Assessment of Prior Learning for Credit for College or University Degrees
Beefing up your credentials by obtaining college credit or degrees for what you learned from life!
Assessment of Prior Learning
Many students seeking admission to college or university programs of study are mature entrants
often with considerable work experience. Colleges and universities now seek to give credit for
assessed learning from whatever source, and Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) and Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) or Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) are the mechanisms by which this learning is assessed and can be credited towards credits toward degrees that will greatly help your job search qualifications.
The assessment of prior learning may be for one of two purposes:
1. It may give evidence that you have learning which will satisfy normal entry
requirements for the award you seek, e.g. it may allow you to enter an Executive MBA
Program although you do not have a degree qualification. Or it may be sufficient to top off other credits earned previously so that you can qualify for a degree.
2. It could be assessed as equivalent to learning you might otherwise undertake on your program, and you could be granted credit towards that program, thus reducing the
amount of study you need to gain an award. In this case the assessment of the learning is as rigorous as assessment of learning on the program, since the credit gained would count equally.
Types of Prior Learning
The learning you wish to count might be of two general categories, certificated or uncertificated. Certificated learning may be some earlier qualification that you have achieved through continuing education, or may be a stage or complete award of a professional qualification. Some professional awards have been credited against university awards, others can be assessed individually. Prior certificated learning is easy to demonstrate and may be a source of significant credit. You may also receive credit for the learning you acquired from courses that were not formally assessed or certificated.Uncertificated learning arising from experience is often at a level comparable to undergraduate or postgraduate study in its complexity, the range of knowledge underpinning it and in the demandsmade in implementing or applying it in the workplace. It can be time-consuming to describe and to document in ways that allow assessment. For this reason we suggest you begin with completion of gathering all your historical information and dates, and your detailed resume.For example, a recently qualified laboratory analyst with first degree and professional body membership might not have learned anything in the workplace which went beyond his or her formal qualifications. However, a design engineer with 10 years of experience will be considered when classifying the applicant for academic credit.
The criteria selected important to the evaluation are:
The kind of work processes, functions, or subject matter of work performed,
The qualifications required to do the work,
The level of difficulty and responsibility, and
The combination of classification factors which have the greatest influence on-job being performed.
Professional positions are evaluated by standards for professional work, administrative duties by criteria for administrative occupations, technical work by standards involving similar factors and skill levels, and clerical or administrative support positions by criteria describing comparable duties and responsibilities. Some positions involve performing different kinds and levels of work that, when separately evaluated in terms of duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required, are at different equivalent academic levels. The proper grade of such positions is determined by evaluation of the regularly assigned work that is paramount in the position. In most instances the highest-level work assigned to and performed by the employee for the majority of time in each job listed is grade determining. When the highest level of work is a smaller portion of the job, it may be grade-controlling only if:
The work is officially assigned to the position on a regular and continuing basis;
It is a significant and substantial part of the overall position (i.e., occupying at least 25 percent of the employee’s time); and
The higher-level knowledge and skills needed to perform the work would be required in recruiting for the position if it became vacant. The “paramount requirement” of a
position refers to the essential, prerequisite knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the primary duty or responsibility for which the position has been established and in determining academic equivalency, if applicable.
Methods of Determining Qualifications for Obtaining Credit for Prior Learning
The accepted process begins with your essay or personal statement offering comments about your life and your CV or your resume that must provide details of your work history, your jobs and other factors important to you and the assessment process. Some of the methods used to assess these qualifications are:
1. Standardized Testing
2. Correspondence Courses
3. Military Credits
4. Competency Assessment
5. Approved Licenses and Certificates
If you have any of the above, be certain to include the details with the submission.
Standardized Testing: CLEP, DSST, DANTES and ACT PEP
If you have already been tested for the purpose of establishing academic credit, Some universities recognizes the CLEP, DSST, DANTES, and ACT PEP standardized tests for credit and accepts the recommended score scale.
Correspondence courses completed from other colleges or universities are transferable when approved by the Director.
Training and other courses are individually assessed based upon the standards of the American Council on Education and the requirements of the particular college or university.
Competency Assessment provides the opportunity for adults with substantial personal and/or professional experiences to request assessment of competencies in a number of areas, abilities or competency frameworks. Competence is defined as the ability to perform effectively in a given field.
It implies that the individual possesses sufficient knowledge and skill to solve problems and to accomplish tasks. Through Competency Assessment, the student is expected to demonstrate that he/she possesses that general competence. This method is especially useful to:
Sports Executives or Personalities
Health Care Professionals
Approved Licenses and Certificates
Academic credit may be earned for professional licenses and certificates that are current. Think about all that you know gain academic credit for job and life knowledge! Types of work experience that may qualify:
Clerical occupations involve structured work in support of office, business, or fiscal operations.Clerical work is performed in accordance with established policies, procedures, or techniques; and requires training, experience, or working knowledge related to the tasks to be performed. Clerical work typically involves general office or program support duties such as preparing,receiving, reviewing, and verifying documents; processing transactions; maintaining office records; locating and compiling data or information from files; keeping a calendar and informing others of deadlines and other important dates; and using keyboards to prepare typewritten material or to store or manipulate information for data processing use. The work requires knowledge of an organization’s rules, some degree of subject matter knowledge, and skill in carrying out clerical processes and procedures.
Employees engaged in administrative work are concerned with analyzing, evaluating, modifying,and developing the basic programs, policies, and procedures that facilitate the work of others and that of their employer. They apply knowledge of administrative analysis, theory, and principles in adapting practice to the unique requirements of a particular program.
Professional work requires knowledge in a field of science or learning characteristically acquired through education or training equivalent to a bachelor’s or higher degree with major study in or pertinent to the specialized field, as distinguished from general education. Work is professional when it requires the exercise of discretion, judgment, and personal responsibility and interpretations, and to improve data, materials, and methods.
Jobs within an occupation frequently vary so extensively from employer to employer that it is not possible to reflect in a standard all the possible combinations and permutations of duties and responsibilities. Proper application of standards, therefore, requires the use of judgment that reflects more than just a mechanical matching of specific words or phrases in employment standards. The importance of a detailed CV or resume cannot be over stressed. Considerable judgment is needed in determining where work being classified fits into the continuum of duties and responsibilities described by any standard and how to determine academic equivalency.
Major duties are those that represent the primary reason for the position’s existence, and that govern the qualification requirements. Typically, they occupy most of the employee’s time. Minor duties generally occupy a small portion of time, are not the primary purpose for which the position was established, and do not determine qualification requirements.