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Rich Robles

News: The 'Prior Learning' Edge - Inside Higher Ed - 15 views

  • An examination of the educational records of more than 62,000 adult undergraduates at 48 colleges finds that students who had sought and been awarded academic credit by their institutions for "prior learning" earned in the military, corporate training and other non-classroom settings were more than twice as likely to graduate, and to persist even if they did not graduate, than were their peers who had not earned such credit.
  • “CAEL’s research confirms that prior-learning assessment can help adults move faster toward their associate’s and baccalaureate degrees. We need to see more institutions offering this option and more adults participating in it.”
  • The concept of "prior learning assessment" is decades old, and it has grown to include multiple types of mechanisms for measuring knowledge and skills that students have accumulated through various types of formal and less formal formats, such corporate training, work experience, and independent study. The most common types of assessments include standardized exams developed by the College Board (the College Level Examination Program exams and Advanced Placement exams), the American Council of Education's guides for recognizing credit for instructional programs offered in the military and by employers, and institutional reviews of individualized student portfolios.
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  • credit awarded through prior learning assessments offers an opportunity to entice adults back to college with the prospect that they can build on learning they've already gained and reduce both the time and money they might have to expend to earn a credential.
  • "Do PLA students have higher graduation rates because PLA enhances the self-esteem and motivation of students by showing them that they have already mastered college-level learning? Is it also because PLA students already possess characteristics that are associated with better academic outcomes? What institutional policies are influencing whether and how students are using (or not using) PLA, and whether or not this helps them achieve a shorter time to degree?"
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