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Dedicated Prior Learning Assessment Website in the Works for PA Community Colleges

Posted on 3/26/2014 by AcademyOne  

AcademyOne has been awarded a contract to develop and implement a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Website and Application/Assessment/e-Portfolio System for the fourteen Community Colleges in the State. The fully automated system, scheduled to go live in September, will help the institutions determine if a student is eligible for PLA credit and the best way to award it.

Recognition of prior learning can be a win-win for everyone:

  • Learners of all types are encouraged to pursue or further their education by avoiding duplication of previous learning, as well as having their achievements from work and life achievements validated. Receiving credit for already achieved knowledge and competencies can shorten time to degree completion, may reduce the cost of education and supports career development.
  • Institutions and states see an increase in student recruitment, retention and degree completion by opening up avenues of student access to a broad range of learners.
  • Workplace and society are rewarded with the growth of a more productive, capable and better educated workforce.

Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges realized the need to accelerate efforts to attract and retain adults who want to be reemployed with as little time in the classroom as possible. Their 2010 President’s “Think Tank” initiative resulted in being selected as a 2011 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Round 1 (TAACCCT1) recipient to improve educational and employment outcomes for TAA workers, or those unemployed or underemployed. The Colleges are leveraging the initial Department of Labor investment by adding important applications to a shared framework, which was identified as a priority service area for increasing student success. As a result, a more robust Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process will give workers in the State a distinct educational advantage.

About AcademyOne

AcademyOne is a consulting and software development firm working in the higher education sphere. We deliver industry-leading solutions to states and institutions who wish to improve student retention and degree completion rates, especially among the growing population of nontraditional learners.

About the Goal of the Pennsylvania Community Colleges

This project will allow the Colleges to: develop uniform standards and processes for PLA, including standard elements in any portfolio; adopt national competencies and define regional competencies; identify ways to best serve veterans; maximize opportunities for students to earn credit; build a network of faculty assessors and ensure they are trained to standards; establish a student fee schedule and payment structure for assessors; and, create higher visibility for PLA with prospective students. The program will provide new avenues for student completion. Given the research that exists on the success of PLAs, promoting their use will help students complete credentials.

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