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My Learning Matters—Colleges and Universities Should Not Dismiss Diverse Learning Experiences

Posted by Sean Hudson on May 31, 2019 11:17:00 AM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Adult Learning, Adult Learning Success

As an adult, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve acquired a decent amount of your knowledge and skills from experiences that took place outside the classroom. Whether you learned about software programming from helping your mother access her music on her computer or you’re a pro in Microsoft Excel from your years of designing pivot tables, the way you gained your abilities is derived from your life experiences. Many colleges and universities will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your existing skills through different methods of examination known as prior learning assessment (PLA). For example, you may take a standardized test (e.g., the College-Level Examination Program [CLEP] exam) to demonstrate your mastery in a particular subject, such as history. Or, you may put together a portfolio showcasing your years of work experience as, say, a researcher, to demonstrate that you don’t need to take a college-level statistics course.

So, imagine going back to school and attempting to get PLA credit for knowledge you already have, only to be told, “Sorry, that experience doesn’t count.” That would seem quite unfair, right? Well, that’s what’s happening for some native and heritage speakers of non-English languages.

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Florida group supports expansion of PLA across the state

Posted by Josh Klein on Mar 13, 2019 10:55:51 AM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Best Practices, Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Adult Learning Success

Complete Florida was created in 2013 to help the millions of adults across the state who have earned some college credit, but not a degree. The services offered by Complete Florida are completely free for participants, and they help individuals to complete a certificate or degree program. Ultimately, this boost can make it possible for participants to achieve employment in high-demand occupations.
 
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) plays an integral role in the Complete Florida framework. Through assessments that evaluate students’ existing skill sets, the state of Florida recognizes the importance of adults being able to obtain credit for their years of on-the-job experience.

 

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Wasted Talent: Ending Knowledge Discrimination

Posted by Peter Smith on Sep 12, 2018 2:29:58 PM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Webinar

Dr. Peter Smith is a founding board member of CAEL, and he'll discuss issues related to the world of adult learning at CAEL International Conference 2018, which takes place from November 13 to 16 in Cleveland!


It is time for a national discussion about talent, learning and employment. The subjects of this conversation are the millions of adults in America today with significant talent and knowledge, but no certificate or degree. The people who can do something about it are educators, entrepreneurs and employers. We are used to thinking about higher education as an opportunity for the individual. But it has become a necessity for the economic future of our country as well.

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The Importance of a Prior Learning Assessment Process Mapping Checklist

Posted by Scott Campbell on Apr 17, 2018 4:11:28 PM

Topics: Structural Approaches to Learning, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA)

Prior learning assessment (PLA) can be a very effective way for encouraging adult students to persist toward meeting higher education completion goals. Vital for the success of an institution’s implementation of PLA, however, is the establishment of a means of capturing current PLA processes and providing a framework to improve PLA offerings. This process, known as PLA Process Mapping, provides a structured approach that can remove the burden of maintaining a strong PLA program institution-wide.

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Making The Adult-Friendly Dean

Posted by Scott Campbell on Apr 6, 2018 2:22:45 PM

Topics: Adult Student Success, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Adult Learner 360

“Everybody's talking at me, I don't hear a word they're saying” are song lyrics that easily describe adults who are considering beginning, restarting or completing their higher education goals.

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New CAEL Study Asks the Question: Do PLA Methods Matter?

Posted by Sean Hudson on Mar 5, 2018 1:26:43 PM

Topics: Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Case Studies

That is a good question! Adult students earning credit through prior learning assessment (PLA) have higher rates of degree completion than non-PLA students. PLA can also be a valuable tool in helping adult students save both time and money towards earning a degree. But what about the specific method of PLA – is there a relationship between it and degree completion? Do we find there to be better outcomes for students using portfolio assessment as opposed to other methods? Our new report, Do Methods Matter? PLA, Portfolio Assessment, and the Road to Completion and Persistence, shares evidence that there may be one but acknowledges the complexities (and confounding factors) involved in this question as well.

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CAEL's New Study Answers the Question: What Happens When Learning Counts?

Posted by Sean Hudson on Sep 14, 2017 9:29:36 AM

Topics: Success Stories, Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), CAEL News

Several things, actually. Prior learning assessment (PLA) provides a way for adult students to accelerate their degree completion as well as create a new way to engage in the learning process. While this may be old news for some—seven years ago, CAEL’s Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success: A 48-Institution Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes found that adult students with PLA credit were two and a half times more likely to have earned a postsecondary degree than similar students with no PLA credit. Since then, replication studies have found the same results and researchers have documented other benefits to PLA such as increased self-confidence and motivation.

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Introducing Graduate-Level Prior Learning Assessment

Posted by Brian Sorenson on Jul 11, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Topics: Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), CAEL News

Since the concept was developed in the 1970s, CAEL has been a leading advocate for prior learning assessment (PLA), a method of awarding credit for demonstrated evidence of prior learning. Now, building off its reputation as a leader in PLA development and advocacy, CAEL is introducing a PLA solution for a new audience: graduate students.

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Prior Learning Assessment Done Right: A Look at Texas A&M Texarkana’s PLA Program

Posted by Brian Sorenson on Jul 5, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Topics: Best Practices, Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA)

As a longtime advocate for prior learning assessment (PLA), CAEL takes great pride in being able to recognize colleges and universities that have implemented PLA in ways that are especially effective for reaching adult students. CAEL’s Director of Partnership Development Valerie Delleville recently did exactly that, providing a case study in The Journal of Continuing Higher Education on how Texas A&M University Texarkana’s (TAMUT) PLA offerings deserve accolades.

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Colorado Veterans Get Good News with Passing of Prior Learning Bill

Posted by Brian Sorenson on Jun 13, 2017 3:50:05 PM

Topics: Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Veterans

Last month, we highlighted Colorado veterans’ efforts to encourage their state to adopt a policy that would require state colleges and universities to recognize credit for prior military service. According to the Denver Post, those efforts have been successful: Colorado gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law that will do precisely that.  

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