Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment

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East-West University recognizes the growing geographic and career mobility of a modern post-industrial society. The University also recognizes that the traditional timetable for higher education is not appropriate for everyone, particularly working adults who may have already acquired relevant, useful, and verifiable competencies from nonacademic experiences — career employment, special training, volunteer work or community service, recreation and travel, military experience, or self-directed study.

To meet the need of such students, the University offers an option for Prior Learning Assessment within each of its existing degree programs. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process through which learners identify areas of learning from their past experiences, demonstrate that learning through appropriate documentation, and submit their materials related to specific course objectives so that they can be assessed and possibly awarded academic credit. PLA will reduce the repetition of relevant, course-related material for learners with prior learning (or with prior degrees). PLA can reduce the time required to earn a degree.

Prior Learning Portfolio Development is a process that East-West University provides for students to document their prior learning. East-West University makes no promises to prospective students regarding credit for prior learning until this Portfolio evaluation has been conducted. In PLA200, Prior Learning Assessment (a course designed in accordance with the principles established by the CAEL (Council for Adult and Experiential Learning), each student prepares and submits a collection of documents that establish and support a claim that he or she has the particular skills, knowledge, values, attitudes, understandings, achievements, experiences, competencies, training, and certifications that will align with specific EWU course outcomes. The portfolio developed in the PLA200 course should not only describe the relevant experience but should also identify the particular learning outcomes. Students will also offer a critical self-assessment of what college-level learning has been acquired through selected non-traditional experiences.

Once the Prior Learning Portfolio is completed and submitted, faculty evaluators appraise it for the evidence demonstrating that those skills are tied to the outcomes of specific EWU courses. Faculty evaluators who are subject matter experts will determine if the Prior Learning is acceptable for credit.

PLA provides a method to help encourage non-traditional learners to pursue a degree. It can help them make the transition to higher education, permit them to avoid redundant courses that cover what they have already learned, and shorten their time to graduation.

East-West University assesses fees for the evaluation of Prior Learning Assessment Portfolios based on the evaluation services performed by faculty experts. Quarter credits awarded to students through Prior Learning Assessment are posted to the student’s record after payment of a reduced tuition charge of $250/quarter credit.