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Are you experienced? Translating Experiential Learning into Credit for Non-Traditional Students Amy Sherman The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Are you experienced? Translating Experiential Learning into Credit for Non-Traditional Students Amy Sherman The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Are you experienced? Translating Experiential Learning into Credit for Non-Traditional Students Amy Sherman The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) 1

2 Why Does College Completion Matter to Our Nation? U.S. position as a world leader in education has slipped in recent years, from 4 th place in 1997 to 11 th place in 2009 By 2018, 62% of jobs will require some college or above But only 40% of adults 25-34 have attained a post secondary degree 2 Source: Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018, Georgetown University, Center for Education and the Workforce, June 2010

3 What about existing skills? Most of the people you are serving are not fresh out of high school. What have they been doing? Working in various jobs Serving in the military Serving their communities Pursuing personal interests 3

4 Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Can Help 4

5 PLA Basics 5

6 What is PLA? The evaluation for college credit of the knowledge and skills one gains from: employment military service non-credit instruction/training travel hobbies civic activities volunteer service 6

7 PLA Methods Standardized exams Advanced Placement (AP) College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Excelsior College Exams DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) Challenge exams Individual student portfolios Evaluation of non-college training corporate or military training Evaluation of non-credit instruction 7

8 History Two important educational developments: Regional accrediting agencies emerge; define what is college level learning Rise of standardized testing; now learning can be evaluated independently of the source of learning Result: acceptance of the idea that creditable college-level learning is both measurable and independent of its source. 8

9 History CAEL founded in 1974 as a project of the Educational Testing Service Question: is it possible to conduct valid and reliable assessment of learning gained from work or life experience? Answer: Yes, with appropriate procedures and processes in place to evaluate that learning. 9

10 Standards to Ensure Quality The 10 CAEL Standards for Assessing Learning ensure quality 10

11 5 ACADEMIC STANDARDS 1. Credit or its equivalent should be awarded only for learning, and not for experience. 2. Assessment should be based on standards and criteria for the level of acceptable learning that are both agreed upon and made public. 3. Assessment should be treated as an integral part of learning, not separate from it, and should be based on an understanding of learning processes. 4. The determination of credit awards and competence levels must be made by appropriate subject matter and academic or credentialing experts. 5. Credit or other credentialing should be appropriate to the context in which it is awarded and accepted.

12 5 ADMINISTRATIVE STANDARDS 6. If awards are for credit, transcript entries should clearly describe what learning is being recognized and should be monitored to avoid giving credit twice for the same learning. 7. Policies, procedures, and criteria applied to assessment, including provision for appeal, should be fully disclosed and prominently available to all parties involved in the assessment process. 8. Fees charged for assessment should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded. 9.All personnel involved in the assessment of learning should pursue and receive adequate training and continuing professional development for the functions they perform. 10. Assessment programs should be regularly monitored, reviewed, evaluated, and revised as needed to reflect changes in the needs being served, the purposes being met, and the state of the assessment arts.

13 Training for faculty assessors Understand principles of experiential learning, including its value for adults. Understand and apply the steps and procedures in the PLA process. Understand the links between experience and learning, and be able to determine college-level learning gained from experience. Discriminate between college-level and pre-college-level learning. Understand the history and development of PLA. Know and be able to apply principles of best PLA practice Apply administrative principles of PLA within the context of your institution. Able to express to various audiences the value of PLA. 13

14 Value of PLA 14

15 CAELs PLA Study What we wanted to know: Do adults who earn PLA credit have better graduation rates, compared with those who do not earn PLA credit? Do they have better persistence? Do they earn their degrees in a shorter period of time?

16 CAELs PLA Study 48-institution study of PLA and academic outcomes (funded by Lumina Foundation for Education) 62,475 total adult students in our sample (adult = age 25 or older) 16

17 The 48 Institutions 41 four-year, 7 two-year 22 public, 24 private not-for-profit, 2 private for-profit Range in size from under 1,000 students to more than 20,000 From all regions in the US, with heaviest representation from Mid East, Great Lakes, Plains and Southeast 46 US institutions, 2 Canadian

18 What PLA Options Counted? standardized exams (e.g., CLEP, DSST, AP, Excelsior) externally-evaluated training program (e.g., ACE) institutional challenge exams portfolio assessment And other

19 The Data Student record data on 2001-2002 adult cohort Information on PLA policies and practices, reasons for offering PLA, etc. IPEDS institutional data

20 The PLA Programs 66% of the institutions had offered some form of PLA since before 1980 64% offered five or more PLA methods 94% offered standardized exams, 88% offered portfolio assessment

21 Top Reasons for Offering PLA Provide a time-saving avenue for degree completion, 92% Fulfill mission to serve adult learners, 92% Encourage greater student persistence towards a degree, 90% Recognize value of learning that happens outside of the classroom, 88% Provide cost-effective avenue for degree completion, 85% Remove barriers to education, 83% Offer way for students to avoid redundant class work, 73%

22 The Students 62,475 total adult students in our sample (adult = age 25 or older) 15,594 (25%) had earned PLA credit between 2001 and 2008

23 PLA Students by Size of Institution 23

24 PLA Students by Control of Institution 24

25 PLA and Student Demographics Higher percent of male (29%) than female students (22%) earn PLA credit Higher percent of white, non-Hispanic (33%) and Asian (40%), compared to black, non-Hispanic (24%) or Hispanic (15%) Slightly higher rate of PLA earning among those aged 35-54, compared to younger and older groups 25

26 PLA and Student Outcomes Graduation rates Persistence Time to degree 26

27 Graduation Rates 27

28 Graduation Rates of PLA Students 28

29 Graduation Rate by Institution Level 29

30 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. 30

31 31

32 Students Taking Remedial Courses 32

33 Analysis by Grade Point Averages 33

34 Persistence 34

35 Ways We Measured Persistence Credit accumulation towards an associates or bachelors degree Number of years in which the student earned credit between 2001-2002 and 2007-2008 35

36 Credit Accumulation, No Degree Earners 36

37 Total Credits Earned at Institution a.k.a.: how institutions benefit from PLA students Average for All PLA Students 53.7 credits Average for All Non-PLA Students 43.8 credits 37

38 Time to Degree 38

39 Time to Bachelors Degree 39

40 Time to Associates Degree 40

41 Institutional Policies on PLA PLA credit can be used to obtain advanced standing at the institution PLA credit can be used to waive course prerequisites PLA credit can be used to meet general education requirements PLA credit can be used to meet program/major requirements 41

42 Do Institutional Policies Matter? The greater the flexibility the student has for using the PLA credit, the better the academic outcomes. 42

43 Additional findings: student demographics Gender Age Race/ethnicity Financial aid recipients

44 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 students academic ability or grade point average regardless of the individual students age, gender, or race/ethnicity regardless of whether or not the individual student receives financial aid 44

45 Summary - Persistence PLA students have higher rates of persistence compared with non-PLA students. In terms of credit accumulation/progress towards the degree In terms of number of years of credit- earning 45

46 Summary – Time to Degree PLA students earned bachelors degrees in a shorter periods of time compared with non-PLA students – a difference of between 2.5 and 10.1 months, depending upon the number of PLA credits earned. PLA earners with associates degrees saved an average of between 1.5 and 4.5 months of time in earning their degrees, compared to non-PLA students earning associates degrees. 46

47 Want to read the report? Our published report on this study was released in March 2010. Executive summary: Full report:

48 The Need to Scale Up PLA Offerings 48

49 Community College Survey Spring 2010 CAEL study of community colleges shows a need for PLA. 88 respondents from two-year institutions 49

50 Community College PLA Survey Sample Question: Do you have younger adults who come to your institution with some technical training that they have learned on the job? 50

51 Community College PLA Survey Sample question: 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? 51

52 Community College PLA Survey Sample question: Do you think your institution will see increased demand for PLA options in the future? 52

53 Adults Care About PLA A College Board study of 1500 adults rated credit for prior learning policy as more important than small class size or availability of financial aid. A KY telephone survey indicated that the opportunity to earn credit for prior learning is one of 3 motivators for adults with some college but no degree. 53

54 Need to scale up PLA Only 66% of higher education institutions offer portfolio method; most serve very few students annually Research indicates a need at institutions for more PLA, but a lack of capacity and resources Specialized training for assessors, advisors, administrators Time intensive program Salaries, space, training, marketing

55 55

56 Scaling Up the Use of PLA Through A new national online PLA Center Developed with a planning grant from Lumina Foundation for Education ACE and College Board partnering on project CAEL will draw upon faculty experts nationwide for teaching portfolio development course and reviewing adult students portfolios 56

57 The Pilot Phase With funding from Lumina Foundation for Education, the Kresge Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation,CAEL has begun the two-year pilot phase of 57

58 Uses on-line platform Helps students earn all forms of PLA credit Offers basic on-line advising Offers an on-line PLA course Assigns portfolios to faculty evaluators who have been trained by CAEL CAELs 58

59 CAELs Credit recommendations from the Centers faculty experts will be sent on ACE transcript to colleges, as ACE already does today with military and corporate training 59

60 Whom Will It Serve? Individuals already enrolled in community colleges or four-year institutions Provide support for postsecondary institutions that have no existing PLA programs Augment existing PLA programs at some postsecondary institutions 60

61 Whom Will It Serve? Unaffiliated individuals not yet in college or those who have started but never finished college Active duty military and veterans Workers in transition or lower-income workers 61

62 Whom Will It Serve? Employers and industry groups To pursue the further credentialing of their employees To document learning that has already been completed and identify skills gaps 62

63 Why Colleges Are Interested Lack of a PLA program at their institution Existing program cannot keep up with high volume of portfolio submissions Lack of personnel to adequately staff their PLA program Lack of credentialed faculty to review submitted portfolios in certain fields Interest in streamlining their process through increased capacity and speed Reliance on CAELs Center as an interim resource while the institution prepares to launch or expand its own PLA program on campus 63

64 Fact Sheet Website launched Dec. 3, 2010 Website Phase 2, launched January 24, 2011 First online class began January 24, 2011 Over 450 faculty want to work for Recommendations for credit accepted by network of accredited colleges. 64

65 Sample Pilot Institutions Over 80 colleges and universities serving as pilot institutions 65

66 LINKS TO WORKFORCE SYSTEM & POLICY CHANGE Support from Joyce Foundation to work with two states on: establishing new regulatory language specifying that Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) could be used to cover the cost of portfolio courses, identifying WIA-funded training programs that could be evaluated for academic credit. Target States: Indiana and Washington 66

67 Examples of Policy Change Wed Like to See PLA in State WIA Plan State or local policy letter from State WIB/Governor to agencies/contractors/providers verifying ITA usage for PLA General Policy letter in support of PLA PLA Assessment classified as a core and intensive service Create and launch a PLA pilot for public training course, focused on a particular credential/subject 67

68 Questions for Discussion What are your priorities as you advance PLA in the state? What are the opportunities and challenges? How can CAEL help? 68

69 Contact us If we can help, please email me 69

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