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Today’s Agenda. Identifying the Scope of the Problem Background on Prior Learning Assessments What it is How it can help Who is CAEL? Why How it works Who uses it Its impact on recruiting and graduation rates Questions. About Your Presenters. Cathy Brigham, Ph.D.

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today s agenda
Today’s Agenda
  • Identifying the Scope of the Problem
  • Background on Prior Learning Assessments
          • What it is
          • How it can help
          • Who is CAEL?
  • Why
          • How it works
          • Who uses it
          • Its impact on recruiting and graduation rates
  • Questions
about your presenters
About Your Presenters
  • Cathy Brigham, Ph.D.
  • Director of Academic Programs
  • CAEL,
  • Jo-Carol Fabianke, Ed.D.
  • Associate Vice Chancellor
  • Alamo Colleges

Why College Completion Matters

  • U.S. position as a world leader in education has slipped from 4th – 11th (1997 – 2009)
  • By 2018, 63% of jobs will require some college or above

Source: Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018, Georgetown University, Center for Education and the Workforce, June 2010

tools to meet these workforce needs
Tools to Meet these Workforce Needs
  • Common core initiatives / Transferability
  • 2+2 programs create alliances between affordable community colleges and strong four-year programs
  • Dual-enrollment programs encourage a more prepared K-16 pipeline

But these are traditional approaches to a nontraditional problem.

finite number of traditional students focus on adult learners
Finite number of traditional students –Focus on adult learners
  • Increase the numbers of highly-trained, college-educated individuals in the workforce
  • Prepare for emerging industries
  • Build on transferable skills

Focus On Adult Learners

  • Increase the numbers of highly-trained, college-educated individuals in the workforce
  • Prepare for emerging industries
  • Build on transferable skills
barriers to participation
Barriers to Participation
  • Access
  • Affordability
  • Aspiration

What is PLA?

Prior Learning Assessment is a process for evaluating knowledge and skills in order to award college credit for learning from:

how pla can help graduation rates
How PLA Can Help:Graduation Rates

Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success, CAEL, March 2010



  • Not enough colleges granting credit for prior learning
  • Need for consistent standards
  • Adult learners are not aware of PLA so they often repeat what they already know
  • Need for a national, on-line approach with easy access
  • Ability to use faculty experts nationwide to review learning portfolios in various disciplines


  • One-Stop Shop for PLA
  • Free academic advising
  • Individualized portfolio development and review

Why educates adult learners about the multiple ways people can

earn college credit forwhat they already know.


Students have the option tospeak one-on one with a PLA advisorto find out which PLA option is right for them


Individualized Portfolios

CAEL 100: Prior Learning Assessment Theory and Practice

  • Six-weeks, credit-bearing, online course
  • Facilitated by an instructor
  • Asynchronous
  • Courses start every few weeks
  • Teaches students how to recognize and document college level learning; leads them through the development of their portfolio.
  • Cost: $500

Individualized Portfolios

Create and Submit Portfolios

  • Each portfolio may contain up to 6 credits in any one discipline
  • Faculty from colleges and universities from across the country will evaluate portfolios and make credit recommendations
  • Two week turn-around
  • Credits will be recorded on an American Council on Education (ACE CREDIT) transcript
  • Cost: $250 for 1-6 credits attempted

Faculty Assessors

Nearly 800 faculty applications, 71 faculty assessors trained

Online training for assessors

(example?, screenshot?)

who uses learningcounts org
Who Uses
  • Learners (matriculated and non)
  • Institutions – marketing, accreditation, retention and completion improvement plans
  • Corporations
  • Workforce boards
  • Professional associations
  • Military to Medicine
  • Veterans Upward Bound
  • Achieving the Dream
student benefits
Student Benefits
  • Access to free academic advising
  • Information on all major forms of PLA
  • Online – accessible – affordable
  • National roster of faculty ensure coverage of all disciplines
  • Credit-bearing course guiding them through portfolio
  • Timely review of portfolios
  • Transcription of results by ACE
  • Fast, convenient, and reputable
  • Access to philanthropic support

Walmart Foundation Stipends

The Walmart Learning Assessment Stipends program will ensure services offered by are available to low-income students.

The stipends will fully support:

1. Enrollment in CAEL 100 (a $500 value)

2. Evaluation of one (or more) portfolio(s)

For requests greater than six credits or across multiple disciplines, students may submit additional portfolios for a fee of $250/portfolio.

achieving the dream
Achieving the Dream
  • Achieving the Dream and have partnered to remove obstacles that face adult students and accelerate the pace their learning.
jeff reardon
Jeff Reardon
  • 33 years old
  • Completed Associates Degree
  • 7 years experience in Finance
  • Saved > $3000 in tuition
  • Graduating May 2012

Here, a student testimonial was played during the live presentation. To access all of our student testimonials, please visit:


Become a Partner


  • Benefit your institution, faculty, and students
  • Instant capacity to recruit, serve, and retain more adult learners
  • Administer a PLA program simply and cost-effectively
  • Refer your students to CAEL 100 and the portfolio process
  • Eligible for Walmart Foundation stipends


  • Agree to accept credit recommendations
  • Institutional-level membership in CAEL

PartnerPlus Program


  • Turn-key service with administrative and training support
  • Option to list CAEL 100 in your academic catalog
  • Flexibility to set your own tuition and assessment rates
  • Ability to transcribe assessment results directly


  • Institutional-level membership in CAEL
  • Annual service fee

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