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Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

An Overview of PLA pla icon

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) encompasses all the options we offer students to earn academic credit for learning done outside of the classroom. This includes: Standardized testing (AP, CLEP, DSST), Proficiency Testing, ACE evaluations (military and industry), Articulated Credit, & Portfolio Assessment.

General detailed overview for Prior Learning Assessment
PLA Option Credit comes from Cost Choice Hierarchy Questions for Faculty Tips for Successful PLA options
Articulated Credit Certifications
Training Certificates
Free! Best PLA choice for simplicity and cost Are there any industry credential or training aligning with your class? Tied with an Industry exam/assessment Standardized- consistent for all participants
Proficiency Testing Earning C or higher on institutionally developed exams $65-$110 Cost effective option for students without industry credentials but knowledge in the field Is there a proficiency test created for this course?
Has the test been evaluated utilizing our Proficiency Test Best Practices rubric?
If not, could we develop one for this course?
Questions address and are tied to course outcomes
Questions are presented in different modalities (MC, Essay, T/F, Demo, etc.) as appropriate
Delivery appropriate for the content of the course (all remote-capable if possible)
Equitable correlation between # and type of questions vs time allowed for completion
Portfolio Assessment Submission of completed portfolio via the Portfolio Development shell in eLearn $45 Best choice for upper level, capstone, internship courses or if there is no other PLA option available** Could students demonstrate their mastery of this course in the form a portfolio?
Beyond the course objectives identified in the master syllabus, what other information would you want students to know and include in the portfolio?
Students should be given all parameters/expectations for a portfolio (page count, writing styles) while developing the portfolio


Frequently Asked Questions

Will PLAs count towards the department's course completion numbers?

PLA credits are not used in performance-based funding calculations, so they are not "counted" in the same way as a traditional course completion.

+   How is PLA credit counted towards residency requirements?

PLA credit will not count toward institutional residency hours.

+   Is there a maximum number of hours a student can earn?

Students can earn any number of credit hours via PLA options; however, a maximum of 30 hours can be applied to degree requirements and institutional residency requirements that apply for certificates.

Will Faculty be paid for the administration and evaluation of the exam?

Yes, proficiency exams are on an institutionally developed sliding scale based on time needed for evaluation- $15/per 30-minute assessment time, and Portfolio Assessment is a flat rate of $45 per portfolio evaluated.



Photo of Arian Adducchio

Arian Adducchio


Coordinator of Prior Learning Assessment & Individualized Programs




More PLA Information

Forms and Documents