Prior Learning Assessment

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The Adult Learner Services program provides a nationally recognized method of allowing college credit for learning that may have been attained through work, seminars, training programs, military education, and certification programs. Many students and employers find this program extremely attractive because it provides a means to potentially earn college credit from non-traditional sources.

This is a customized program, so individual results will vary. Credit for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) will not count toward University Residency Requirements, and no more than one-half of the total hours needed to graduate can be fulfilled with PLA credit.

The underlying purpose of awarding credit for prior learning is to eliminate duplication of a student’s educational effort while maintaining a high standard of educational quality to ensure the student’s future occupational success. Athens State University’s integrity and accreditation will be maintained as an institution of higher education, through valid and reliable evaluation of prior learning by appropriate University personnel.

Credit Methods for Prior Learning Assessment

Athens State University is a member of the American Council on Education (ACE). As a member, Athens State University recognizes a variety of methods in the determination of non-traditional learning. A student may be awarded credit for prior learning by one or more of the following methods:

  • ACE National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training Guide
  • American Council on Education Guide to Military Training (Joint Services Transcript)
  • Defense Acquisition University (DAU) credit
  • Nationally Recognized Examinations
    • College Level Examination Program Testing (CLEP)
    • DANTES Subject Standardization Tests (DSST)
    • National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NCCRS)
  • Portfolio Assessment
    Credit for prior learning by portfolio assessment is designed to provide college credit to students who have acquired knowledge outside an academic environment. Students wishing to earn credit by portfolio assessment must be prepared to describe, reflect, and synthesize their learning experiences and provide insight into the knowledge they have gained. This is both an opportunity for the student as well as a significant responsibility. Please note:
    • Letter grades are not assigned to prior learning credit earned through a portfolio.
    • Credits earned from a portfolio may be used as general elective credits to assist in fulfilling University requirements.
    • Credits earned from a portfolio cannot satisfy general education courses, pre-professional courses, or professional course requirements unless approved prior to submission of a portfolio. Students should seek advising assistance regarding specific program requirements.
    • Any student who enrolls in the Adult Degree Program or wants to submit a portfolio must complete a 3-credit hour orientation class (ADP 301) during the first semester of enrollment at Athens State University. This class will assist the student in defining their goals, identifying areas of competency, and investigating the portfolio process. The student will have 6 months following the completion of the course to complete and submit a professional portfolio.
    • Credit cannot be awarded through the portfolio process for practicum courses, physical education activity courses, field experiences and internships, student teaching, cooperative education, senior seminars, capstone courses, labs, special topics courses, or courses where there is an existing national exam.
  • Course-Specific Challenge Exams
    Challenge exams may be developed by the Athens State University faculty and department chair to assess a student’s competency in a specific course. The exams must be approved by the College Dean.

Information for Employers

Professional Portfolio

CAEL SealAthens State University is a proud member of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), which recognizes institutions and organizations who support adult learners in their educational journey to career pathways.