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Rene’ Massey, Associate Dean Columbia College Academic Credit for Prior Learning.

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1 Rene’ Massey, Associate Dean Columbia College Academic Credit for Prior Learning

2 Adult Learners and Prior Learning “More and more adults are looking for ways to increase their marketability and expand their skills in an effort to retain their current jobs, find employment, and compete for higher-paying positions. Many adults are looking to their local colleges and universities to deliver quality education and training in a timely manner. But, ‘for too many adults who want to earn postsecondary credentials, the traditional structure and organization of higher education pose significant barriers to access and, particularly, to persistence and success.’ “” 1 1 Jobs for the Future. Adult Learners in Higher Education: Barriers to Success and Strategies to Improve Results (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Policy Development and Research, March 2007).

3 Lumina Foundation 55% of American believe obtaining a college degree is the only way to succeed. Compared to 2000 – only 30% held that belief. Lumina Foundation for Education is the nation’s largest private foundation. It has as its mission to expand access and success in education beyond High school Particularly among adults 1 st generation students Low-income students Students of color

4 Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Advocates for Prior Learning believe: there is a significant link between persistence to degree completion and PLA, which is underutilized PLA assists students to earn credit faster less expensively. Evaluation of knowledge gained by “non-academic” learning Military training Hobbies Personal interest and study Travel Job knowledge/learning

5 What’s in a Name? Non-Traditional Credit Life Experience Credit Prior Learning Assessment Credit for Prior Learning Experiential Learning

6 Types of Credit for Lifelong Learning Testing AP exams As stated from the college board web site: “The involvement of college faculty at all levels of exam development and scoring ensures that the AP Exams truly reflect college-level achievement.” CLEP, DSST, Excelsior College/university determines its own credit-granting and placement policy for CLEP examinations. There are credit-granting scores and credit hours recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE). Institutional Test Out or Challenge Exam Students “challenge” the content of the course Testing at a specific grade level (“C” or better, perhaps) These can be either actual final exams for current courses or tests prepared for test-out.

7 Types of Credit for Lifelong Learning Evaluated for Credit ACE/National Guide Credit Military Training Basic Training MOS Certificates Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Real Estate or Broker’s License CPA Microsoft Certification Institutional Review of Corporate or Career Training Corporate in-house training evaluated/equated to college credit Police or Corrections Academies Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio Review Course enrollment with portfolio review

8 Credit for Prior Learning Often there are: Limits on number of credit hours that an institution will award When credits will be transcripted Set number of hours completed before put on transcript Only accepted after completion of English Composition I & II Residency issues At CC these credits do not meet residency credits Every institution handles it differently

9 Couple of Examples Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Requires all system colleges and universities to provide students with opportunities to demonstrate prior learning and earn UG credit for that learning. Vermont State College Administers PLA for its five public colleges through a centralized office. This office oversees portfolio assessment and standardized tests Awards credits that are transferable to any school in the state system.

10 Ways to evaluate for credit Course which results in creation of portfolio This is a more structured approach Interview Department Chair interviews student to determine course content knowledge Portfolio submission Can be very involved Advising student on the process is key Determining which courses lend themselves to methodology requires faculty input Assessment of learning can be done with “untrained” faculty

11 Challenge for Students with PLA Prior Learning credits are not universally available at all institutions Credits are not always accepted May be accepted in a limited way Often is not accepted in transfer to other institutions

12 CAEL The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), founded in 1974, is a national, non-profit organization whose mission is to expand learning opportunities for adults. CAEL works to remove policy and organizational barriers to learning opportunities, identifies and disseminates effective practices, and delivers value-added services. CAEL conducted a survey in 2006 with responses from 272 college and universities. Questions about the type of credit awarded for prior learning, how the students learned, what credit was available by request, fees.

13 2006 CAEL Survey The survey responses show that most institutions accept PLA methods such as CLEP Exams (87%) and AP Exams (84%). The least used methods were Excelsior Exams (28%) and Local Training (38%). As compared to data from surveys done in 1996 and 1991 there is evidence that acceptance of Experiential Learning Assessments is becoming slightly more common 66% in % in % in 1991 Challenge Exams may be becoming less common 56% in % in previous years

14 CAEL survey results

15 CAEL Study Findings Ways Prior Learning Credit is used: To meet elective requirements (94%) To meet general education requirements (88%) To meet program/major requirements (79%) To meet advanced standing (69%) To waive prerequisites (67%)

16 2010 CAEL Study 2010 CAEL research study focusing on PLA and adult student outcomes. Funded by Lumina Foundation for Education who is working to ensure that 60 percent of Americans are college educated by 2025 Examined records of 62,475 students at 48 institutions in US and a few in Canada. Adults students (25 yrs or above) Matriculated in Followed academic progress for 7 years.

17 CAEL Study Findings Prior Learning Assessed students had better academic outcomes compared with non-PLA students. Credit for prior learning in and of itself is positive influence on the self-esteem and self-confidence. It validates the student’s existing skills and knowledge. Successful and highly motivated students seek various avenues to earn credit – therefore, these students may already hold the traits of students who are moving forward in degree completion.

18 CAEL Study Findings PLA students had better graduation rates regardless of: institutional size or level or control student’s academic ability or GPA student’s age, gender, race/ethnicity financial aid recipient PLA students have higher degree-earning rates 56% earned a post secondary degree within seven years, while only 21% of non-PLA students did so. 43% bachelors compared to 15% for non-PLA 13% associates compared to 6% non-PLA

19 Military students Military students did not have higher graduation rates than non-PLA students with military status – exception to the findings Not surprising – as there are no “non-PLA students with military status”. This particular population of students earns these credits with no extra effort….they are no more motivated than any other student based strictly on military credit. Race.pdf Race.pdf

20 CAEL Online Portal – “Learning Counts” A joint pilot project of CAEL, the American Council on Education, and the College Board Created an online portal where adult students can have "prior learning" assessed via portfolio. LearningCounts.org is a national clearing house to promote credit by portfolio. About 100 colleges have agreed to send students its way to boost the number who earn transfer credit.

21 CAEL Online Portal – “Learning Counts” Goal is: “….to help solve a growing national problem by increasing the number of postsecondary credentials and degrees awarded in this country. …. Increase access to PLA opportunities on a national scale while modeling exemplary practice in portfolio-based PLA.” (Learningcounts.org) Using independent faculty evaluators to facilitate the acceptance of that work by colleges. Faculty award credit which is added to an ACE transcript and submitted for review to the college a student chooses.

22 CAEL Online Portal – “Learning Counts” Participating adults take an online portfolio development course ($500) Tuition covers portfolio development and required textbook 6-week online course Teaches student the process and how to document learning Fees assessed based on number of credits requested for review 1-6 UG credits - $ UG credits - $ UG credits - $750 ACE would transcript this credit (CAEL 100) Same transcript service it already does with military and corporate training according to CAEL’s CEO Pam Tate

23 Columbia College, as an example CC calls the broader category non-traditional (NT) credit (maximum of 60 hours accepted) This NT credit is made up of: Military credit, CLEP, DSST, Excelsior, etc. ACE credit Institutional credit Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) - Create a portfolio that exhibits the connection between the MLOs and outside learning. Credit for police academies, corporate training, etc. We no longer offer the challenge exam (test-out) option as we have found that exams like CLEP are filling that need for our students.

24 Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Faculty assess learning acquired outside college or university settings Employment Community Volunteer The focus is on the learning that takes place in these experiences – not the experiences themselves. Faculty make a determination on whether to recommend college-level credits.

25 Portfolio Preparation Each course has it’s own portfolio (or section of portfolio, if appropriate) Cover Page One page summary of learning that is proposed for credit Chronological Record (Resume) Lists all jobs held, including volunteer. Note duties, skills and expertise used in performing job tasks. Life Experiences List community/religious activities, club/organization memberships, training programs or non-credit courses, hobbies/recreation, cultural pursuits, independent research

26 Portfolio Preparation Goal Statement – one page in length Discussion of how educational goals relate to professional life and personal goals. Narrative (key component) Student discusses what learning they have that equates to course content. Documentation Letters of verification Employers, Supervisors, voluntary agency, etc. Job descriptions, job evaluations and military evaluations Sample work Education and award certificates/licenses

27 Portfolio Preparation Subjects and Course Description Review of course descriptions to determine what course(s) appear to be in line with learning they have acquired. Review the course syllabi for the course(s) to determine what the major learning outcomes (MLOs) are of the course. Determine if the MLOs are covered, in large part, by the outside learning. Faculty with content expertise reviews the portfolio and determines what, if any, academic credit may be awarded for the outside learning.

28 Portfolio Preparation Submit two forms Memorandum of Understanding Outlines expectations and understanding of process Official request for a review Fee payment Fee for portfolio review; no additional fee for credit awarded This removes the idea of “paying for credit” - student pays for review of learning experiences

29 Rene’ Massey – (573) Any Questions – Comments?


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