PAA CLEP Exam Advances College-Bound Students

September 10, 2015 | Liesl Vistaunet

Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) graduates Jack Blashchishen and Andreea Hutuleac begin college this fall after excelling at the Spanish College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam.

“The CLEP is good planning,” says PAA Spanish teacher Rita Barrett. “If students test out of the first year’s classes, it means they don't have to pay tuition for prerequisites. For $110, the CLEP is an awesome investment.”

But even the most proficient students can struggle with the CLEP test. “For the listening portion, you only get to hear it once,” says Blashchishen who didn’t speak Spanish when he came to PAA as a freshman. “It challenged me, but I ended up getting a 74. That put me above the required score of 63, and I received credit for four semesters of Spanish.” He will begin college taking third-year Spanish courses.

Blashchishen, one of only three Oregon students awarded the Confederation in Oregon for Language Teaching (COFLT) scholarship, plans to volunteer for the Peace Corps and to someday work for the United Nations. “I'm double-majoring in international studies and Romance languages,” he says. “I'll study all about international development, human rights and global economics along with Spanish and French.”

Hutuleac, whose score was equally as impressive, is majoring in premed biology. “I want to do something with my life serving and helping others,” she says. “I think that’s where true satisfaction and contentment comes from.”

Historically, PAA students excel at the CLEP. “Kathryn Conyers earned 12 credits via CLEP,” says Barrett. “Haley Howard, also 12, and Carmella Rosu got 10 semester credits, which is more than one year of classes.” Beyond their achievements in education, they continue to improve their Spanish simply for the joy of it.

Barrett’s desire to inspire a love of language is reflected in the success of her students. “I took a college placement test to see where I'd land in the French program,” says Blashchishen, who has never taken a French course. “My score lets me skip the prerequisites.”

Hutuleac is proficient in three languages and is perusing a fourth. “All the efforts I put in to learning Spanish is simply because I want to know the language,” says Hutuleac, “as opposed to just so I can pass a test.”

This mindset has proven worthy. “I fell in love with language at PAA,” says Blashchishen. “And I never dreamed I would.”