Twist in the road to an A.S. in Math from Raritan Valley Community College

You recall that last week I mentioned that I CLEPped a 72 on a computer exam. As this was the last piece I needed for an associate’s degree that I have been working on at the Raritan Valley Community College back home, I felt that I was almost there.

I was, except for Footnote 6. Raritan Valley only accepts the CLEP for Computer Information Systems credit (CISY) upon further completion of a Java test.

Must demonstrate knowledge of JAVA programming by CIS Dept. after minimum cut score is met.

OK, I figured. The CISY 103 course syllabus has a modest Java component, so this should be no great challenge. (I realize the link is from 2008, but other material I have indicates that Java is only a fraction of what CISY 103 covers.)

Well, it turns out, that I took a 60-question multiple choice test on Tuesday, proctored by my good friends at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) down in Lancaster.

The test was hell.

I thought it was going to be about the basics of Java. What it looked like was an intermediate programming test. I found it hard to believe–still find it hard to believe–that CISY 103 covers that much Java in 15 weeks, plus all the topics that were on the CLEP exam.

Here I try to do this thing to boost my spirits and make me feel like I am accomplishing something, and instead I get an academic kick in the teeth. I did really lousy on the test (not even half right).

I have the sneaky suspicion that Raritan Valley doesn’t want anyone CLEPping out of CISY 103. And so, you get this hurdle. I BET that if I enroll in CISY 103 for Spring 2012, what I’m going to find at the end is that the Java in it was nothing like the Java for the test out. And then I’m going to be pissed.

Community colleges love to do this sort of thing. They take your expectations and screw with them. Fortunately, you’re not wasting tens of thousands like in private colleges and law schools. But you are wasting the same amount of time. And you feel silly, because it’s like you’re submitting to the abuse, and it just reminds you that these schools get 1/3 of their support from federal and 1/3 from state. So even though they don’t like to be thought of as state workers, that’s really what they are.

Updates along the way. I have too much Java to study at the moment.

[Update 12/22/11: Screenshot of Raritan Valley’s descriptions for CISY 103 and CISY 105. Notice what line Java gets mentioned in each of them. Is the same amount of Java learned in each course?

[Update 1/18/12: Actually, I have heard from the Department Head for the CISY, and, in fact, the CISY 103 covers the material in the test out exam. (Wow!) It looks like I have much more studying to do.]

[Update 1/18/12 #2: I realize that a lot of institutions nowadays have someone who monitors the Twitter for key terms. But what they don’t do is bother to go back and read a 2,800 entry blog, starting in 2003. I have had a share of very nice things to say about Raritan Valley. Here are some from the summer of 2005.]