Prior Learning Assessment – Athens State University

The ADP 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. It is a customized program so individual results will vary. Credit for PLA will not count toward University residency requirements.

The underlying purpose for awarding credit for prior learning is to eliminate duplication of a student’s educational effort while maintaining a high standard of educational quality to insure the student’s future occupational success. Athens State’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

Students may be awarded credit for prior learning using any of the following methods or a combination of these methods.

  • Credit for Non-Traditional Learning
    Athens State University is a member of the American Council on Education’s CREDIT College and University Network. As a member, Athens State recognizes a variety of methods in the determination of non-traditional learning. These include:
  • ACE National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training Guide
  • American Council on Education (ACE) Guide to Military Training
  • Nationally Recognized Examinations
    • College Level Examination Program Testing (CLEP)
    • DANTES Subject Standardization Tests (DSST)
    • National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI)

    View A list of CLEP & DSST exams and the course equivalencies.

  • Portfolio Assessment
    Credit for prior learning by portfolio assessment is designed to provide those students who have acquired knowledge through legitimate means outside an academic environment, to establish this legitimacy through careful explanation and insight into the knowledge they have gained. This is both an opportunity for the student as well as a significant responsibility. Students wishing to earn credit by portfolio assessment must be prepared to describe, reflect, and synthesize their learning experiences carefully. A student may be awarded up to 32 semester hours of upper level credit based on the portfolio assessment. Credits earned for a portfolio may be used as general elective credits to assist in reaching the 124 minimum credits required for a degree or the upper level credits required for a degree. In most circumstances, credits earned from the portfolio cannot be applied to the General Education requirements or to any of the professional core classes required for specializations.  Any exceptions to this rule must be approved prior to submission of 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 that 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 the portfolio. Letter grades are not assigned to prior learning credit earned through the portfolio. Credit cannot be awarded through the portfolio process for the following: practicum courses, physical education activity courses, field experiences and internships to include student teaching, cooperative education, senior seminars, capstone courses, lab courses that do not include related lecture/theory courses, and special topics courses. Courses where there is an existing exam (either national or Athens State-developed) will not be considered for portfolio assessment.
  • Course-Specific Challenge Exams Developed by Athens State Faculty
    Faculty in each of the 3 Colleges at Athens State may develop course-specific challenge exams designed to assess the student’s competency. These challenge exams will be identified and developed by faculty and a listing will be made available to students.