CAEL just released a study of the impact of prior learning assessment (PLA) on student learning and academic success, based on findings from 48 colleges and universities. The study found significantly higher graduation and persistence rates among students who earned prior learning credit when compared to non-PLA students, as well as shorter time-to-degree and higher GPA. You can read the findings here. Also, for an article in Higher Ed Impact offering practical advice on how to move beyond offering challenge exams to more rigorous tools for PLA, read Techniques For Assessing Prior Learning.
One of the most significant challenges in adopting prior learning assessment is the lack of awareness among faculty of both the rigor and the results of PLA (when done well), and resistance to awarding credit for learning achieved outside the classroom. This week, we asked Denise Hart, director of adult education and creator of the Success Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and author of a landmark study of prior learning assessment portfolios; and Tracy Cosker, associate vice president for transfer students at the American Public University System, for tactics for establishing buy-in with the academic side of the house to assess prior learning.