“Are you experienced?”. Translating Experiential Learning into Credit for Non-Traditional Students Amy Sherman The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). Why Does College Completion Matter to Our Nation?.
Translating Experiential Learning into Credit for
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Source: Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018, Georgetown University, Center for Education and the Workforce, June 2010
The evaluation for college credit of the knowledge and skills one gains from:
Two important educational developments:
Regional accrediting agencies emerge; define what is “college level learning”
Rise of standardized testing; now learning can be evaluated independently of the source of learning
Result: acceptance of the idea that creditable college-level learning is both measurable and independent of its source.
CAEL founded in 1974 as a project of the Educational Testing Service
Question: is it possible to conduct valid and reliable assessment of learning gained from work or life experience?
Answer: Yes, with appropriate procedures and processes in place to evaluate that learning.
The 10 CAEL Standards for Assessing Learning
1. Credit or its equivalent should be awarded only for learning, and not for experience.2. Assessment should be based on standards and criteria for the level of acceptable learning that are both agreed upon and made public. 3. Assessment should be treated as an integral part of learning, not separate from it, and should be based on an understanding of learning processes. 4. The determination of credit awards and competence levels must be made by appropriate subject matter and academic or credentialing experts.5. Credit or other credentialing should be appropriate to the context in which it is awarded and accepted.
6. If awards are for credit, transcript entries should clearly describe what learning is being recognized and should be monitored to avoid giving credit twice for the same learning.7. Policies, procedures, and criteria applied to assessment, including provision for appeal, should be fully disclosed and prominently available to all parties involved in the assessment process.8. Fees charged for assessment should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded.9.All personnel involved in the assessment of learning should pursue and receive adequate training and continuing professional development for the functions they perform.10. Assessment programs should be regularly monitored, reviewed, evaluated, and revised as needed to reflect changes in the needs being served, the purposes being met, and the state of the assessment arts.
Understand principles of experiential learning, including its value for adults.
Understand and apply the steps and procedures in the PLA process.
Understand the links between experience and learning, and be able to determine college-level learning gained from experience.
Discriminate between college-level and pre-college-level learning.
Understand the history and development of PLA.
Know and be able to apply principles of best PLA practice
Apply administrative principles of PLA within the context of your institution.
Able to express to various audiences the value of PLA.
What we wanted to know:
Do adults who earn PLA credit have better graduation rates, compared with those who do not earn PLA credit?
Do they have better persistence?
Do they earn their degrees in a shorter period of time?
Time to degree
Evidence shows that PLA students, on average, have higher rates of degree earning than do non-PLA students.
This is true at institutions of all sizes, levels and controls.
Average for All PLA Students
Average for All Non-PLA Students
PLA credit can be used to obtain advanced standing at the institution
PLA credit can be used to waive course prerequisites
PLA credit can be used to meet general education requirements
PLA credit can be used to meet program/major requirements
The greater the flexibility the student has for using the PLA credit, the better the academic outcomes.
Financial aid recipients
PLA students in this study had better graduation rates than non-PLA students:
PLA students have higher rates of persistence compared with non-PLA students.
Our published report on this study was released in March 2010.
Sample question: Do you think your institution will see increased demand for PLA options in the future?
A new national online PLA Center
With funding from Lumina Foundation for Education, the Kresge Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation,CAEL has begun the two-year pilot phase of LearningCounts.org.
Helps students earn all forms of PLA credit
Offers basic on-line advising
Offers an on-line PLA course
Assigns portfolios to faculty evaluators who have been trained by CAELCAEL’s LearnCounts.org
Credit recommendations from the Center’s faculty experts will be sent on ACE transcript to colleges, as ACE already does today with military and corporate training
Lack of a PLA program at their institution
Existing program cannot keep up with high volume of portfolio submissions
Lack of personnel to adequately staff their PLA program
Lack of credentialed faculty to review submitted portfolios in certain fields
Interest in streamlining their process through increased capacity and speed
Reliance on CAEL’s Center as an interim resource while the institution prepares to launch or expand its own PLA program on campus
Over 80 colleges and universities serving as LearningCounts.org pilot institutions
Support from Joyce Foundation to work with two states on:
Target States: Indiana and Washington