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Prior Learning Assessment and the Community College Higher Education Conference on Enrollment Management February 23, 2011 Judith Wertheim.

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Presentation on theme: "Prior Learning Assessment and the Community College Higher Education Conference on Enrollment Management February 23, 2011 Judith Wertheim."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prior Learning Assessment and the Community College Higher Education Conference on Enrollment Management February 23, 2011 Judith Wertheim

2 CAEL The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning  CAEL works to remove the barriers to adults so that they can pursue higher education and realize their potential. 2

3 Some Barriers to Adult Participation Affordability Accessibility Aspiration 3

4 Removing the Barriers Prior Learning Assessment Can Help 4

5 How Can PLA Help? What Is PLA? The evaluation for college credit of the knowledge and skills one gains from life experiences (or from non-college instructional programs) including: employment travel hobbies civic activities volunteer service military service 5

6 How Can PLA Help? PLA Methods Standardized exams  Advanced Placement (AP)  College Level Examination Program (CLEP)  Excelsior College Exams  DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) Evaluation of non-college training (e.g. corporate or military) Challenge exams Individual student portfolios 6

7 How Can PLA Help? CAEL Study of PLA and Student Outcomes 48-institution study of PLA and academic outcomes, funded by Lumina Foundation for Education (Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success) 62,475 total adult students in our sample (adult = age 25 or older) Increased Graduation Rates, Greater Persistence, and Shorter Time to Degree 7

8 How Can PLA Help? In our knowledge-based economy, education has become a critical link to economic security. A postsecondary degree or credential is now an essential qualification for jobs that offer good wages. 8

9 PLA Students by Level of Institution 9

10 Graduation Rate by Institution Level 10

11 What we now can say Evidence shows that PLA students, on average, have higher rates of degree earning than do non-PLA students. This is true at institutions of all sizes, levels and controls. 11

12 Students Taking Remedial Courses 12

13 Summary – Graduation Rates  PLA students in this study had better graduation rates than non-PLA students: regardless of institutional size, level (two-year or four- year) or control (private for-profit, non-profit, or public) regardless of the individual student’s academic ability or grade point average regardless of the individual student’s age, gender, or race/ethnicity regardless of whether or not the individual student receives financial aid 13

14 Credit Accumulation, No Degree Earners 14

15 Persistence – Number of Credit-Earning Years 15

16 Time to Associate’s Degree 16

17 Summary – Time to Degree  PLA earners with associate’s degrees saved an average of between 1.5 and 4.5 months of time in earning their degrees, compared to non- PLA students earning associate’s degrees. 17

18 Spring, 2010  Additional study of PLA in community colleges  88 respondents to survey; additional telephone interviews with 15  Respondents represent 20 different states, Oklahoma among them 18

19 Summary of Findings Community colleges are largely familiar with PLA   64% offer portfolio assessments   90% accept CLEP exam credit   93% accept AP exam credit   85% offer challenge exams   82% use the ACE Guides to award credit to students with military transcripts 19

20 Summary of Findings BUT PLA not used by students in community colleges:  Inconsistent acceptance by departments  Not advocated by faculty and advisors  Not broad enough to meet students’ needs 20

21 Summary of Findings  Sample question: Do you have younger adults who come to your institution with some technical training that they have learned on the job? I don’t know7% No2% Yes, probably 39% Yes, definitely 52% 21

22 Summary of Findings  Sample questions: If you could evaluate this prior learning from technical training and tie it to courses, could there be greater use of PLA at your institution? I don’t know 9% No, probably not 7% My institution already does this38% Yes, definitely14% Yes, possibly32% 22

23 Additional Strategies for Success Helping Adult Learners Succeed: Tools for Two-Year Colleges Ruth Frey 23

24 Additional Strategies for Success  New and expanded course delivery options such as Saturday course offerings, Sunday course offerings, a “Friday night” degree program, an accelerated degree program  Online courses; hybrid courses  Redesign of a website for adult learners, which is also used as an internal resource for faculty and staff 24

25 Additional Strategies for Success  Redesigned orientation sessions, making them more effective and efficient  Development of a non-credit program targeting adults to assist them in transitioning to college  Help potential students to connect with people at the college and prepare them for placement exams 25

26 Additional Strategies for Success  Creation of a student mentor or advisor program to help new students negotiate college processes and procedures  Hiring an “advising and retention” coordinator at a college’s Learning Development Center  Mandatory advising training for faculty (full-time and part-time) and the development of online tools to help keep them up- to-date on advising issues 26

27 Additional Strategies for Success  Formation of an “Adult Learner” committee to work on issues related to this important demographic  Articulation agreements with local four-year colleges in order to position the community college as the “preferred provider” for employees of corporations in the area 27

28 Additional Strategies for Success  Well-informed advisors to assist students in choosing courses that ft their schedules and count toward their academic program. (Adult students have little patience for courses that do not help them progress toward their degree.)  Advising to provide information necessary to move through a program of study and provide the foundation for transfer to a four-year institution. 28

29 The ALFI Principles  Outreach  Life/Career Planning  Financing  Assessment of Learning Outcomes  Teaching/Learning Process  Student Support Systems  Technology  Strategic Partnerships  Transitions 29

30 Questions? Judy Wertheim 312.499.2659 30

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