College Degrees By Examination: The National College Equivalence Test (NCEE)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by laferney, Nov 9, 2021.

  1. laferney

    laferney Member

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  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    But you don't. The GED doesn't result in a high school diploma. It's even in the name; "E" stands for "Equivalency." But that is in the eye of the beholder, and not every one considers it equivalent--and certainly not equal--to a high school diploma.

    As for the bachelor's degree, I disagree with the author on many points.

    First, it's hard to assess learning at the upper-division level simply by examination, even with essay questions. This is doubly so when the student must complete the examination without first having learned the material covered by it.

    Second, examinations--especially multiple choice exams--are limited in what they can measure.

    Third, in order to get at higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy--not to mention other domains of learning like pyscho-motor skills and affective domain values--one must marry up the measurement(s) to specific curricula. To the extent that one's bachelor's program demands you apply your knowledge or bring together complex concepts, the testing will be hampered.

    Finally (there's more, but why bother?), the examination would have to be incredibly comprehensive, covering not just general education subjects, but a mass of other subjects in the selected major area of study, too.

    The author suggests a 3-hour exam ought to do it, but allows that an extra hour could be tacked on to cover the person's major. IMHO, this would be woefully inadequate and would not have room to really explore a student's readiness in each of the subject areas of his/her college program.

    Of the 120 s.h. required for my first bachelor's, I eventually earned 115 of them by examination. Of the 30 additional hours to earn my second bachelors, I did them all by examination. But it took many more hours of examination than the author suggests, I don't recommend doing it, and I don't think it was a fair assessment--too easy. So, I did it, but I don't think it is a good idea.

    One other thing. The author concludes with this:
    This simply isn't true. The "Big Three" have awarded credits and entire degrees based on testing since the early 1970s. Also, many of these concepts were used in the University Without Walls programs established on many campuses around the country. (Those programs have largely been absorbed into their host universities.) It's been done and it's being done. Just one with one big ol' test.
  3. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    A one hour time allotment for an exam to cover a programs major?! Oh my…
  4. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Speaking in reference to many majors that are deep and involved endeavors, it doesn't sound quite right. However, when that's applied to some single courses it can be a different situation. As others may agree, after you've taken so many college courses and in different majors you come away realizing that many of the courses (and I'm saying this totally depending on the subject) could've been knocked out in one simple exam rather than up to 16 weeks of study. In particular, this can really apply to courses with subjects you're already strongly familiar with. Many years ago now, I had to take an Intro to Computers course. I already had a 2-year Tech Diploma and was working as a programmer. To say it was a massive waste of time that could've been taken care of with one small competency exam is an understatement.

    For something like a General Studies degree I could see this test flying, but for a number of field-specific majors I wouldn't be so confident.

    Having said all of that, there are already a number of avenues for gaining alternative credit to achieve a degree, including test-out options. The question is, are those avenues as well-known, accessible, and acceptable to schools as they could be? I'm not so sure about that.
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  5. laferney

    laferney Member

    A few years ago the college I taught at had a proposal that a student must pass a comprehensive evaluation in their subject matter to graduate. So after you completed your credits as a psychology major you would take an exam to show your mastery of Psychology. If you failed after so many tries you would get a certificate rather than a degree.
    It never happened.
    In some majors (as Nursing) after you pass your courses and get your degree you are required to pass a comprehensive test to become a RN. If you don't pass you can't practice even with your degree.
    In Massachusetts high school students must pass a comprehensive test at the end of their accumulated courses called the MCAS. If they don't pass they'd get a certificate of attendance for high school rather than a diploma.

    And at the end of many Master degree ,CAGS and doctorate degree one must pass or defend a project, dissertation to show some mastery.
    So is a bachelors an accumulation of credits or should you have to show mastery of the subject matter to get the degree. And if a person could pass the test without the courses would he be worthy of a degree? Excelsior once accepted the GRE in tests of subject matter to almost complete the entire major in their program.
    LearningAddict likes this.
  6. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    When it comes to any profession where public safety is at stake, particularly those that require a license to practice, I'm in favor of a final exam to demonstrate mastery regardless of the degree level.
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  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There was a time when the ETS offered some sort of test, similar to their GRE Subject Exams, something with "undergraduate in the title." Well, Regents would award 30 credits for a successful score on these, 15 of which would be considered upper-division. I took the one in business, passed it, and Regents gave me the credits. More importantly, it satisfied the BS in Business degree requirements in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Management, Statistics, Economics, and one other subject I can't remember. All good, I guess, but I had no business being awarded anything that would satisfy an Accounting requirement. I didn't know the first thing about it. At all. But the test didn't make distinctions between these subjects; a passing score gave you credit in all those areas.

    It sure sped up my process towards the degree, which I did in 18 months. But I'm glad it's gone. (For reasons that should be self-evident.)
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Good. In too many situations, it becomes tempting to teach the test instead of the subject.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Yep. I got a BA with a concentration in Sociology that way. The GRE Subject Exam was worth 39 semester hours (15 at the upper division level) and met all concentration requirements. I didn't know anything about Sociology--I hadn't even taken an intro course in it. Nor did I study.

    It's kind of silly to look back on it. Ironic, too, for now I have a doctorate in social science.
  10. skirtlet

    skirtlet Member

    It'll never happen, and rightly so. How would one test for "college?" What major or subjects would it cover? The GED exam covers the basics in math, english, etc. A test for "college" wouldn't be so easy. We've already devalued the high school diploma, making college necessary or desirable for many. A test for "college" would further devalue college, on top of how we've already devalued both high school and college. Some fields need a master's to go into, showing how much we've already devalued college. A high school diploma 50 years ago or more would have landed someone a respectable, decent-paying job that could often afford kids/house-spouse on one income. That's not the case anymore.
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  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    As I stated on the other forum, three hours to cover all of the college-level general education subjects is not enough. A one-hour test for the major is definitely not enough. I think AP, CLEP, DSST, IB, and Cambridge exams are sufficient for testing out of general education courses.
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  12. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    My first class journeyman exam was 2 days, an 8 hour written exam followed by an upwards of 8 hour panel exam.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.

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