducted in and by academic departments will be borne by the respective departments. Costs associated with administrations of proficiency tests conducted by the Office of Testing Services will be borne by the Office of Testing Services.

Recording and Reporting Credits Earned by Proficiency Examinations

It is the responsibility of the Office of Registration and Records to record on students' official records all authorized proficiency credit earned using the symbol "CR".

After entering proficiency credit on a student's record, a copy of the completed Report of Credit by Proficiency Exam is to be sent to the credit recipient by the Office of Registration and Records.

The Office of Registration and Records will be responsible for preparing and disseminating to departmental and college offices and the Vice Provost semester and yearly reports of proficiency credit granted. The makeup and format of these reports are to be determined by the Office of Registration and Records in consultation with potential academic and administrative users of the data involved.

Proficiency Program Coordination

Responsibility for coordination and interpretation of the proficiency program, including both the internal and external examination aspects of it, resides with the Office of Testing Services. General publicity attendant to the program will emanate from that office.

 

Approved by Undergraduate Coordinating Committee, November 11, 1991
Editorial Modification, February 6, 2004