Credit by Examination

The Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.023, allows students in primary grades to accelerate a grade level and students in secondary academic courses to earn credit for a course on the basis credit by examination. Credit-by-examination assessments (CBEs) must be approved by each local board of trustees.


Proposed State Board of Education (SBOE) Rules 

At the April 2018 State Board of Education (SBOE), the SBOE gave preliminary approval to proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter C, Other Provisions, §74.24, Credit by Examination. The proposed amendment to TAC §74.5 is available at this link . Public comments may be submitted by accessing the link included with the proposed rules.

The amendment proposes modifying credit by examination test development and validation requirements to ensure continued availability of examinations to school districts. In addition to other criteria, the proposal would require that each examination for credit for a course with a State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course (EOC) exam must have a comparable item difficulty, as defined by TEA, as the corresponding STAAR EOC. The draft psychometric measurement characteristics under consideration by TEA are included at this link.

The SBOE is expected to take final action on this proposal at its June 2018 meeting.


With the approval of the local board of trustees, a school district may develop its own CBEs or purchase CBEs. For each high school course, each local board is required to approve at least four CBEs to include, to the extent available, College Board Advanced Placement (AP) and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams. CBEs may also be developed by Texas Tech University, The University of Texas at Austin, the local school district, or another provider if the exams meet certain criteria.

The Texas Administrative Code (TAC), §74.24(c)(2), requires that each school district (including Texas Tech University and The University of Texas at Austin) must certify that each CBE 

  • covers all assessable TEKS for the course;
  • has not been published or made publicly available;
  • will only be administered in a secure environment under standardized conditions by a school district or institution of higher education;
  • has been externally validated;
  • is equivalent to the state end-of-course (EOC) assessment instrument in terms of content coverage, item difficulty, and technical quality;
  • yields comparable results for all subgroups; and
  • is validated against the applicable EOC assessment and the test development process and the results of validation efforts have been made public.

As of May 2014, CBEs for courses that have a state EOC assessment must meet the criteria above in order for a student to earn credit and be exempt from the state EOC exam. The district must ensure that any CBE meets these criteria.

CBEs for all courses that do not have an EOC assessment will be required to meet the criteria above beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.


School districts are required to provide at least one window each quarter for students to test, unless the exam selected by the district has a different administration schedule. Students may take a specific exam only once during each testing window. A school district is prohibited from charging a fee for credit by examination.

Quarterly Testing Windows

January 1 - March 31
April 1 - June 30
July 1 - September 30
October 1 - December 31

Credit by Examination for Acceleration, Kindergarten – Grade 5

A student in grades 1-5 must be accelerated one grade if the student scores 80% or higher on each CBE including language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies for the grade level the student wishes to advance past. Additionally, in order to qualify for acceleration, the student must be recommended, and the student’s parent or guardian must give written permission.

Districts must develop procedures to be approved by the local board of trustees for kindergarten acceleration.

Credit by Examination, Grades 6 – 12

A student in grades 6-12 may be awarded credit based on performance on a CBE taken either with no prior instruction or with prior instruction. Students may not attempt to earn credit by exam for the same high school subject more than two times.

No Prior Instruction

Students who have had no prior instruction must be awarded credit for the applicable course if the student receives one of the following scores on a CBE approved by the local board of trustees:

  • Three or higher on an AP exam
  • A scaled score of 50 or higher on a CLEP exam
  • 80% or higher on any other locally approved exam

If a student fails to earn credit by exam for a high school course before the beginning of the school year when the student would normally be expected to enroll in that course according to the district’s schedule, the student must satisfactorily complete the course in order to earn credit.

Prior Instruction

Students who have had prior instruction in a course may be awarded credit for the applicable course if the student scores 70% or higher on a CBE approved by the local board of trustees. Prior instruction is determined by the local school district.


TEC, §28.023:

TAC, §74.24, Credit by Examination:  

Texas Tech University ISD:  

The University of Texas at Austin High School: