Turning Prior Learning Into College Credit
Complete College America (CCA) has awarded a grant to Georgia to help facilitate a Complete College Georgia program that includes: Additional options for assessing prior learning for college credit; Alternative paths to completing learning support requirements; and Cooperative agreements among institutions.
In order to meet President Obama’s American Graduation Initiative goal of five million additional community college graduates by 2020 and the Lumnia Foundation’s of 60% of Americans holding high-quality degrees and credentials by 2025, changes must be made in how college credit is viewed and assessed.
Standards for assessment will not weaken but methods of assessment may become more varied. As stated in the Board of Regents February, 2012, report, “Complete College Georgia will result in the redesign of higher education to serve greater numbers of students in cost effective ways while ensuring that graduates know content and contribute meaningfully to society.”
- 61% of Jobs will require a college education (diploma or certificate) by 2020
- 34% of Georgia Adults currently hold an associate degree or higher
Addressing the challenges of “increasing Georgia’s share of workers with a college degree or certificate calls for an unprecedented statewide effort” involving:
- College and career readiness in P-12
- Effective use of analytics, metrics, and data
- Transformed remediation
- Reduced time to degree
- Restructured delivery
Reduced Time to Degree and Adult Prior Learning
In order to participate in this mission to increase college completion rates, increasingly more institutions are utilizing Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) as a way to evaluate and help credential adults who may have knowledge through their jobs, military training, volunteer service, independent study, or life experiences that can be converted to the appropriate college credits. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is the leading the way and partnering with colleges, universities, employers, and other groups to evaluate and assess learning outside the traditional academic environment. Success in evaluating prior learning and increasing college completion rates will come with agreements between institutions.
The Georgia Adult Learning Consortium (ALC):
The Adult Learning Consortium, currently composed of nine USG campuses, collaboratively develops adult learner-focused programs and shares resources to facilitate improved adult college access, completion, and success. These campuses are “leading an effort to adopt a range of Prior Learning Assessment options to facilitate and accelerate degree attainment of adult learners who have creditable college-level learning acquired through life and work experiences.”
These types of partnerships and articulation agreements are imperative in order to improve college readiness, access, and completion.
“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” (Lederman, 2010).
Prior Learning Assessments include:
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests
- Excelsior College Exams (U DANTES Subject Standardized TestsExcel® Exams) – computer-based format of credit by examination
- DANTES or DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests)
- Evaluated Non-College Programs (corporate training, military training)
- Individualized Assessments, Portfolios, Individual Institution Evaluations
- Assorted Approaches to Assessment (examples)
- University System Focuses on Two-Thirds of Adult Georgians Who Lack College Degrees
- Complete College Georgia: Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan 2012
- Valdosta State University’s options for adult learners
- Fort Valley State University’s options for adult learners
- Dalton State College’s PLA options
- PLA Handbook
- Georgia College Graduation Rates
- State-by-State College Graduation Rates
- List of College State Graduation Rates: Six-Year Graduation Rates of Bachelor’s Students
- List of College Graduation Rates by State: Three-Year Graduation Rates of Associate Students
- College Graduation Rates by Nation: Percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with at least Associate Degree
Complete College Georgia: Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan 2012 (2012). University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.usg.edu/educational_access/documents/GaHigherEducationCompletionPlan2012.pdf
Gonzalez, J. (2012, March 26). Number of U.S. Degree Holders Is Rising, Slowly, Toward Lumina’s ‘Big Goal.’ The Chronicle of Higher Education: Students. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://chronicle.com/article/Number-of-US-Degree-Holders/131319/?sid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
Lederman, D. (2010, March 1). The ‘Prior Learning’ Edge. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved March 28, 2012, from Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/03/01/prior