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PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT PUBLICATIONS

Chart the Path to Adult Student Success with PLA

More than half of today’s students are adult learners, juggling jobs and families, in addition to college. This brings new challenges for institutions of higher education, forcing them to adjust rapidly to address the needs of their growing adult student base. Download our ebook to learn how prior learning assessment can help your adult student succeed.

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PLA Data Tracking

In this new report, CAEL proposes a model for institutional tracking and reporting of credit earned through prior learning assessment (PLA). The report provides recommendations for specific PLA-related variables that postsecondary institutions should track in their student information systems (SIS), as well as suggestions for internal reports on PLA.

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State Policy Approaches to Support Prior Learning Assessment

This guide is intended to serve as a resource for state leaders who wish to promote PLA policy, whether through new higher education policy or through legislation. It includes background information on PLA and why a state- or systemwide approach can be helpful, information on the kinds of policies that other states and systems are adopting, and case studies of both general approaches to state- or systemwide PLA and approaches designed specifically to benefit veterans.

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PLA is Your Business

As more institutions embrace PLA, two of the questions they frequently have are, "What should my organization be charging for the various PLA services we want to offer?" and "What are the costs to my organization.

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PLA and CBE on the Competency Continuum

There is no single “right way” to do CBE, but there are two different ways to approach it, as defined by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions.

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State System PLA Adoption: Lessons from a Three-System Initiative

In states across the nation, there is an urgency to increase the educational attainment levels of citizens and the workforce. Between 1973 and 2008, the share of jobs in the U.S. economy which required postsecondary education increased from 28% to 59%, and it is projected that by 2018, that proportion will rise to 63% of all jobs.

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Random Access: The Latino Experience with Prior Learning Assessment

Through analysis of more than 32,000 student academic records, as well as interviews with Latino students and PLA administrators, the study examines how Latino students engage with PLA in terms of methods used, number of credits earned, and areas of study for which credits are earned.

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Earn College Credit for What You Already Know, fifth edition 

Janet Colvin: This edition offers the latest, most current information on prior learning assessment (PLA). Earlier editions of this book, specifically written for adult learners considering the prior learning assessment process, have assisted tens of thousands of adult learners. The book is also helpful to evaluators, administrators, faculty, and training managers. Many CAEL member institutions use this book as text for their PLA portfolio development courses.

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Promoting College and Career Success: Portfolio Assessment for Student Veterans

Active service members and veterans are pursuing postsecondary degrees in record numbers today, due in large part to the GI Bill education benefits that can cover much or all of the cost. An important tool for helping service members and veterans succeed in postsecondary education is prior learning assessment, or PLA.

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LearningCounts Portfolio Assessment Means Cost Savings for Students…and Employers

Adults who pursue postsecondary education often bring with them considerable college level learning that they acquired from their work, military, or life experience. Through prior learning assessment (PLA), they may be able to have this learning evaluated for college credit. One form of PLA is individualized assessment, in which students prepare a portfolio of their experiential learning, often with supporting documentation. This portfolio is then evaluated by trained faculty assessors to determine a credit award. PLA can save students a significant amount.

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Assessment’s New Role in Degree Completion: A Registrar’s Primer on Prior Learning Assessment and Competency-Based Education

This 23-page publication provides an introduction to prior learning assessment (PLA) and competency-based education (CBE), and explores what registrars should consider in their roles supporting institutional adoption of these assessment-focused programs and services.

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The Growing Importance of Prior Learning Assessment in the Degree-Completion Toolkit

Central to many of the current developments in higher education is prior learning assessment (PLA). In the past several years, with new and ambitious degree completion goals for adults, the U.S. is witnessing what can only be called a surge of interest in PLA. This article expains the new, expanded future for PLA that may now be possible. It appeared in in the Winter 2013 issue of New Directions in Adult & Continuing Education, published by Wiley Periodicals.

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Achieving Dreams: Results from a Survey of Students Using LearningCounts Portfolios to Earn College Credit

The benefits of LearningCounts are very real for adult learners. Successful portfolios can save students a significant amount of time and money when they can apply these credits towards their postsecondary degrees. CAEL recently reached out to current and former LearningCounts students to learn more about them—what brought them to LearningCounts, their experiences with the program, and the impact of portfolio assessment on the achievement of their education and career goals.

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The Hidden Classroom of the Workplace

Many of us are accustomed to the idea that we learn at school and that a college education is acquired in college classrooms. In reality, however, learning takes place in all aspects of a person’s life — through military experience, raising a family, volunteering, and perhaps most significantly in the workplace.

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Assessing Learning: Standards, Principles & Procedures, second edition

Since CAEL first published Urban Whitaker’s book, Assessing Learning: Standards, Principles, and Procedures, in 1989, the landscape of higher education and adult learning has changed dramatically. While respecting the Whitaker framework and the fundamental principles, authors...

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Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success: Executive Summary

With support from Lumina Foundation for Education, CAEL collected data on 62,475 students at 48 higher education institutions that offer prior learning assessment (PLA). The new report presents our findings on the comparison of PLA students with non-PLA students in terms of earned degrees, persistence, and time to degree. Such a large-scale look at PLA credit earning and academic outcomes has never before been done.

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Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success

With support from Lumina Foundation for Education, CAEL collected data on 62,475 students at 48 higher education institutions that offer prior learning assessment (PLA). The new report presents our findings on the comparison of PLA students with non-PLA students in terms of earned degrees, persistence, and time to degree. Such a large-scale look at PLA credit earning and academic outcomes has never before been done.

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Employer Views on the Value of PLA

This CAEL research brief, produced in partnership with Prometric, presents highlights from conversations with 19 U.S. employers representing a range of industries on the topic of PLA. The conversations address the value of PLA to both workers and corporations, as well as employers’ views on PLA as an allowable expense within their tuition assistance programs.

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Holding Tight or at Arm’s Length: How Higher Educational Regional Accrediting Bodies Address PLA

In this research brief, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) explores the role of regional accrediting organizations in shaping institutional PLA policies and practices.

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The Learning that Maturity Brings: An Analysis of the Value of Prior Learning Assessment for Mature Learners

Just as mature workers bring decades of experience to the workplace, they also bring learning from that experience to their postsecondary pursuits. This learning, if evaluated through prior learning assessment (PLA) methods, can give mature learners a way to earn college credit for what they already know, helping them complete their learning programs in a shorter period of time. This CAEL research brief presents data on the experience of mature learners with PLA credit.

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Moving the Starting Line Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior learning assessment (PLA) methods can help adult students earn college credit for what they already know. PLA can be an important offering by postsecondary degree programs because it can save students time and money.

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Underserved Students Who Earn Credit Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Have Higher Degree Completion Rates and Shorter Time-to-Degree

Earning college credit for prior learning can help adult students in many ways. For example, earning prior learning credit can help students avoid having to take courses in subjects they have already mastered.

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Raising the Profile of Experiential Learning

Prior learning can be as valuable for an adult’s workforce advance and success as a credential, but more effort must be made by higher education and government leaders to more closely integrate the two elements.

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