Implementation of PLAR in Formal Education
Post-Secondary Education: Universities; Undergraduate Studies

Allen, Robert, and Geoff Layer. (1995) Credit-based Systems as Vehicles for Change in Universities and Colleges. Kogan Page. 

This is a timely, readable yet ultimately tantalising volume. Its objectives are to consider how and why credit as a "phenomenon" has crept up on the HE sector, and emerged as a potential basis for a range of activities including funding; and, to draw some lessons in the influencing and management of change. The range of interest in "credit" is indeed remarkable, stretching from Government Departments and Funding Councils through Employer Organisations and TECs to HE (and FE) institutions both collectively and severally. A common agenda is inconceivable and the case studies described highlight the suspicions of "hidden agendas"; the narrative is littered with words like "battle" and "control". The analysis points to how credit has been seen variably as a means of changing the system and of responding to changes in the system. A pervasive theme is the shift to a mass system alongside declining units of resource and demands for greater accountability. In fact, accountability may provide the common theme although that is not the principle conclusion of the authors. They provide vivid and lucid evidence of the "tyranny of the three year degree", of the autonomy of subject or disciplinary groups, and of "changes in the balance of power", without, however, fully exploring the hegemony of the research-driven "old" universities. The strength of departments whose members often identify more with their professional poor group than with their employing organisation, who "alone" can define and understand the cohesion of a progressively structured degree course but who also constantly feel the need to defend their position in order to seek greater or stable resources provides a dilemma for managers and for pioneering practitioners. A key issue is whois, or should be, responsible to whom? Although thin on formal analysis of change management in an ambiguous and politicised context, the stories provide exemplary support for Enderud's "Four Phase Model" in dealing with non-routine, non-programmed planning decisions of high visibility and potentially high conflict (1). This requires proper allowance for an essentially highly ambiguous period (Bull session), a political period (negotiation), a collegial period (persuasion/legitimating), and an implementation period (bureaucratisation). To miss, or shortcut, any phase is to invite subsequent problems. More analysis of the role of credit-based systems in requiring transparent definitions of objectives and outcomes so rare in the holistic concept of a degree, might throw further light on the motives of interested parties. The authors have served to raise these and other questions, to reinforce the lessons in managing innovation and change, and, crucially, to evidence the view that the successful introduction of credit-based systems is institutionally unique and could fail, or be hijacked, under a too uniform or standardised framework. Review by Ted Nakle. June 1996. 

Alverno College. (1985) Assessment at Alverno College. Revised Edition. Milwaukee, WI: Alverno College. [83 pages]

Anderson, Terry, and Gloria Ross. (August 1992) Earning College Credit for Your Peace Corps Service. Washington, DC: Peace Corps, Information Collection and Exchange Div.

56 pages. Document Type: general report. This guide offers suggestions to Peace Corps returnees for getting college credit for Peace Corps service in the context of how prior learning (experiential learning) relates to mainstream academics. It offers a set of writing exercises to help the ex-volunteer evaluate his/her Peace Corps service. It gives suggestions for putting together a portfolio to document what the volunteer has learned. In addition, the guide discusses acquiring credit towards an academic degree and how much credit the Peace Corps experience might be worth. Appendices contain sample pages from a portfolio which was used in applying for credits in sociology and additional information on assessment of college-level knowledge acquired through Peace Corps work by means of the College Level Examination Program. Contains a 17-item bibliography. Descriptors: College Credits; Degrees (Academic); Equivalency Tests; Experiential Learning; Graduate Study; Higher Education; Learning Experience; Portfolios (Background Materials); Undergraduate Study; Work Experience Identifiers: Peace Corps.

Cohen, R., R. Flowers, R. McDonald, and H. Schaafsma. (1993) Learning From Experience Counts: Recognition of Prior Learning in Australian Universities. Commissioned report for the Credit Transfer Working Party on Credit Transfer and RPL, Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee. [55 pages]

Collins, Monica. (1995) Prior Learning Assessment in Canada and Abroad: Implications for Universities. Unpublished manuscript, Canadian Association of University Continuing Education.

This unpublished report, prepared by a PLAR task force for CAUCE, the Canadian Association of University Continuing Education, encouraged COU to develop a task force and lobby for funding for a few PLAR pilot projects in Ontario universities.

Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. (1986) Opportunities for College Credit: A CAEL Guide to Colleges and Universities. Columbia, MD: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. 

81 pages. Document Type: non-classroom material; directory. This booklet provides a guide to some of the credit-bearing opportunities in place at more than 1,200 United States colleges and universities that recognize learning obtained away from the formal college classroom. The data were compiled from a fall 1984 survey and are presented in two sections. The first provides the programmatic information itself in alphabetical order by state and, within each state, in alphabetical order by college. In this section, a matrix identifies possible opportunities for credit: national standardized examinations, recommendations by the American Council on Education, Advanced Placement Program, assessment by portfolio, institution-specific tests, oral interviews, and demonstration of competencies. The second section contains the names and addresses of all of the colleges and universities listed in the matrix. Descriptors: Advanced Placement Programs; College Credits; College Programs; Degree Requirements; Educational Experience; Employment Experience; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Nontraditional Education; Prior Learning; Student Experience; Transfer Policy.

Courts, Patrick L., and Kathleen H. McInerney. (1993) Assessment in Higher Education: Politics, Pedagogy, and Portfolios. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Croker, D., D. Ellis, Y. Hill, J. Storan, and I. Turner, eds. (1998) APEL: Beyond Graduateness. Chelmsford, Eng.: South East England Consortium for Credit Accumulation and Transfer. 

This publication is the third of its kind but, unlike the previous two, it focuses on APEL in the postgraduate realm. This book appears at a crucial time for post-compulsory education and training, particularly in the United Kingdom. The Dearing Report, the Fryer Committee's work and the Government's Green Paper, although dealing with different aspects and parts of education provision, all point to a conception of learning which includes learning derived from sources and sites beyond formal education arrangements. Within the contributions are a range of schemes, proposals, accounts and different APEL practices which can bring about wider opportunities for higher-education level learning to count both at undergraduate level and beyond graduateness. ISBN: 0-9522219-6-9.

Dockrell, Richard, Fiona Reeve, and Michael Osborne. (Summer 1996) "Access to Higher Education Through the Accreditation of Work-Based Learning." Journal of Further and Higher Education 20(2): 81-96.

Descriptors: Universities; Access Programmes; University Admission; Work Environment. Identifiers: Scotland; Accreditation of Experiential Learning; Accreditation of Prior Learning.

Doyle, Richard J. (December 1981) "Credit for Experiential Learning in Michigan." Phi Delta Kappan 63(4), 285-86.

Reports the results of a survey of the practices of 78 Michigan colleges and universities in awarding and transferring credit for nontraditional or experiential learning. Descriptors (major): College Credits; Experiential Learning (minor): Evaluation Methods; Higher Education; Prior Learning; State Surveys; Student Experience; Transfer Policy.

Evans, Norman. (February 1988) The Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning: Report of a CNAA Development Fund Project Conducted at the Learning from Experience Trust. CNAA Development Services Publication 17. London, Eng.: Council for National Academic Awards, London.

46 pages. Document Type: research report; evaluative report. A project was conducted to develop, monitor, and evaluate schemes for assessing the prior experiential learning of individuals enrolling in polytechnic institutes and colleges. A total of 12 evaluation schemes at 15 educational institutions throughout Great Britain were examined. The evaluation schemes studied had been developed to assess the prior learning of students enrolled in such courses of study as production engineering, business, social studies, computing and information technology, and mechanical engineering. Twelve of the schemes studied eventually became operational in 11 of the institutions. Assessment of prior learning was found to work best when the responsibility for demonstrating prior learning was placed with the student and when there were clear separations between experience as a source of learning and experience per se, identification and assessment of prior learning, and the academic functions of helping students prepare evidence of learning and assessing that learning. Four approaches to assessment were found to be successful--formally organized classes, tutorials, instruments and manuals, and interviews. The adult students whose prior learning was assessed used the information in a variety of ways, such as to obtain admission to degree courses, obtain employment, advance in their careers, change their career direction, or find contentment where they are. (Nine appendixes provide information on prior learning evaluation at six selected institutions plus suggestions for standardizing assessment information.) Descriptors: Adult Education; Adult Students; Evaluation Criteria; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; Prior Learning; Student Evaluation. Identifiers: Great Britain.

Evans, Norman and Gerald Dearden. (No date) Curriculum Opportunity; AP(E)L in Higher Education.  The Learning From Experience Trust.

It is hoped that Curriculum Opportunity; AP(E)L in Higher Education will be useful to academic and administrative staff who are concerned with Credit Accumulation and Transfer and the Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning.  Based on a sample of nearly 800 students, the authors conducted an inquiry across nine universities to find out who were the students who gained graduate or post graduate qualifications in either 1992 or 1993 in part on the basis of academic credit for prior experiential learning.  How old were they? How did the numbers compare for men and women? What were their occupations? What was the source of their credit? How much credit were they awarded? What did they study? What results did they achieve? Those were the questions asked.  The answers in no way amount to a reliable statistical analysis for reasons which the report makes clear.  It does however give solid evidence for the firs time which spans a number of different institutions, raises important questions about institutional record keeping, the status and level of post experience and post graduate qualifications and the need to extend this kind of survey.

Evans N., and A. Turner. (1993) The Potential of the Assessment of Experiential Learning in Universities. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. [ISBN: 1 870529 14 6]

Fairleigh Dickinson University. (1992) Guidelines for Life/Work Experience Credit Evaluation. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Office of Adult Education. [80 pages]

Fehnel, Richard A., and Norman D. Sundberg. (1976) From Apathy to Awareness and Action: A Model for Institutional Development of Sponsored and Prior Learning in a Traditional University. Princeton, NJ: Cooperative Assessment of Experiential Learning Project. 

67 pages. Document Type: project description. The purpose of a project at the University of Oregon was to explore principles and procedures for experiential learning programs. Experiential learning in this instance refers to both prior learning and field experience. Considerable attention is paid to the Lila Acheson Wallace School of Community Service and Public Affairs within the university. This school has a strong tradition of sponsored learning, and its emphasis is on interpersonal communication and competence. The project report outlines a model of program development and proposes a continuum of institutional awareness and action. Two major concerns addressed are academic standards and costs, and the matters of program rationale and articulation are discussed. The progress of experiential learning at the University of Oregon is assessed, and the developmental needs of the program are outlined. Descriptors: Academic Standards; Articulation (Education); Experiential Learning; Field Experience Programs; Higher Education; Models; Prior Learning; Program Costs; Program Development; Program Improvement; State Universities; Student Experience. Identifiers: University of Oregon.

Forrest, Aubrey. (Winter 1976) "A New, Old Frontier for the Library-College: The Educational Context of Assessing Experiential Learning." Learning Today 9(1), 54-59.

Presents a few of the ideas which teachers are using to measure learning that takes place in unsupervised contexts. Descriptors (major): Experiential Learning; Grading; Independent Study (minor): Evaluation Criteria; Open Education.

Goerke, Glenn A. (1980) "Certification of Noncredit Instruction." New Directions for Experiential Learning (Developing New Adult Clienteles by Recognizing Prior Learning) 7, 71-74.

This chapter reports on the new Continuing Education Unit (CEU) as a quantitative measure of non-credit course work, and indicates how the college should consider CEU transcripts in assessing prior adult learning for credit.

Gould, Samuel B. (1980) "Future Directions for Prior Learning Programs." New Directions for Experiential Learning (Developing New Adult Clienteles by Recognizing Prior Learning) 7, 75-78.

In the judgment of a former chancellor of universities and university systems, present efforts by colleges to develop new learning opportunities for adults are part of a highly significant movement seeking to meet the needs of many millions of adults.

Hanson, Kathryn S. (September 1997) "A University Perspective on PLA." Learning Quarterly 1(3), 10-13.

Harrison, Lesley. "Competency: A Review of Who is Calling the Tune, the Players, and Their Instruments."

This paper reviews the competency-based movement within the metaphor of an orchestra (higher education), who is conducting (calling the tune), the orchestral players (mature-age students), and the instruments used in the performance (credit transfer and recognition of prior learning).

Henebury, Corinne. (1990) Assessment of Prior Learning and Learner Services. London: Further Education Development Agency.

This document supports the use of APL in offering a client-focussed service and making traditional structures more flexible. Written by Corinne Henebury of the Learning From Experience Trust, it draws on case studies of three colleges and the guidance offered, particularly on staff and institutional development, should reflect the requirements of the further education system. ISBN: 1 85338 268 X.

Heon, Lucie, et al. (1986) "La reconnaissance des acquis expérientiels: étude de cas de la politique d'admission des adultes a l'Université de Laval (Recognition of Experiential Learning: Case Study of the Politics of Adult Admissions to the University of Laval.)" Canadian Journal of Higher Education 16(2), 67-79. 

A study of 400 University of Laval adult applicants under its new admission policy suggest that while student age and experience appear to be important factors in gaining admission, they are enhanced by the closeness of the experience to academic or cognitive learning combined with a high school diploma and grades above 65%. Descriptors (major): Admission Criteria; Adult Students; College Applicants; Experiential Learning; School Policy (minor): Age; College Admission; Comparative Analysis; Foreign Countries; Grades (Scholastic); Higher Education; Portfolios (Background Materials); Universities.

Hodgkinson, Linda. (1996) Changing the Higher Education Curriculum-Towards a Systematic Approach to Skills Development (Vocational Qualifications Centre, The Open University). Cambridge: The Burlington Press. 

The report presents the findings of a two-year project which was set up to determine the extent to which, and how, the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) framework of core skills could be embedded within the higher education curriculum,, and funded by the (then) Employment Department.

Innerd, Wilfred, et al. (1997) Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition: The Learning Outcomes-Based Approach -- A Handbook. Windsor, Ont.: University of Windsor.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide faculty and administrators in Canadian Universities with a guide to the implementation of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) by means of learning outcomes-based assessment. Some recommended uses for the handbook include: to introduce the concepts of learning outcomes and PLAR in universities; to be used as a self-study guide/tool by faculty/ administrators; to train faculty to write and use learning outcomes for courses and programs in formal professional development workshops; to foster dialogue in universities about program development, learning and teaching, assessment and evaluation; to facilitate development of a feasible action plan for implementation of outcomes-based PLAR. The handbook is a resource for 1) the development of learning outcomes for courses and programs, and 2) PLAR implementation. As noted it can be used for either or both of these tasks. The learning outcomes for users of the handbook follow. Users of the handbook will: define and develop learning outcomes for courses and programs; use a learning outcomes-based approach to facilitate the implementation of PLAR into the university; understand the benefits and issues in the implementation of PLAR by means of learning outcomes-based assessment and develop strategies to address the challenges.

Jackson, Lewis, et al, eds. (October 1992) Applying Experiential Learning in College Teaching and Assessment: A Process Model. Greeley, CO: University of Northern Colorado. 

49 pages. A manual prepared by the Experimental Learning Study Group. Document Type: non-classroom material. This manual presents a process model in which university teaching and assessment processes are embedded within a broader view of the human learning experience and the outcomes that are required for professional student growth. The model conceptualizes the university's role in the lives of lifelong learners and provides a framework for rethinking traditional university teaching practices and future research into teaching and learning. The model's components include: (1) adult learner characteristics; (2) the conceptual foundations of experiential learning; (3) methods and techniques for engaging learners in experiential learning activities; (4) assessment processes and outcomes, involving building a folio with artifacts and reproductions; and (5) building a portfolio from the folio. Implications of the model for college and university courses and programs are discussed. Chapters have the following titles and authors: "Overview of the Model of the Teaching/Learning Process" (Lewis Jackson and Doug MacIsaac); "Characteristics of Adult Learners and Foundations of Experiential Learning" (Rosemary Caffarella and Bruce Barnett); "Methods and Techniques for Engaging Learners in Experiential Learning Activities" (Patty Lee and Rosemary Caffarella); "Assessment Processes and Outcomes: Building a Folio with Artifacts and Reproductions" (Bruce Barnett and Patty Lee); and "Assessment Processes and Outcomes: Building a Portfolio from the Folio" (Doug MacIsaac and Lewis Jackson). Descriptors: Adult Learning; College Faculty; College Instruction; College Outcomes Assessment; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Lifelong Learning; Portfolios (Background Materials); Student Characteristics; Student Evaluation; Teacher Education; Teaching Methods; Teaching Models. Identifiers: Teacher Portfolios.

Learning From Experience Trust. (1995) The Potential of the Assessment of Experiential Learning in Universities. Chelmsford, UK: Learning From Experience Trust.

This Deparment of Employment-funded project focused on four universities to develop and test ways to use the assessment of prior learning as a means to recognise the suitability of applicants to degree studies and, where appropriate, for admission with advanced standing.  The aim of the work was to promote and increase the range of people entering universities at a later stage in their working life or without the traditional entry qualifications.  The universities involved in the project were Goldsmith's College and the Universities of Kent, Nottingham and Warwick.  A brief project report and guidelines on the assessment of experiential learning in university admission processes has been produced in the light of lessons learned from the project.

Mann, Carolyn M. (1997) "Prior Learning Assessment: U.S. Experience Facilitating Lifelong Learning." In Lifelong Learning: Policies, Practices, and Programs. Ed. Michael J. Hatton. Toronto: Humber College, School of Media Studies. 256-265

Document Type: review literature; project description. 12 pages. This paper focuses on the role of prior learning assessment in the lifelong learning of adults in the United States. The introduction stresses the increasing importance of lifelong learning in American society. The second section reviews prior learning and its assessment. Prior learning is formally defined as learning which has been acquired through non-academic life and work experience. Prior learning assessment is defined as a system of evaluating and granting college credit to adults who can articulate and document that they have achieved the objectives of a given course or set of competencies. The third section reviews the three basic approaches used to award credit for prior learning. The first approach most commonly uses standardized tests produced by either Educational Testing Services (ETS) or American College Testing Services (ACT). The second approach uses challenge examinations developed by the American Council on Education (ACE). The third approach uses a portfolio, a formal document produced by the individual being assessed which details learning acquired through non-college experiences. The final section discusses in general terms how prior learning assessment can help facilitate interest and commitment to lifelong learning. Descriptors: Educational Testing; Higher Education; Lifelong Learning; Occupational Tests; Portfolio Assessment; Prior Learning; Vocational Education. Identifiers: American College Testing Program; American Council on Education; Educational Testing Service.

Meyer, Peter. (1976) Awarding College Credit for Non-College Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. [195 pages]

Miller, Myrna R., and Laurent A. Daloz. (Fall 1989) "Assessment of Prior Learning; Good Practices Assure Congruity Between Work and Education." Equity and Excellence: University of Massachusetts School of Education Quarterly 24(3), 30-34.

Document Type: journal article; project description. Special issue with the title, "Adult Learners in Higher Education." Discusses bridging the gap between work and education through the establishment of programs to assess, evaluate, and certify experiential acquired learning. Covers two ways of viewing assessment: (1) separating inputs from outcomes; and (2) the portfolio process, which involves students writing descriptions of their learning as evidence. Descriptors (major): Education Work Relationship; Employment Experience; Equivalency Tests; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Nontraditional Students; Outcomes of Education; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Qualifications ; Work Experience (minor): Adult Students; Educational Experience. Subjects covered: Credits and credit systems/Colleges and universities; Learning, Psychology of/Experiential learning; Portfolio assessment; Personnel records/Students/Colleges and universities.

Miller, Myrna R., and Albert M. Sterling. (1974) "An Old-Fashioned New Trend: Evaluation at Empire State College." Educational Horizons 52(4), 184-187.

Article described Empire State College's efforts to recognize college-level learning outside the classroom and to grant academic credit for students' achievement without regard to where or how it was gained. Descriptors: Degrees Academic; Educational Trends; Learning Activities; Learning Experience; Student Evaluation; Educational-Objectives.

National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning. (June 1991) The Assessment of Prior Learning and the Accrediting Process. Proceedings of the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning, June 9-12, 1991, Thomas A. Edison State Coll., Trenton, NJ. Chicago: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Document Type: position paper; conference proceedings. 13 pages. This publication is based on the session on assessment of prior learning and the accrediting process at the 1991 National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning. The paper by Paula Hooper Mayhew focuses on regional accreditation, including the evaluation team visit and accrediting prior learning assessment during the visit. Amy K. Lezberg's presentation discusses the background of accreditation in New England and then deals specifically with prior learning assessment in New England, including the role of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in accreditation, makeup of the commission, and accreditation of prior learning assessment. The presentation of Gerald W. Patton addresses the four criteria for accreditation: (1) the institution has clear and publicly stated purposes, consistent with its mission and appropriate to a post-secondary educational institution; (2) the institution has effectively organized adequate human, financial, and physical resources into educational and other programs to accomplish its purposes; (3) the institution is accomplishing its purposes; and (4) the institution can continue to accomplish its purposes. Descriptors: Accreditation (Institutions); Adult Education; Certification; College Credits; Colleges; Conference Proceedings; Experiential Learning; Institutes (Training Programs); Institutional Evaluation; Nontraditional Students; Prior Learning; Student Evaluation.

National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning. (June 1990) The National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning: Proceedings of the 2nd Conference. Princeton, New Jersey, June 4-7. Philadelphia, PA: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

42 pages. Document Type: conference proceedings. This document summarizes discussions held at a conference of the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning, which is concerned with prior learning assessment (PLA), a process developed for awarding college-level credit for out-of-class experiences. The conference consisted of two tracks, beginning and advanced; this format allowed newcomers to the field of PLA to gain a solid foundation while those who were already involved participated in the advanced track. Topic sessions are summarized, with descriptions of the remarks of speakers and participants. The topics and primary speakers for each session for the general sessions were: (1) "A Philosophical Approach to Prior Learning Assessment" (U. Whitaker); (2) "The Practice of Prior Learning Assessment" (B.G. Sheckley); (3) "The History and Future of Prior Learning Assessment" (M.T. Keeton); and (4) "Prior Learning Assessment and Accreditation: Panel from the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education" (P.H. Mayhew, A. K. Lezberg, and G. Patton). For the beginning track, the topics and primary speakers were: (5) "Identifying Learning" (H. W. Cabell); (6) "Setting Up Policies and Procedures for a Prior Learning Assessment Program" (R.A. Craig); (7) "Selecting and Training Faculty Assessors" (R.A. Craig); and (8) "Documenting, Measuring and Evaluating Learning" (U. Whitaker). The advanced track topics and primary speakers were: (9) "Defining Critical Thinking Outcomes" (M.T. Keeton); (10) "Current Perspectives on Adult and Experiential Learning" (B.G. Sheckley); (11) "Prior Learning Assessment and Sponsored Learning" (U. Whitaker); (12) "The Transcription of Prior Learning Credit" (H. W. Cabell); (13) "Graduate Level Prior Learning Assessment" (U. Whitaker); and (14) "Summary" (M.T. Keeton). Descriptors: Adult Education; College Credits; Critical Thinking; Educational Assessment; Educational History; Educational Policy; Evaluators; Experiential Learning; Graduate Study; Higher Education; Prior Learning; Program Development; Student Experience.

National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning. (July 1989) The National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning: Proceedings of the 1st Conference. (1989) Thomas A. Edison State Coll., Trenton, New Jersey, July 16-20. Philadelphia, PA: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Document Type: conference proceedings. 28 pages. This document summarizes the National Institute on the Assessment of Experiential Learning conference in July 1989, during which educators from the field of adult education met to discuss prior learning assessment (PLA), a process developed for awarding credit for college-level knowledge acquired outside the classroom. Some educators were exploring setting up a PLA program; others already had programs. Learning at the Institute occurred through lectures, discussions, simulations, role playing, games, and informal discussion. The topics presented at each session and the remarks of the principal speaker or discussion leader are summarized. The sessions and names of speakers or discussion leaders were: (1) "How Adults Learn through Experience" (P. Jacobs, L. Harvey, and S. Simosko); (2) "Identifying College-Level Learning" (U. Whitaker and H.W. Cabell); (3) "Documenting Learning" (U. Whitaker); (4) "Measuring Learning" (H.W. Cabell); (5) "Evaluating Learning" (S. Simosko); (6) "Selecting and Training Faculty Assessors" (L.S. Harvey and R.A. Craig); (7) "Marketing Prior Learning Assessment to Faculty, Administrators, and Potential Students" (R.A. Craig and S. Simosko); and (8) "Maintaining a Quality Program" (A. Mandell). Descriptors: Adult Education; College Credits; Educational Assessment; Evaluation Methods; Evaluators; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Knowledge Level; Measurement Techniques; Prior Learning; Program Development; Program Implementation.

Paczuska A., and I. Turner. (1998) "Records of Achievement in Higher Education: Aims and Outcomes". In Strategic Models of Lifelong Learning: The Method of APEL. Ed. Bailie, S.H. and O'Hagan, C. Belfast.

Peruniak, Geoff S. (November 1989) Final Report of the Experimental Project for the Assessment of Prior Learning. Athabaska, Alta.: Athabaska University.

22 pages. This is the final report of a pilot project which lasted 22 months. The purpose of this study was to develop procedures for the assessment of prior learning and then to field-test this system with AU learners. The project was intended to give AU faculty training and experience in the operational details of the assessment of prior learning. This was the first attempt at AU to provide a systematic, credit-earning option that incorporated non-traditional kinds of learning. Also includes a student guide (20 pages) and evaluator's guide (23 pages).

Preston, Kathleen. (August 1981) "Assessment of Prior Learning: An Interdisciplinary Perspective." Paper presented at the 89th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

9 pages. Document Type: conference paper; project description. The Assessment of Prior Learning Program at Humboldt State University, California, is described. The program enables students to gain at least token recognition, through elective units, for prior learning by taking a course and writing a portfolio that is assessed by faculty and awarded up to 10 additional units. The program began by offering lower-division credit under a Behavioural and Social Sciences course number, and is now offering upper-division credit in all academic areas. Through the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies, it is suggested that the entry of older students into the regular college population has resulted in more flexibility in the traditional curriculum. The faculty, by working with students who are in their same generation or older, have become more aware of the kinds of expectations they have of college students. One issue is whether people learn better by moving from the particular and applied to general principles, or vice versa. Courses are usually taught beginning with the general and then examining applications; however, adults who have considerable non-academic experience are likely to learn in the other direction, using applied knowledge as the basis for theoretical understanding in academic courses. The average age of students in the program has been 42 years, and 90 percent have been women. Most people who enroll complete the course, but only about one-third complete the portfolio for the additional units. The greatest faculty concern has been to maintain a level of quality at least as high as in regular courses and to create credibility for the program with other faculty. A bibliography is appended. Descriptors: Adult Students; College Credits; College Students; Educational Quality; Employment Experience; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Interdisciplinary Approach; Nontraditional Students; Prior Learning; State Universities; Student Evaluation; Teacher Attitudes. Identifiers: Humboldt State University CA.

Reithlingshoefer, Sally J., ed. (May 1992) The Future of Nontraditional/ Interdisciplinary Programs: Margin or Mainstream? Selected Papers from the Annual Conference on Nontraditional and Interdisciplinary Programs, 10th, May 10-13, Virginia Beach, VA. Fairfax, VA: George Mason University. 

763 pages. Document Type: conference proceedings. Target Audience: Practitioners. This volume presents the proceedings of a conference on higher education non-traditional and interdisciplinary programs. The papers are grouped into 13 categories, including "Assessing Experiential Learning" -- integration into a traditional four-year institution, new directions, new collaborations, 10 years of portfolio program assessment at Lewis and Clark State College, Fairleigh Dickinson University's portfolio process, assessment standards.

Sanford, James F., Comp., and Reithlingshoefer, Sally J., eds. (May 1990) What If the University Took Learning Seriously?: Selected Papers from the Annual Conference on Non-Traditional and Interdisciplinary Programs, 8th, May 14-16, Virginia Beach, VA. Fairfax, VA: George Mason Univ., School of Continuing and Alternative Learning.

479 pages. Document Type: conference proceedings. Target Audience: Teachers; Administrators; Policymakers; Practitioners Alternative approaches to learning are the subject of these approximately 50 papers on non-traditional and interdisciplinary programs in higher education. Assessment of prior learning and program assessment is considered in six papers which look at assessment methods, 2-year and 4-year college cooperation, and work autobiographies.

Sheffield Hallam University. (1993) Procedures for the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning. Sheffield, Eng.: Sheffield Hallam University.

Simosko, Susan. (Summer 1988) "Assessing Experiential Learning." New Directions for Teaching and Learning (Assessing Students' Learning) 34, 61-70.

Document Type: journal article; evaluative report. Recognizing adults' prior college-level learning requires a substantial investment of faculty time to identify learning outcomes and standards of performance, but the benefits are great for students and faculty alike. Descriptors: Academic Standards; Adult Students; College Credits; Equivalency Tests; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Outcomes of Education; Prior Learning; Student Evaluation; Test Selection.

Simosko, Susan, et al. (1988) Assessing Learning: A CAEL Handbook for Faculty. Philadelphia, PA: Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. 

184 pages. Document Type: collection; teaching guide. Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners. The issue of assessing adult learning prior to formal college level study is examined and presented in this handbook. The handbook offers guidelines for setting standards, provides a review of some of the proven techniques and practices that have been used to evaluate previous learning, addresses a series of issues relevant to particular subject matter areas, and gives examples of working institutional models and new initiatives in the recognition of prior learning. Discussions of assessing adult learning are presented within the following chapters: "Experiential Learning and Assessment" (Susan Simosko), "Assessment Techniques" (Susan Simosko); "Using Examinations to Award Credit for Prior Learning" (Paul Jacobs and Kate Gulliver); "Issues in Assessing the Liberal Arts" (Susan Simosko and Graham Debling), "Issues in Assessing Occupational and Technical Subjects" (Patricia Dewees); "Issues is Assessing Business" (Michael Mark); "Issues is Assessing the Performing Arts" (Anne Bielawski and Margaret Dunn); "Assessment of Professionals" (Donna L. Queeney); "Institutional Models: Whys and Hows of Prior Learning Assessment" (Harriet Cabell and Jerry H. Hickerson); "Prior Learning Assessment in the United States: Institutional Models" (Norman Evans); "Prior Learning Assessment in Quebec Colleges" (Robert Isabelle and Francine Landry); and "Learning Theory and the Benefits of Assessment" (Barry Sheckley). References follow most chapters. Descriptors: Adult Learning; Adult Students; College Preparation; Competence; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Higher Education; Learning Processes; Measures (Individuals); Prior Learning; Standards; Student Evaluation. ISBN: 07872-33471.

Spille, Henry A. (November/December 1978) "Credit for What They Already Know." AGB Reports 20(6), 20-23. 

Begun when a student challenged a statement in the college catalog, Wisconsin's workable system for giving credit for prior learning is described. Suggestions are offered for having faculty set policy, involving maximum faculty, establish a review mechanism, and keep individuals away from their traditional roles. Descriptors: College Credits; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; Prior Learning; Student Evaluation; Student Experience; Teacher Participation; College Faculty; Educational Assessment; Higher Education; Student Rights.

Spille, Henry A., and Allan C. Hartley. (1975) "Credit for Experience in Practice." Educational Record 56(1), 55-58.

At the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, faculty have granted degree credits for informal learning to more than 150 students. Evaluating learning acquired outside normal academic channels has been successful because the students bear the responsibility of relating their experiences to university requirements. Descriptors: College-Credits; Higher-Education; Student-Evaluation; Student-Experience; Degree-Requirements; Educational-Innovation; Evaluation-Methods.

Stanley, Elizabeth (1980) Credit for Prior or Experiential Learning. Information Series No. 210. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Ohio State Univ., National Center for Research in Vocational Education. 

68 pages. Sponsoring Agency: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, D.C. Document Type: ERIC product; position paper. This paper focuses on the activities of colleges and universities providing options for the assessment of prior learning for adult students. The paper emphasizes programs with associate and baccalaureate degree-granting institutions in the United States and Canada. It is aimed at faculty members, practitioners, administrators, and policy-makers, as well as agency or legislative personnel interested in this growing aspect of post-secondary education. An attempt is made to provide sufficient detail to answer questions most often asked by these audiences concerning the adoption of a policy on credit for prior learning and to suggest appropriate resources for further study. The practice of awarding credit for prior learning is traced in the first section. In the second, various approaches to assessing prior learning are surveyed; included in this section is information about credit by examination, credit recommendations for non-collegiate courses, individualized assessment (study orientation, portfolio preparation, measurement and evaluation of learning outcomes, transcription or recording of credit awarded, and other institutional policies), evaluators and faculty development, special interest areas, and costs and fees. The third section discusses quality assurance and program evaluation. The last section examines future directions and implications. Information about credit-for-prior-learning publications is included in the appendixes. Descriptors: Adult Students; College Credits; Credit Courses; Degree Requirements; Equivalency Tests; Experiential Learning; Faculty Development; Nontraditional Education; Post-secondary Education; Prior Learning; Program Evaluation; Self Evaluation (Individuals). Identifiers: Canada; Information Analysis; United States.

Stephens College Without Walls. (1977) Prior Learning: A Guide to Portfolio Development. Stephens College Without Walls, 1977-78. Columbia, MO: Stephens Coll. Without Walls.

131 pages. Document Type: classroom material. Target Audience: Practitioners. Stephens College Without Walls will grant college credits for prior experiential learning, if properly documented. Proficiency examinations, non-college transcript credit, work experiences, volunteer activities, homemaking, workshops or seminars, recreational activities or hobbies, independent reading, or licenses are categories of experiences for which credit may be granted. Learning gained from these experiences must meet four criteria: it must be publicly verifiable, be equivalent to college-level work, have a subject matter or knowledge base, and relate to the student's educational and/or occupational goals. The application for college credit involves six steps: 1) the student takes a Liberal Studies Seminar, 2) a preliminary portfolio describing prior learning is assembled, 3) the portfolio is examined for completeness and congruence with the guidelines, 4) the appropriate department examines the portfolio for possible college-level learning, 5) the portfolio is returned to the student, with the department's recommendations, and 6) the student supplies documentation in the form of the final portfolio. Detailed guidelines and examples are presented for preparing the preliminary and the final portfolios. Descriptors: Academic Records; Certification; College Credits; Credentials; Documentation; Equivalency Tests; Evaluation Methods; Experiential Learning; External Degree Programs; Guidelines; Higher Education; Hobbies; Homemaking Skills; Independent Reading; Prior Learning; Recreational Activities; Seminars; Student Evaluation; Volunteers; Work Experience; Workshops. Identifiers: Stephens College Without Walls MO.

Strange, John. (1980) "Credit for Learning Gained in Life and Work Experience." New Directions for Experiential Learning (Developing New Adult Clienteles by Recognizing Prior Learning) 7, 37-42.

This chapter identifies prime features of sound college programs that assess for credit the prior learning gained by adults in experience, as viewed by an officer of the Council for the Advancement of Experiential Learning (CAEL), and gives major reasons for the introduction of such programs by rapidly increasing numbers of colleges.

Trivett, David A. (1975) Academic Credit for Prior Off-Campus Learning. Washington, D.C.: George Washington Univ., ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education. 

80 pages. Sponsoring Agency: American Association for Higher Education, Washington, D.C.; National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, D.C. Document Type: bibliography. The educational and social rationale for granting academic credit for off-campus learning grows out of the notion that educational systems now have the capability to change from selective to adaptive systems. If this change is to occur in ways to permit access, not just in terms of admission but in terms of credentials, then concomitant changes in institutional practices must take place. The granting of academic credit for learning acquired off-campus is viewed by some as a socially just method to bestow credentials earned regardless of source and is a logical extension of the access goal. The focus of this paper is the granting of credit for prior off-campus learning, a form of credit awarded for experiential learning that is in contrast to such sponsored programs as cooperative learning and field experience. Several procedures are in use to grant credit for prior off-campus learning. A traditional method to grant credit for off-campus learning is an examination for college-level credit. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is the best known method. Academic credit is also being granted for off-campus learning from life and work experience. Special degree programs, such as the external degree, make great use of the various forms of academic credit for off-campus learning. The emphasis of this report is on learner-centered methods of evaluation that permit institutions to become responsive to the growing market of new students who seek credentials from higher education institutions. Descriptors: College Credits; Evaluation Methods; External Degree Programs; Higher Education; Student Evaluation; Student Experience. Identifiers: CASE; College Level Examination Program.

Trowler, P. (1996) "Angels in Marbel? Accrediting Prior Experiential Learning in Higher Education." Studies in Higher Education, 21(1) 17-30.

Walker, Lila Bowden. (1995) The Effect of Membership in the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning on the Quality of Prior Learning Assessment Services in Senior Level Institutions Accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas.

Ward, Barbara. (1980) "Credit for Learning: The Competence-Based Model." New Directions for Experiential Learning (Developing New Adult Clienteles by Recognizing Prior Learning) 7, 57-64.

This chapter discusses competence-based (or "competency-based") programs of innovative colleges including the role of the assessment of prior learning in such programs, drawing on the experience of Justin Morrill College of Michigan State University.

West, Linden, and Wilma Fraser. (January 1992) The Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning in Universities' Admissions Procedures. Canterbury, Eng.: Unit for the Study of Continuing Education, School of Continuing Education, University of Kent at Canterbury.

69 pages. Document Type: research report; test, questionnaire. A project studied use of assessment of prior experiential learning (APEL) in admissions to part-time degrees and diplomas at the University of Kent at Canterbury (England, United Kingdom). The APEL course was highlighted in brochures advertising part-time degree, diploma, and Access courses. Interviews with 40 applicants explained APEL and assessed their ability to benefit from the intensive, "fast-track" option. The nine participants had achieved success, were upwardly mobile, were becoming more aware of themselves and their abilities, and wanted more actively to determine the course of their own lives. Admissions tutors most likely to deal with APEL students were interviewed to introduce the project, to establish what criteria they considered important when selecting adults for degree and diploma courses, and to establish what kind of portfolios the tutors might want from would-be students. A 4-day course was developed that incorporated the following: (1) study, writing, and analytical skills; (2) group dynamics; (3) identification of prior achievements and future needs; (4) practice in basic tools of academic survival; and (5) a portfolio. Admissions tutors were interviewed again after APEL was completed. The intention was to use the interviews to reflect on the project, but this proved impossible since some tutors who interviewed students were not those originally interviewed. A questionnaire administered to all participants showed APEL was an important experience. Descriptors: Access to Education; Admission Criteria; Adult Education; Adults; Curriculum Development; Degrees (Academic); Educational Experience; Employment Experience; Experiential Learning; Foreign Countries; Group Dynamics; Higher Education; Nontraditional Students; Portfolios (Background Materials); Prior Learning; Program Development; Student Experience; Student Placement; Work Experience. Identifiers: Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning; Great Britain. ISBN: 0-904938-13-1.

West, Linden, and Wilma Fraser. (November 1992) "Really Useful Research: Adults and the Assessment of Experiential Learning. Research File." Adults Learning 4(3), 75-77.

Document Type: journal article; research report. An action research project investigating the Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning at the University of Kent found difficulties in reconciling student needs with pressure to concentrate on experiences relevant to higher education. There was also tension between student needs and institutional requirements for the format of portfolios. Descriptors (major): Adult Learning; Educational Research; Experiential Learning; Prior Learning; (minor): Action Research; Foreign Countries; Higher Education; (minor): University of Kent (England).

Wilson, Robin. (April 11, 1990) "More Colleges Offering Credit to Older Students for their Experiences on the Job or at Home." Chronicle of Higher Education 36(30), 35-36.

More adults are enrolling in colleges and universities using prior experience to earn college credits. Supporters say the portfolio programs are rigorous and encourage pursuit of degrees. Critics say the practice dilutes the significance of a college degree, and students do not study the theories behind concepts or question their own assumptions. Descriptors: adult students; college credits; experiential learning; portfolios-background materials; higher education; student costs; trend analysis.

Wolfson, Gloria. (1997) "Prior Learning Assessment: A Case Study of Acceptance of Innovation and Change." In 27th Annual SCUTREA Conference Proceedings, 1997. University of Leeds: Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults. 

Wong, Angelina T. (1996) Prior Learning Assessment: A Guide for University Faculty and Administrators. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan, University Extension Press.

Based on research conducted in Australia, the United States, and Canada, the book provides university faculty and administrators with a practical guide to PLAR. The guide was written in response to perceived concerns among faculty regarding the time, costs, and quality issues related to PLAR. Descriptors: Experiential learning; Advanced standing; Credits; Prior learning; Apprentissage par l'experience; Equivalence; Connaissances acquises.

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