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Office of the Registrar

Credit by Department Exam

{University Handbook, Section F76}

Students may acquire knowledge, skills and competencies through experiences that are academic in nature but may not necessarily correspond to a setting in which K-State awards traditional credit. Credit by department examination (hereafter credit by exam) is one opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery of material that is equivalent to what would be learned in a specific K-State course. The course credits granted through credit by exam are based on a student’s demonstration that they have mastered the learning outcomes equivalent to those for the specified course. 

Offering students the opportunity to earn credit by exam has several benefits for both students and the University. Students will have a low-cost option for earning credit for skills and knowledge they already possess. They will have the opportunity to quickly move on to more challenging and enriching courses. The University will benefit by freeing up seats in courses that are in demand and by supporting timely progress to degree.

This policy/process does not address transfer credit, UW System placement exams, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), retroactive credits or departmental placement examinations. These mechanisms for awarding credit are covered in, existing Credit for Standardized National Exams {credit for prior learning} policy. University Handbook, Section F75

Eligibility and Limitations

A student must be classified as a student and enrolled at K-State.

Students may not attempt a department examination for credit for any course they are enrolled in or were previously enrolled in at K-State beyond the add deadline.   This process is not a way to avoid an already earned grade or to drop a course a student may be failing. 

Students may not take a credit by examination for a specific course more than once.

Students must take a separate exam (or set of assessments) for each course they are seeking credit for.

The department offering credit by exam is responsible for confirming student status and otherwise determining a student’s eligibility for taking the exam. In general, once a student has been given permission to take the exam, they will be considered eligible to receive credit regardless of circumstances that may indicate otherwise.

Posting Credits

Credit by Examination will be posted as ‘Special Exam’ on the official transcript and will reflect the course for which the student is earning credit.

The Office of the Registrar will post credits earned through credit by exam to the student record within 10 - 14 business days {excluding weekends and holidays} of receiving a completed credit by exam form from a department.

Credits earned will be posted on a student's transcript if the student successfully completes the requirements for departmental examinations. If the attempt for credit by exam is unsuccessful, no record of the attempt will be noted on the student’s transcript. The course credits will be posted to the term that corresponds with the date the examination was completed.

Department Requirements

It is up to each department to determine which courses they offer that they want to make eligible for credit by examination. There is no requirement or expectation for credit by examination, but if a credit by examination will be offered for a course, it should consider the following guidelines. 

Department faculty will determine the standards, methods, and procedures for evaluation. Departments may use any evaluation method or combination of methods including:

  • Written examination
  • Oral examination
  • Performance evaluation (practical exam)
  • Examination of completed work and/or records presented and defended by the student (portfolio review)
  • Other methods consistent with evaluation of student learning in the corresponding regular course

The content, quality and quantity of material covered in the examination for credit must be consistent with what is covered in the specified K-State course for which the exam is intended to provide credit. The method of evaluation must be similar to the standard method used in the equivalent course. (Ex. a dance course that had a performance as the final exam should include some type of performance evaluation, a writing intensive course would not use a multiple choice exam format etc.)

Because some course attributes, like Service Learning, may be affiliated with a course based on the use of particular pedagogies, it would be difficult for a department to measure mastery of course content and evaluate students’ learning gains with respect to those pedagogies. As a result, a department or college may deem those, and other courses as not an appropriate course for awarding credit by examination.

In order to pass the "examination", the student must demonstrate a clear mastery of the course material and student performance must be at a sufficient level that they are well prepared for higher level work in that field of study.