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Spreadsheet Competency Examination















All School of Business Students are required to demonstrate a facility in using the Excel2007 spreadsheet application.

All students in the School of Business must meet the Spreadsheet Competency Requirement. This may be accomplished by taking CSIS-010 Microcomputer Applications (3 credit course) or CSIS-011 Problem Solving with Spreadsheets (1 credit course). These courses are offered by the Computer Science Department at Siena College and a transfer student might be able to transfer credit for these courses (contact the School of Business). It is also possible for a student to meet the Spreadsheet Competency Requirement by taking the CSIS-SSX Spreadsheet Competency Exam. This exam is offered to all Business students (and transfer students) at a variety of times during the Fall and Spring semesters. All Business students should seek to meet this requirement during their first year as a School of Business student at Siena College.

OK, once again, how can a student meet the Spreadsheet Competency Requirement?

To meet this requirement, students can do 1 of 2 things:

1.   Pass the CSIS-SSX Spreadsheet Competency Exam

Take this exam if you have used the Excel 2007 spreadsheet program and want to know if your background is good enough to "skip" a course that teaches Excel.  If you get a grade of lower than 60% on the exam, you must take CSIS010 or CSIS011 in your first year (Fall or Spring semester). Even if you earn a grade higher than 60% on the Excel Competency Exam, you may still choose to take CSIS010 or CSIS011. NOTE: You will not receive course-credit for passing the exam - you will receive course-credit if you take either course.

2.   Take CSIS010 or CSIS011 (these courses are described further down on this page) in the fall or spring semester of your first year.

If you do not feel confident using the Excel2007 spreadsheet program, then register for either CSIS010 (a three-credit Introduction to Computer Applications course) or CSIS-011 (a one-credit Problem Solving with Spreadsheets course). Both of these courses have lecture sessions and lab sessions, in which you use Excel). Credits earned for CSIS010 or CSIS011 count as liberal arts/science elective credit for business students. These credits may also be used as part of the Information System Minor.

3.   Earn transfer credit for an appropriate course taken at another institution.

This course must be taken before the student enrolls at Siena College; and, the School of Business must first certify that the transfer credit is for a course that is equivalent to CSIS-010 or CSIS-011.

Frequently Asked Questions - please read these carefully and slowly

Why do I have to be competent in the use of Excel?
You are expected to be competent in using the Excel spreadsheet program in order to register for QBUS-200 Business Statistics I and CSIS-114 Management Information Systems (both of these courses are required for all School of Business majors). In addition, you will be expected to be able to use the Excel spreadsheet program in ACCT-200 Financial Accounting and in other courses within the School of Business.

I am a transfer student from outside Siena College, do I have to worry about any of this?
- Yes, if you have not transferred-in course credit for CSIS-114 and/or QBUS-200, you have to meet the pre-requisite Spreadsheet Competency Requirement in order to register for either course.
- Even if you have transfer credit for CSIS-114 and/or QBUS-200, you still need to demonstrate your competency in Excel by passing the CSIS-SSX exam or by taking, at Siena, one of the courses described below (CSIS-010 or CSIS-011).

I am a Siena student who has recently changed my major/School and I am now of student in the School of Business. What do I have to do?
Read the information on this page - you will have to either pass the CSIS-SSX exam or take one of the courses described below.

Is this an on-line exam, using Excel?
Yes, this exam is given on-line, in Excel 2007, on a Windows Vista computer.

What Excel topics are covered on the exam?
The Excel 2007 topics covered in the exam are the topics covered in the CSIS-010 & CSIS-011 courses.
- You will have two hours to take the exam.
- You must earn a grade greater than 60% to pass the exam.
- You may take the exam only one time.

I use Excel on a Macintosh - should I take the exam?
The most recent version of Excel for Mac OS-X has a menu system that does not match the significantly-changed menu system found in Office/Excel 2007. You might be able to pass the Spreadsheet Competency Exam but most likely you will get lost looking for menu items.

When will the Computer Science Competency Exam be offered?
The exam will be offered during Freshman Summer Orientation and at specific times during the Fall & Spring semesters. Students are not required to take this exam; and, students should only only take the exam if they believe they have a chance of passing. The exam is two hours long.

How do I sign-up to take the Spreadsheet Competency Exam?
Pick a date in this calendar and send an email message as indicated.

Those dates for the exams are after I register for courses - what do I do?
During course registration, register for either CSIS-010 or CSIS-011. You will not be able to register for CSIS-114 or QBUS-200 until (and unless ) you pass the CSIS-SSX Spreadsheet Competency Exam.
- If you do not pass the exam, you are all set to take a course .
- If you pass the exam, drop the course you do not need
- If you pass the exam, you may then register for a course that has a Spreadsheet Competency pre-requisite.

How soon will I know my grade?
You will be told your grade as soon as you finish the on-line CSIS-SSX exam.
- If you pass the exam, the School of Business will be informed within 24 hours of the exam.
- If you pass the exam, your Banner/CAPP information regarding passing the exam will not be updated for a few days.
- If you pass the exam, and you want to immediately register for a course that has CSIS-SSX as a pre-requisite, you should ask someone in the School of Business Office to help you register (Siena Hall 301).

Will my grade show up on my transcript or any other permanent record?
- If you pass the exam, the numeric grade you earn on the Spreadsheet (Excel) Competency Exam does not show up on your transcript but a Pass (P) grade is recorded as an indication that you have the pre-requisite background for courses you will be required to take in the future.
- If you do not pass the exam, nothing regarding the exam grade will show up on your transcript.

I am not familiar with Excel 2007; or, I did not pass the exam (60% or higher is passing). What CSIS class should I take?
I order to be able to register for CSIS-114 or QBUS-200, you should register as soon as possible to take one of the following two courses.

  1. Introduction to Computer Applications (CSIS-010 – three credits) - MOST INCOMING STUDENTS TAKE THIS COURSE EVEN IF THEY HAVE A LITTLE BACKGROUND WITH EXCEL2007.
    This course provides a comprehensive introduction to computers and applications. Topics include hardware components; application software including word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, and database management; data communications; issues in information systems such as privacy and security; computer operations; and networking. The student wishing to have a general understanding of how computers are used in organizations should take this course.
    This course will examine how to use spreadsheets as a tool for solving business problems. This course will use Microsoft Excel as the spreadsheet program. Other computer science topics relating to spreadsheets and their use in organizations today will also be covered.


PLEASE NOTE: If you think you might be interested in earning a minor in Computer Science or a minor in Information Systems, you should try to schedule at least one Computer Science course during your Freshman and Sophomore years.


this web page is maintained by Br. Walter Liss, Computer Science, Siena College