by Bruce Micheals
Dwight Henley, an Indiana University graduate and member of the Lakeland college program, says AP testing is an excellent alternative to CLEP testing, “Our college group is following Ojibway’s in transitioning from offering CLEP to offering AP. There really isn’t that much of a difference between the two as far as we are concerned: We’re dealing with the same company for a similar price and exam selection.”
AP Tests are normally taken by high school students who are getting a jump-start on their college studies. Students typically study for a semester (16 weeks) or two prior to taking an AP exam. Passing scores are accepted by most American colleges and universities for full college credit; which means, passing an AP exam is equivalent to completing a college course. For incarcerated students struggling to find tuition, AP testing is a bargain at just $87 per exam.
According to the Adams State College (ASC) Office of Admissions Advanced Placement Policy (2010) students receive the following credits for passing scores in the following exams.
Computer Science A
Computer Science AB
English Language & Composition
English Literature & Composition
Govt and Politics: United States
Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
Physics C: Mechanics
Studio Art: 2-D Design
Studio Art: 3-D Design
Studio Art: Drawing
United States History
Though several AP exams offer the same 3-6 credits CLEP exams offer, some AP exams offer significantly more credits such as up to 14 credits for proficiency in Spanish. Therefore, despite CLEP only being available by computer, prison college programs can not only survive, they may even flourish by switching to AP. So is there life after CLEP for prison college programs? Incarcerated students seem to be realizing that when CLEP and AP are compared, as Henley said earlier, “there really isn’t that much of a difference between the two.”
Lee, T.J. & CLEP tutors at Ojibway Correctional Facility. (2011). Back To College for Prisoners: How to Begin a College Level Examination Program for Prisoners. 3. Available from LeeTG@michigan.gov
Frazier, B. (2011, March/April). The Prison Library: An Oasis of Learning,
a Beacon of Hone. Reentry Advocate. 12.
Bruce Micheals is a Sociology major, a juvenile lifer, and a published author. Bruce’s book College in Prison: Information and Resources for Incarcerated Students (ISBN: 978-1-4269-6453-4) is available at www.barnesandnoble.com for $12 plus shipping and handling.