Credit by Examination
Credit by exam (CBE) is one method for students to demonstrate proficiency in grade level or course content. The Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.023, allows students to either accelerate a grade level or earn credit for a course based on credit by examination.
Credit-by-examination assessments (CBEs) must be approved by each local board of trustees for their district. CBEs are administered by the district or test provider in accordance with local district policy. Scores are reported directly to the school district and/or student. TEA does not have access to student results for CBE.
Many questions about CBE come up regularly, and responses to common questions can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ).
School districts are required to provide one window to test during each quarter unless the exam selected by the district has a different administration schedule. The testing window must be designed to meet the needs of all students. TEA does not schedule CBE exams. Please contact the district for scheduling questions.
- January 1 - March 31
- April 1 - June 30
- July 1 - September 30
- October 1 - December 31
A school district must provide opportunities for a student who is homeless or in substitute care who transfers to the district after the start of the school year to be administered a CBE at any point during the school year.
A school district is prohibited from charging a fee for credit by examination.
A student may not attempt the credit-by-exam assessment for a course or grade-level subject more than two times.
Each district must develop procedures for kindergarten acceleration to be approved by the local board of trustees. Contact the school to determine local policy.
A student in grades 1-5 must be accelerated one grade level if the student scores 80% or higher on each of the language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies CBE assessments for the grade level the student wishes to accelerate through. The student must be recommended for acceleration by a district representative, and the student’s parent or guardian must give written permission. Acceleration in a single subject area is allowed in accordance with local policy. Please contact the district to determine their policy.
A student in grades 6-8 may be accelerated one grade level in accordance with local policy. Acceleration in a single subject area is required if the student scores 80% or higher on the CBE assessment. Please contact the district to determine their policy.
A student in grades 9 -12 may be awarded credit based on performance on a CBE taken with no prior instruction. Students who have had no prior instruction must be awarded credit for the applicable course if the student receives —
- a score of 80% or higher on the CBE assessment,
- a three or higher on an AP exam,
- a scaled score of 50 or higher on a CLEP exam.
If a student is awarded credit, the school district must enter the examination score on the student's transcript, and the student is not required to take an applicable end-of-course assessment for the course.
For a school district to administer a CBE for a course that has a state end-of-course (EOC) assessment instrument, the developer of the assessment must certify, prior to the first administration, that the examination meets all exam criteria.
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 course sequence, the student must satisfactorily complete the course to earn credit.
A student may not attempt to earn credit by exam for the same high school subject more than two times.
Students who have had prior instruction in a course may be awarded credit for the applicable course, subject to local policy, if the student scores 70% or higher on a CBE approved by the local board of trustees. The local school district has the authority to define what constitutes prior instruction. Because grades are governed by local policy, the district determines how previous grades for a course are handled when a student earns credit for a course through remediation by CBE. Please contact the district with any questions regarding remediation.
For each high school course, a local board is required to approve at least four CBEs, to the extent available. Exams that must be accepted as CBE assessments are those developed by —
- The College Board Advanced Placement (AP), and
- The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP),
Additional CBE assessments may be purchased from or developed by—
- Texas Tech University ISD,
- The University of Texas at Austin High School,
- Another provider approved by the local board of trustees, or
- The local school district.
The Texas Administrative Code (TAC), §74.24(c)(2), requires that each school district or provider of an assessment to 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 evaluated to ensure test scores can be interpreted as indicators of what the test is intended to measure; and
- has been evaluated to ensure consistency of test results across testing conditions.
A school district or the provider of the assessment must make public an annual report for each examination that includes:
- the test development process;
- a statement certifying that the examination meets the criteria above;
- the number of students who took each examination;
- the number of students who scored 70% or above;
- the number of students who scored 80% or above; and
- the average score.