Prior Learning Assessments
Getting Credit for What You Know
The College of St. Scholastica recognizes that college-level learning occurs outside of formal school settings, and that students often acquire academic knowledge through past work, volunteering, military service, travel, personal interests, on-the-job training, massive open online courses (MOOCs), or other experiences.
In recognition of these legitimate modes of learning, the College allows students to earn college credit via Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). There are two primary pathways for demonstrating prior learning and converting this to college credit: portfolio assessment and testing. Both of these pathways can save money, result in college credit, and identify your areas of strength.
The first step in gaining credit for what you know is to contact a Completion Coach. Your coach can help you develop a complete Program Plan to achieve your educational ambitions. Your Program Plan will identify areas where you might gain credit through portfolio assessment and testing.
To develop a Portfolio for assessment, you and your Completion Coach will identifying matches between your life experience and the learning outcomes of relevant Scholastica courses. Then, working with a faculty mentor, you will develop an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio) that documents how your past experience satisfies the learning objectives of one or more courses.
Students can also receive credit through two kinds of testing. The first is through the College-Level Exam Program (CLEP), administered by the College Board. CLEP tests provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement in more than 30 undergraduate college courses, including many general education and business courses.
The second means of testing is via CSS Challenge Exams. Unlike CLEP tests, CSS Challenge Exams are self-paced and allow students to demonstrate mastery of course content over time rather than in a single high-pressure testing situation.
Ready to get started?
If you're a current student and would like to learn more about how you can earn credit for what you already know, speak to your advisor.
If you're a prospective student and would like to learn more, contact a Completion Coach via email or call (866) 416-0144.