Prior Learning Assessment

How does Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) work at Andrews?

Credit may be earned for learning in nontraditional settings that is aligned with Andrews course outcomes.  PLA through portfolio is only available when another form of assessment does not exist. 

1. If you completed Advanced Placement courses (AP, Cambridge) while in high school, request an original transcript be sent to Undergraduate Records.

2. If you completed high school in certain European countries, college credit may be awarded based on your official high school transcript. 

3. If you completed military or professional training, check whether credit is available through the American Council on Education (ACE). If available, request an ACE transcript be sent to Undergraduate Records. Andrews University is a member and accepts all ACE transcripts.

4. Check if there are any standardized exams that could test your prior learning.  See the minimum scores required for CLEP, DSST, and UExcel exam scores for Andrews University credit. 

5. Check with your academic advisor if credit by exam (CBE) is available for a course for which there is no standardized exam (e.g. languages, religion).

6. If you are 24 or older and can document prior learning aligned with outcomes for one or more courses for which credit is not possible through any of the options above, you may complete a PLA Portfolio application. If approved, you may prepare and submit a portfolio with evidence of learning, products for review, or a performance. 

What are the steps to PLA portfolio submission?

1. Talk with your academic advisor about prior learning that may be at college level.  

2. If your prior learning is aligned with most of the outcomes for an Andrews course (find in course schedule), fill in the PLA Portfolio Application and make an appointment to discuss this application with the PLA Coordinator in the School of Distance Education.  

3. If approved by the PLA Coordinator, a faculty evaluator will be assigned to review your application within one month. If approved, you have two months to complete and submit a digital or printed portfolio, following the portfolio rubric guidelines.  Evaluators may be full-time or part-time faculty who teach the course for which credit is applied.  If course outcomes require demonstration of skill, the evaluator may contact the student to perform or demonstrate learning; usually portfolios are evaluated without contacting students. 

4. The faculty evaluator who approved the application will grade the portfolio within one month.  The grade sheet and portfolio will be returned to the PLA Coordinator who communicates the result to the student and submits the grade form to the Records Office for entry. A passing grade will be entered for the number of credits approved.   The fee of $150 per credit approved will be charged to your account within the month after the grade is submitted to the Records office.

NOTE: Completing a course in portfolio preparation is recommended. Consider courses available through LearningCounts.org which include the option to submit portfolios to the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) for credit in courses Andrews does not offer.  Andrews University is a member of CAEL and accepts CAEL transcripts. 

Are PLA credits transferable?

Andrews credits earned through PLA are included on the Andrews transcript. As the decision to accept PLA credits is determined by the institution to which the student is transfering Andrews credits, it is the student's responsibility to determine whether the credit will be accepted.

Where do I find the PLA application and portfolio preparation guidelines?

PLA Portfolio Application Form - provide a copy of this form, completed, to the PLA Coordinator before you begin
PLA Evaluation Rubric - prepare your portfolio following the guidelines in the rubric faculty evaluators use to assess your prior learning.

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