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Newly Released Brief Argues for Expanded Offering of PLA and Greater Outreach to Students Who Can Benefit the Most

Posted by Carlo Bertolini

Topics: Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), WICHE, COVID-19

With an eye toward aiding the response of postsecondary policymakers and practitioners as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis, CAEL and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education have released a brief offering early insight into the results of a nearly completed, extensive evaluation of prior learning assessment (PLA). 

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Conversations With CAEL: Jennifer Sparrow, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for CUNY SPS

Posted by Marie Cini

Topics: Success Stories, Best Practices, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Partnerships, Adult Learning, Adult Learner 360, CAEL Members, online learning

Around the start of a new year, it’s common for people to reflect on change – maybe make a few predictions. A new decade? Even more so. The 2020s will be our sixth decade of advocating for working adult learners. Anyone who has shared that journey knows it’s challenged by constant upheaval. But I’d like to take the opportunity to focus on one constant amid all that change – and make one very confident prediction. From the beginning, CAEL’s greatest strength has been our membership. That will always be the case. 

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

Posted by Sean Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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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How CAEL is Putting Prior Learning Assessment to Work in Philadelphia

Posted by Brian Sorenson

Topics: Workforce Development, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA)

CAEL has been working with Philadelphia Works to develop a prior learning assessment (PLA) strategy with partner the Community College of Philadelphia. PLA, which encourages student completion toward a degree or credential by granting credit for demonstrated college-level knowledge or skills, can be an effective tool for upskilling a workforce. CAEL recently spoke with Sue Hoffman, Senior Associate of Innovation at Philadelphia Works, to learn more about how this project will help Philadelphia’s workforce. 

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

Posted by Sean Hudson

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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