Adult Learner

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Prior Learning Assessment

There is a common misconception that adult students can obtain college credit for prior experiences at work or in life.  This is not true--credit is never given for prior experience.  Credit may be given for learning that has occurred because of prior experience, if that learning can be proven (for example, by taking an exam) or documented (by preparing a portfolio to be assessed), and shown to match up with the learning outcomes for an SPSU course.


How PLA Works

SPSU has adopted Prior Learning Assessment standards to assist students in identifying and evaluating learning they have acquired outside the traditional college classroom for possible college credit.

Prior learning is learning gained through life or work outside of structured higher educational courses. Many people learn through their experiences in life such as those in professional endeavors (through business, the military, or other work and training experiences); or other educational experiences (through community work, family, travel, or personal study).

The PLA process guides students as they identify areas of relevant learning from past experiences.  Students can demonstrate learning through appropriate exams, such as CLEP exams, departmental challenge exams, or for military students, DANTES Credit by Exam.  In some academic programs, credit also can be obtained through preparation of a portfolio demonstrating that SPSU course objectives have been met, which is then submitted for assessment by a faculty expert.

For more information on PLA, please contact:

Dawn Ramsey
Office: 678-915-4287
Cell:    770-713-7337
C134B, Library Annex

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