Noʻeau Center certified for CLEP tests; students may gain credits by taking exams

Photo of two people taking tests at desktop computers with a test proctor in the background

The Noʻeau Center’s test facility has been modified to College Board standards as part of being certified for CLEP exams.

The Noʻeau Center at UH West Oʻahu has been certified as a College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test site that can administer exams to students hoping to obtain college credit for what they already know.

The center was certified earlier this year after two years of effort to make the modifications and investment necessary to meet CLEP test site standards. On October 1 it began offering the tests, which are designed to determine whether someone has a college-level understanding of the material.  

The test site designation is seen as a positive step for the UH West Oʻahu campus, students, and community members. UH West Oʻahu is the only Oʻahu campus in the University of Hawaiʻi System certified for the testing. Hawaiʻi Community College’s Hale Kea Advancement and Testing Center and Kauaʻi Community College’s Testing Center are certified as test centers on the neighbor islands.

“It’s a good option for students,” said Lokelani Kenolio, director of the Noʻeau Center, which offers peer-tutoring, testing, workshops and other student success services. “It’s another way for them to get their college credits.

CLEP is a program operated by The College Board that offers an opportunity to receive college credit through tests on different subject matter. The 90- to 120-minute exams are administered at test centers, with those scoring high enough earning college credit that can be transferred from The College Board to schools participating in the program.

Besides providing a service for students to earn college credits quickly, the program also fits with UH System efforts to attract students who “stopped out” back to school. The Returning Adult Initiative program seeks to boost enrollment while helping the state meet a goal of having 55 percent of adults earning college degree by the year 2025. UH West Oʻahu’s recently released Strategic Action Plan also calls for the implementation of Prior Learning Assessments to provide nontraditional students college credit that can be used toward degree attainment.

Noʻeau Center hopes to attract attention by promoting the CLEP exam availability, the test center certification, and an initial waiving of certain fees. “It’s not something students know about,” said Kaʻiulani Akamine, the Noʻeau Center testing coordinator.

UH West Oʻahu applied for and won Integrated Student Support Innovations funding to help enroll more adult students who previously attended college. The funding includes money to establish a CLEP testing program, which can be used by students from across the 10-campus system. Akamine was certified to proctor the CLEP exams along with two others. She said a number of changes were made to UH West Oʻahu’s test facilities to earn the certification, including installation of lockers, silent clocks, security system improvements, adjusting distances between computers and hard-wiring of Internet connections.

The Noʻeau Center is now certified to proctor all 33 of CLEP tests, though only 11 of them are accepted for credit currently at UH West Oʻahu (see table). The school had previously accepted the CLEP credits, but with the test center certification its expected the tests will attract more attention from students, adults considering returning to school, military members, veterans, and others.  

CLEP Exam transfer credits accepted by UH West Oʻahu
CLEP Exam UHWO Credit Credits Awarded
Biology BIOL 171/172


Chemistry CHEM 100


College Algebra MATH 103


College Mathematics MATH FS


Financial Accounting ACC 201


History of the U.S. I HIST Elective


History of the U.S. II HIST Elective


Principles of Macroeconomics ECON 131


Principles of Microeconomics ECON 130


Western Civilization I HIST Elective


Western Civilization II HIST Elective


Akamine said the list varies by college or university and that UH West Oʻahu is considering whether credits other exams might be accepted. Registering and taking the tests is less expensive than taking a 3-credit class. There is an $87 administration fee and a $50 test proctoring fee.

Akamine said there is a way to get a voucher for the $87 administrative fee by registering for courses at the website and the $50 proctoring fee will be waived through Aug. 30, 2019 under the returning adults award received by UH West Oʻahu.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff