By Paul Fain
Summary by Carnegie Perspectives
"Free online courses don’t lead to college credit, at least not directly. But students can use free course content from providers like the Saylor Foundation and Education Portal to study for “challenge exams,” which may be the fastest and most inexpensive way to earn credits.The examinations, like those offered by Excelsior College and the College Board’s College Level Examination Program (CLEP), are designed to test whether students grasp the concepts that would be taught in a conventional classroom version of general education courses. In that sense, they combine elements of both competency-based education and prior-learning assessment. Last year, about 18,000 people took Excelsior exams. And 76,000 passed CLEP exams, with 98,000 taking the tests."