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Prior Learning Experience

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Through rigorous evaluation, PLA measures student learning that has occurred outside the college classroom to determine whether it is appropriate for college credit. It, then, applies an equivalent number of college credits to the learning. Credits earned through PLA are connected to learning outcomes, not measures of seat time. PLA does not award credit for “life experience.” Rather, it awards credit for college-level learning (knowledge, skills, and competencies) that students have obtained as a result of their prior learning experiences.

PLA is not a method of evaluation but, instead, a blanket-term for a number of methods. Examples of PLA methods are:
• Individualized portfolio-based assessments, such as the English department’s portfolio program;
Standardized exams, such as College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP) Examination Program, and International Baccalaureate (IB); and
• Customized proficiency exams created by individual departments such as is currently done at Miami in criminal justice, computer information technology, mathematics, business technology, and computer science.

Students interested in prior learning credit not subject to standardized exams should contact their department chair for more information.