Department of Chemistry
Advanced Placement Credit
Chemistry Placement Guidelines and Policy
Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Departmental Placement Exams
The Chemistry Department provides a number of routes for advanced placement, with and without academic credit, to accommodate the wide variation in college-prep chemistry courses seen in today’s high school environments.
Many students have access to either AP or IB placement courses and accompanying AP and IB (high level only) tests. The Chemistry Department follows the campus model in which an AP score of 4 or 5 or an IB score of 5 or 6 results in the automatic recognition of lecture credit, in this case for Chemistry 150 (3 hours).
Neither of these placement tests includes a laboratory practical so a number of years ago the department instituted an application procedure through which a student may request additional credit in recognition of laboratory work. The high school teacher is to provide evidence (syllabus, identification of lab text or procedures, laboratory notebooks, safety instruction) of the lab experience that accompanied the AP/IB course. (The Advising Office handles the paperwork for this request; it is provided to all of those students who have submitted test results for advanced placement in chemistry. The evidence is then submitted to the department and the student is interviewed.) [n.b. Not all schools provide a course formally identified as “AP” and many “second year” or “advanced chemistry” courses in the high school also suffice. The key is the student’s performance on the standardized AP or IB test.] In rare instances in which the student was unable to locate the high school science teacher for supporting evidence we have had the student bring in the lab notebook or other supporting evidence for lab experiments. It is possible for a student with an acceptable AP score of 4 or 5 to take the Chemistry 150L lab as a stand alone course and then continue in upper-level chemistry courses in the following semester. There does appear to be a growing trend in which students are able to provide evidence supporting a strong high school lab experience and these are the students who are granted the additional credit (1 hour) for their lab experience. Once students have received credit for CHE150 and CHE150L they may enter CHE220/220L, CHE240/240L, or CHE230.
In order to accommodate those students whose experience does not follow the AP/IB model or whose experience may suggest the advisability of additional placement options beyond Chemistry 150/150L the department makes available a two-part department placement test covering topics covered in both Chemistry 150 and Chemistry 220. Only in those cases in which the student scores 80% will the advanced placement be granted. After review of the test scores, students may be advised to exempt only CHE150/150L (and to enter CHE220/220L, CHE230, or CHE240/240L), or they may be advised to exempt both CHE150/150L and CHE220/220L (and to enter CHE230, CHE240/240L, CHE260, or CHE270). It should be emphasized that exemption of both Chemistry 150/150L and Chemistry 220/220L is a rare event and is an opportunity only for students with exceptional backgrounds in both lecture and lab. While the departmental placement test allows exemption of Chemistry 150/150L and Chemistry 220/220L it does so without granting of academic credit. Also, placement out of Chemistry 150L and 220L must still be based on the presentation of evidence supporting an experience where a student may safely enter upper-level chemistry labs.