What is Prior Learning Evaluation?


During the course of their personal and work life, most adults develop specialized skills and knowledge that are equivalent to college coursework.  AUM S&T has developed the Prior Learning Evaluation process as a way for adult students to earn academic credit for knowledge and experience gained outside of a traditional classroom.  Prior Learning includes all college-level learning before admission to AUM S&T. This includes formal learning gained through successful completion of coursework sponsored by the military and government agencies; it also includes knowledge obtained through career experience, volunteer work, the utilization of artistic abilities, and proficiency in computers and foreign language (this includes sign language). By utilizing AUM S&T’s Prior Learning Evaluation program you can complete your college degree faster and at less expense.

The most important thought to keep in mind about Prior Learning is that credit is not awarded for experiences but for the student's ability to demonstrate that these experiences are equivalent to college-level learning. That is, students must demonstrate, with the guidance of the faculty evaluators, that they possess knowledge reflected in the coursework taught at the college level.

Here are some examples of learning that may translate into Prior Learning credit:

  • non-credit courses
  • employer sponsored training
  • independent reading
  • hobbies
  • travel
  • professional development workshops
  • volunteer activities
  • community service

Examples of Prior Learning
The following are some examples of life experiences that may earn Prior Learning credit:

Volunteer Work
A student had volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding facility which serves adults and children with autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy.  This student’s volunteer position included training in Hippotherapy, a form of physical and occupational therapy utilizing equine movement.  The student met with an evaluator from the Social Work department and was given 8 credits.

Starting/Owning A Business
A student who had been co-owner of a bakery had substantial experience managing employees, as well as doing a lot of work in sales and public relations.  The student met with a faculty evaluator, who determined her experience was equivalent to classes in Communication, Conflict Management and Creative Problem Solving.  This student earned 12 credits through Prior Learning.

Professional Training
A student had enrolled in an Advanced Leadership training program while working for the US Postal Service.  The training program covered material that was equivalent to classes in management, organizational behavior, and managerial finance and allowed the student to earn 12 credits through Prior Learning.

Foreign Language Skills
Proficiency in a foreign language can earn students up to 18 credits.  Students’ language proficiency is evaluated by an oral and written test administered by a faculty member from the foreign language department.

Construction Skills
A student passed examinations given by a state to be a licensed contractor in the construction industry.  That same student took workshops on green building.  A student mentored under a highly experienced construction contractor for a number of years. 

Independent Studies
A student had a particular interest in a time period in history and read extensively about that time period.

Occupational
 Student was a radio broadcaster.  In that role the student was required to study and learn about various genres of music, performers, and the music industry.  In addition the student was required to understand principles of broadcasting, management, and communication.

Documentation and Demonstration of Achievement
All Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition requires evidence. The student has the primary responsibility for preparing the evidence that learning has taken place and that it contributes to an appropriate balance of theory and practical application.   Tangible proof of competence can be provided through documentation of accomplishments or demonstration of skill and knowledge. Depending on the subject area, certain types of documentation or demonstration are more useful than others.  Documentation includes statements about what the student learned in the area that they are applying for credit.

Equivalencies:
Course equivalencies are awarded to learners who have completed and been evaluated in programs, professional licenses, or professional certificates outside of the college or university system.  These programs and credentials are evaluated by AUM S&T and credit may be granted if the program or credential meets the assessment criteria.

Portfolios:
Summarize the learning gained from non-formal learning experiences. It is a collection of information that demonstrates the depth and breadth of what the learner knows and/or can do. A portfolio can be used as a "stand alone" or in combination with other methods of assessment. It provides evidence of learning. A portfolio is generally compiled and organized in a binder for assessment.

Portfolio Assisted Assessment:
Combines the portfolio with other examples of achievement. For example, with products, performance simulations, interviews, oral exams, and skills demonstrations:

    * Products may include a selection of fine art, computer software, poems, books, stories
    * Performances may include dance, music and theatre and may be live or video taped
    * Simulations such as role play. Useful when it is either to expensive or impractical to bring in actual products or to arrange a live performance
    * Interviews and oral exams provide a more personalized assessment which may clarify areas of learning
    * Skills demonstrations assess hands on learning such as competence in operating special equipment or conducting lab experiments

With a portfolio, learners are able to demonstrate how acquired competencies match what would have been learned from completing a formal course.
Typical Elements of an AUM S&T Portfolio:

    * Cover page: name, address, phone number, and title of course equivalency requested and table of contents
    * Chronological record: details of significant activities including work experience, volunteer experience, and non-formal learning
    * Statement of educational and career goals (approximately 500 words)
    * Description of competencies, knowledge and skills
    * Materials: such as job descriptions, performance appraisals, transcripts, samples of work, testimonials, certificates of attendance, previous credentials, awards and any other materials that document evidence of knowledge of the assessed subject area
    * Narrative: to convey to the assessor that the learner has acquired the knowledge applicable to the course description under assessment

Portfolio Assessment Process and Credit Granting
Prior learning will be assessed by qualified specialists; approved by the relevant department/program, who have expertise in the area to be assessed. Credit will be based on the assessor’s evaluation. You may be required to complete top-up learning activities if you do not meet all of the requirements. Transcripts will be recorded according to the number of credits granted.

Assessment fees are determined by the credit awarded.  The current fee is $30 per CU awarded (scholarship available in cases of need).

Eligibility
1. A learner requesting PLE must normally be admitted to AUM S&T before the PLE process will be commenced.

2. PLE can be used to accumulate credit in programs or to satisfy admission requirements to certain programs upon approval by the appropriate department chair.

Application
For application for Prior Learning Assessment please email aumcourses@aumscience.com