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PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT Considerations of Policies and Practices Presented by: Nan Travers, PhDJoseph Villa.

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Presentation on theme: "PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT Considerations of Policies and Practices Presented by: Nan Travers, PhDJoseph Villa."— Presentation transcript:

1 PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT Considerations of Policies and Practices Presented by: Nan Travers, PhDJoseph Villa

2 WHAT IS IT? Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

3 PLA has many different names… Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) Recognition & Validation of Non-formal & Informal Learning (RVNIL)

4 Definition PLA is the process by which verifiable learning acquired outside of traditional learning environments is assessed for college-level credit. Life Experiences Professional Training Prior Learning Assessment Personal Learning

5 PLA has been around for over 60 years! College-Level Learning Formal Learning Non- Formal Learning Informal Learning

6 PLA Provides Students Opportunities Earn college credit for learning outside of the classroom. Complete degrees sooner at a lower cost.

7 PLA Processes: Student & Institutional Recognize learning Validate learning Credential learning PLA is not just one method or tool ! Reflect on learning Self-Assess learning Articulate learning Institutional Process Student Process

8 Many options for PLA Traditional Transfer Credit Assessment based on criteria developed by other accredited intuitions Pre- Evaluated Learning Assessment based on expected learning prior to the learners engagement– usually evaluated by an outside entity (e.g., ACE, NCCRS). Portfolio Assessment Assessment based on the individual learner’s knowledge

9 Pre-Evaluated Learning: Professional Learning Evaluations American Council on Education (ACE)—evaluated college and graduate level learning acquired through formal learning experiences in organizational settings and through military occupations and training. National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) – evaluated college level learning acquired through formal learning experiences in organizational settings. Regionally Accredited Institutions – Some institutions evaluate professional programs with faculty teams Empire State CollegeThomas Edison State College of NJ ExcelsiorCharter Oak College of CT Vermont State CollegesGranite State College of NH

10 Pre-Evaluated Learning: Examinations Standardized: College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams— Developed by the College Board, with ACE credit recommendation Advanced Placement (AP) Exams—Developed by the College Board and evaluated by ACE for college level credit recommendation DSST Credit by Exam Program—Administered through Prometric, college level exams, with ACE credit recommendation. UExcel Excelsior College Examination Program—a credit-by- exam, computer based program offered through Excelsior College Thomas Edison College Examination Program (TECEP) - a credit- by-exam, computer based program offered through Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey New York University Proficiency Testing in Foreign Languages – proctored college-level exams in more than 50 languages Non-Standardized Challenge Exams—Local tests developed by a college to verify learning achievement

11 Evidence- Based Portfolio Workshop or course Learning essay Supporting documentation Portfolio Assessment of Prior Learning Evaluation Process

12 Where do we see portfolio assessment already? Institutional and program accreditation Academic program reviews Faculty tenure process


14 PLA Program Practices PLA Policies State Regional Accreditation Institution Program Structures Barriers Enablers Best Practices Assessment Practices Credit application Assessment Processes Faculty Development Program Review

15 Institutional Outcomes Single Institutional Studies  Retention, Persistence, Graduation Rates,  GPA  Career Opportunities, Salary Increases CAEL study (2010) Examined student data from 48 institutions, across US and Canada Significant increases based on PLA participation PLA Students had higher graduations rates, Persisted longer and Took more credits at institution than non-PLA counter parts Research on PLA

16 Research on PLA Participation in PLA increases students’: Reflection Problem-solving and tacit knowledge Self-regulation/self- awareness/self-direction Study Skills Understanding of the role of faculty/mentors Student Outcomes

17 SUNY TAACCCT GRANT SURVEY ON PLA POLICIES Understanding the nature of PLA programs across TAACCCT partner institutions

18 Survey on PLA Practices Purpose of Survey Inventory of PLA policies, procedures and practices across partner institutions that are already in place Gather information to assist in the development of training materials, resources and workshops related to PLA TAACCCT Empire State College Grant deliverables: Provide leadership to conduct research on PLA programs across partner institutions With PLA Advisory Board: Benchmark current PLA base & best practices Create recommendations for consistent policies and corresponding processes to identify and award credit for work-based experiences of TAA- eligible workers and veterans Create recommendations to align PLA transferability across SUNY System Conduct PLA training, as needed

19 Timeline 10/21/13 Introduction to survey Survey will be sent out to partner institutions 11/4/13 Survey is due from partner institutions 12/2/13 Follow-up up webinar (11am – 12 noon) to share preliminary survey results. Name representatives to PLA Advisory Board 12/13-2/14 PLA Advisory Board meetings 3/14 PLA Base and Best Practices Recommendation report due to SUNY Dissemination of recommendations and next steps

20 POLICIES, PROCEDURES & PRACTICES What is the survey asking?

21 Philosophy Practice Every practice has an underlying philosophy Understanding Philosophy Align Policies to Philosophy Align Practices to Policy

22 Key Areas to Consider 1. Philosophy, Mission, Policies 2. Institutional Support 3. Program Practices What is accepted for credits and how are they applied? What strategies are in place to ensure equality and integrity? 4. Recruitment and Training of PLA evaluators 5. Program Evaluation Five Critical Factors in PLA Programs (Hoffman, Travers, Evans & Treadwell, 2009; Travers, 2013)

23 I. Institutional Philosophy and Mission Philosophy statements Does your institution’s philosophy and/or mission statement support PLA? Policies that support PLA practices Does your institution have specific policy on PLA to guide your practice?

24 II. Institutional Support  Financial Support What types of financial supports are in place for students to cover PLA costs?  Administrative Support What types of messages do the administration share with the college regarding PLA?  Faculty Buy-In How would you describe the overall support that faculty express towards PLA?

25 III. Program Practices How do students learn about PLA opportunities? In what ways can students demonstrate prior learning at your institution? Which Academic disciplines are currently involved in prior learning assessment? Which of the following requirements can be met using PLA credits at your institution? Who makes the final approval of the PLA credits and how they apply to the degree? How do you transcribe PLA credits?

26 IV. Individualized PLA Portfolio Assessment Do you offer an individualized prior learning portfolio assessment option to your students? If not, are you planning to? How do students learn how to document their learning and develop a portfolio for assessment? Which of the following components of a PLA portfolio are submitted to be evaluated? What are standard institutional practices for the types of evidence of the student’s learning that an evaluator uses during the assessment process? What strategies do your evaluators use to measure college- level learning in assessing the individualized PLA portfolios?

27 Evaluator’s Credit Recommendation What must an evaluator submit to the college after evaluating the student's learning? Who makes the final approval of the PLA credits and how they apply to the student’s degree?

28 V. Evaluators for Portfolio Assessment How many evaluators conduct the PLA portfolio assessment? What percent of the following are included in your pool of evaluators? (Internal versus external evaluators) How does your program recruit evaluators? What qualifications do you look for in hiring evaluators?

29 Evaluator Training How do you train your evaluators? What are your most common topics for evaluator training? How do you evaluate your evaluators?

30 VI. Program Improvement How do you maintain consistency and academic quality across your PLA options? How do you evaluate your PLA program? What types of information and resources do you think will be the most helpful for your institution to learn more about different types of prior learning assessment? What areas of your prior learning assessment program do you want to improve or expand? What information on assessment strategies would be helpful to you and your faculty for evaluating college­level learning?

31 For Additional Information: Office of Collegewide Academic Review SUNY Empire State College 1 Union Ave Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Joseph Villa, Senior Academic Review Specialist (518) 587-2100 x2548 Nan Travers, Ph.D., Director (518) 587-2100 x2728

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