Additional Sources Of Academic Credit
- Responsible Office: Office of the Provost
- Current Approved Version: 12/11/2020
- Policy Type: Board of Visitors
Policy Type: Board of Visitors
Responsible Office: Transfer Center, Student Success, Office of the Provost
Initial Policy Approved: 11/10/2011
Current Revision Approved: 12/11/2020
Policy Statement and Purpose
In support of increased student access and lower student costs, Virginia Commonwealth University awards course credit and advanced standing for additional sources of academic credit with qualifying scores or grades. Additional sources of academic credit include Advanced Placement (AP), Cambridge Advanced (A/AS), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB), military service credit recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Test Program (DSST). The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for approving, reviewing and awarding additional sources of academic credit, while ensuring university compliance with the Code of Virginia §23.1-906 and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Virginia Public Higher Education Policy on Course Credit for AP, Cambridge, CLEP, and IB (March, 2016).
The VCU Board of Visitors reviews and approves any new additional source of academic credit before course credit can be awarded from that source. The Board of Visitors does not review and approve specific examinations or course equivalences within additional sources, as this is the responsibility of the VCU faculty.
VCU faculty determines the standards for awarding course credit from Board of Visitors-approved additional sources. Faculty is responsible for ensuring the credit awarded from additional sources is comparable to a specific VCU course(s), aligned with the VCU course learning outcomes and consistent with the university’s mission.
For quality assurance, the university conducts two types of review of the VCU Transfer Tables: new examinations and periodic comprehensive review.
The VCU Transfer Center coordinates with faculty in academic departments, the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UUCC), the Bulletin Editor, the Office of the Provost and the Board of Visitors, as needed, in order to publish VCU Transfer Tables in the Undergraduate Bulletin containing the faculty- determined course equivalencies.
Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.
Table of Contents
|Who Should Know This Policy|
|Policy Specifics and Procedures|
All university members responsible for reviewing additional sources of academic credit and/or awarding credit to students are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.
Advanced Placement (AP) is a program created by the College Board which offers college level curricula and examinations to high school students.
The Cambridge Advanced is either a one-year (AS-level) or two-year (A-level) educational program for high school students that culminate with final examinations.
College Level Examination Program
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a group of standardized tests created and administered by College Board. The tests assess college-level knowledge in many subject areas.
DANTES Subject Standardized Test Program
The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) agency is a Department of Defense agency that provides opportunities for service members and veterans to earn credit by means of DANTES Subject Standardized Test Program (DSST) examinations. The DSST program is an extensive series of examinations in college subject areas that are comparable to the final or end-of-course examinations in undergraduate courses
The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program is a two-year educational program for high school students that culminates with final examinations. The examinations consist of two levels: the standard level (SL) and higher level (HL).
Military Service Credit
College credit awarded for military experiences and training as recorded on the Joint Service Transcript based on faculty review of recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE).
VCU Transfer Tables
The VCU Transfer Tables indicate the name of the examination, required minimum score or grade on the examination, VCU course equivalent and number of credits awarded.
The Office of the Provost officially interprets this policy. The Office of the Provost is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Office of the Provost, senior vice provost for academic affairs.
VCU requires two types of review to ensure the quality and relevance of academic credit awarded from additional sources.
1. Review of New Examinations
Before accepting scores for any examination(s) not currently listed on the VCU Transfer Tables, the university reviews subject curricula and learning outcome(s).
Step One: The VCU Transfer Center initiates a departmental faculty review of the subject curricula and learning outcome(s). The departmental faculty reviewers determine the standards for awarding academic credit for additional sources of academic credit in accordance the guidelines in SCHEV’s Virginia Public Higher Education Policy on Course Credit for AP, Cambridge, CLEP, and IB. The departmental faculty reviewers review the subject curricula and learning outcomes, subject examinations, grade distributions and marking schemes provided by the examination agencies. After reviewing such materials and drawing comparisons with a specific VCU course(s), departmental faculty reviewers decide what credit, if any, is to be awarded based upon comparability. Departmental faculty reviewers verify such decisions through feedback provided from student performance in more advanced related courses at VCU.
Step Two: The VCU Transfer Center submits the results of the departmental faculty review, with proposed changes to the transfer tables in the Undergraduate Bulletin, to the UUCC for approval. The UUCC acts as a check and balance to ensure alignment with the university mission, learning outcomes and curricular comparability.
Step Three: Following UUCC approval, the VCU Transfer Center coordinates with the Bulletin Editor to update the credit transfer tables in the VCU Undergraduate Bulletin. The VCU Transfer Center also reports any changes to the transfer tables to the State Council of High Education for Virginia.
2. Periodic Comprehensive Review
The university conducts a comprehensive review of the VCU transfer tables every three years. The VCU Transfer Center works with the Office of the Provost to initiate the review process with each academic discipline represented on the transfer tables. The VCU Transfer Center collects and submits the results of the comprehensive departmental review, complete with updated transfer tables, to the UUCC for review and approval. Once approved by the UUCC, the VCU Transfer Center updates the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia of any changes to the transfer tables.
Role of VCU Board of Visitors
The UUCC and VCU Transfer Center reports UUCC approval of new sources of academic credit to the VCU Board of Visitors for final review and approval.
There are no forms associated with this policy and procedures.
- The Undergraduate Bulletin section on “Additional sources of academic credit,” including transfer tables, is available at: http://bulletin.vcu.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate- study/admission-university/additional-sources-of-credit/.
- Code of Virginia §23.1-904 (2017). Course credit; veterans; active duty military students.
- Code of Virginia §23.1-906 (2017). Course credit; Advanced Placement, Cambridge Advanced, College Level Examination Program, and International Baccalaureate examinations.
- State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Guidelines on Award of Academic Credit for Military Education, Training and Experience by Virginia Public Higher Education Institutions (approved by Council July 16, 2013): http://www.schev.edu/docs/default-source/students-section/military-education/guidelines-on-award-of-credit-for-military-training-education-and-experience.pdf
- State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Virginia public higher education policy on course credit for AP, Cambridge, CLEP, and IB (approved by Council March 21, 2016): https://www.schev.edu/docs/default-source/institution-section/GuidancePolicy/policies-and-guidelines/virginiapolicyoncoursecredit.pdf
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
November 10, 2016 Proposal to Approve VCU Policies on Other Sources of Academic Credit
1. What is an example of an additional source of academic credit?
Currently, additional sources of academic credit include Advanced Placement, Cambridge Advanced, College Level Examination Program, International Baccalaureate, military service credit recommended by the American Council on Education and the DANTES Subject Standardized Test Program.
2. What is an example of a “new examination” that might be reviewed and approved by faculty for inclusion on the VCU transfer tables?
An example would be a specific IB subject examination (e.g., IB Language A: Literature and Performance). The Board of Visitors has already approved IB examinations as an additional source of academic credit, but the faculty may not have reviewed and approved scores for all available IB subjects. Award of credit for new subject scores requires approval by the UUCC, but does not require BOV approval.
3. What is the process for posting credits on the VCU transcript?
Upon receipt of an official record or transcript, the VCU Transfer Center will evaluate the exam scores or grades according to the transfer tables to determine whether the student is eligible to receive credit. The Transfer Center will then post the equivalent course and the number of credits onto the student’s VCU transcript.
4. Are there any limits on the number of credits earned through this policy that students can apply to their degree at VCU?
Students may not apply more than 54 CLEP credits to their degree at VCU (https://clc.vcu.edu/campus-testing-center/clep/). VCU does not place limits on credits earned from other sources outlined in this policy.