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Saving time, money: Education center holds testing marathon

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) -- Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron Education Office organized a “DSST/CLEP-athon” at the Al Udeid Education Center here Feb. 11-12, 2017.

During the two-day event, service members had the opportunity to take as many DANTES Subject Standardized Test exams and College Level Examination Program tests as possible. Each qualifying score earned them college credit on introductory-level college subject examinations toward their Community College of the Air Force associate degree or applicable colleges.

Members were rotated into the testing room continuously throughout the day and given optimal time to take their preferred CLEP or DSST.

By the end of the two days, a total of 128 members tested, with 33 CLEP, 41 DSST and four speech tests being passed. The DSST/CLEP-athon was considered a success with a 58 percent pass rate, 15 percent higher than the average pass rate.

“It takes a lot of dedication to study and come out to take the tests,” said Michael Lackie, the senior program coordinator with the University of Maryland University College. “Seeing the amount of examinees that came out to take tests proves how important education is to the military.”

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Degruyter, the NCO in charge of the 379th EFSS Education Office, explained that each CLEP and DSST exam taken saves the Air Force at least $750 and saves each student valuable time. The last DSST/CLEP-athon held here saw 101 exams passed, saving the Air Force over $75,000.

“The benefit of this testing marathon is it enables extended testing sessions, so individuals are able to maximize their opportunity to earn college credits toward their degree program and significantly reduce their degree completion time,” said Tech. Sgt. Simone Francis, a 379th EFSS education services technician.

Tech. Sgt. Rosa Bates, a 379th EFSS education services technician , said that service members had a unique chance to continue their education needs during this DSST/CLEP-athon and can benefit from the opportunity of continued education without interruption from the deployment.

“We look forward to holding testing marathons like this in the future and hope for an even bigger turn out,” Bates said. “Education will always be a priority to make our Airmen better, because it will make our Air Force better.”