Wednesday, July 25, 2018

CLEP Exams Offer College Credit for Prior Learning

Steve Clendenen watches on as students register to take CLEP exams at Rio Salado Tempe
In early May, Steve Clendenen made his annual trek to Rio Salado’s Tempe headquarters. This year, Clendenen, a Spanish teacher at Franklin Police and Fire High School in Phoenix, was shepherding a group of 15 students.

The purpose of the “field trip?”
Students registering for CLEP exams at Rio Tempe Testing

Clendenen’s students were at Rio Salado’s testing center to take the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Spanish exam.

CLEP exams measure subject matter proficiency and are geared toward adults returning to school, military service members, home-schooled students and those who want to get a head start on college credits.

Students can earn up to 16 credits for the Spanish CLEP exam.

“Each of his 15 students were successful in earning 16 college credits,” said Rachel Rahn, Testing Coordinator at Rio Salado College. “We are excited these students had the opportunity to earn such a large number of credits from taking one CLEP exam.”

Clendenden attributes the success to his students’ dedication.

“Most students receive the maximum credits due to the preparation and the hard work that we put in throughout the year to prepare for the test,” said Clendenen. 

The teacher must be doing something right, too. Over the last five years, a majority of the 174 students Clendenen has brought to Rio has successfully earned the maximum 16 college credits on the CLEP Spanish exam.

Rachel Rahn
Why Take CLEP Exams?

“CLEP exams allow students to accelerate their college degrees by earning credit for what they already know,” Rahn said. “This allows students to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in tuition costs.”

Students also save time. Most CLEP exams are 90 minutes to 2 hours long. Imagine earning a semester’s worth of credits in a brief 2 hour period.

The learning can be acquired from many areas including independent or prior study, on-the-job training, military training, volunteering, community service and more.

Rio Salado Tempe Testing Office
Coordinator Stevie Campbell
Rio Salado has been recognized nationally as a Top 100 CLEP testing center for the last 10 years.

The college offers 33 CLEP exams in a variety of subject areas including composition and literature, French, German, Spanish, history, social sciences, science, mathematics and business.

CLEP exams are offered at six Rio Salado testing centers: Communiversity at Queen Creek, Luke Air Force Base, RSC Southern, RSC Surprise, RSC Tempe, and RSC Thomas.

Most centers are open until 9 p.m. and offer CLEP on a walk-in basis.

“Many of our testers work full-time, go to school full-time, and are parents,” Rahn said. “The convenience of Rio Salado's locations, flexible hours, and walk-in testing have proven to be beneficial and convenient for our students.”

For more details about CLEP exams visit or call 480-517-8560.

Contributed by Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator.