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CAEL Pathways Blog

Webinar Analyzes Prior-Learning Assessments' Impact on Adult Student Outcomes

Using firsthand accounts of student experiences and input from higher education leaders, Lumina Foundation's webinar on Thursday noted the impact of prior-learning assessments (PLA) on adult student outcomes.

The event, which brought together over 300 people virtually, also used data from Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning's (CAEL) 'PLA Boost' report.


With not all students understanding the process or being aware of PLA, Francisco Javier Arboli, a former adult student who used PLA, suggested institutions market the information to students across campus on billboards and on social media. Professors and other staff can also be part of the conversation.

'You have to make noise,' he said. 'If you don't make noise, you don't target your audience. I recommend students take advantage of those opportunities available to them. Every day in life is a new opportunity so don't waste your time. Don't be afraid to start new challenges.'

Becky Klein-Collins, associate vice president for research at CAEL, added that institutions should also 'expand their thinking about what kind of learning deserves to be recognized and given value in degree programs.'


'Students can bring a lot of learning that doesn't always line up exactly with your existing course outcomes, but really this is an equity issue,' she added. 'Student groups that have been historically underserved in education are likely to have learning that is underrepresented in your course catalog.'

Engaging with partners outside of the institution such as business and industries can help provide students with access to PLA, she said.  Lastly, investing in relationships between community colleges and four-year colleges can ease the transfer process.

Read more at Diverse: Issues In Higher Education


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