The role of a Prior Learning Assessment evaluator is critical to the success and legitimacy of a PLA program for an institution. The process of awarding college credit for life and work experience needs a distinct framework around which to function.

There are three stages regardless of how the prior learning is assessed:

The first is that evaluators recognize students’ learning and students have to recognize their own learning. Higher education is accustomed to recognizing learning that takes place in the classroom, but not learning that was acquired from other sources. Students are also not accustomed to recognizing their own learning, or to articulate that learning.

The next stage is a CLEP exam, to a portfolio process whereby the student documents the learning and provides evidence. Not only is the learning validated, but it is being validated at a college-level. That means that the assessment criteria must be aligned within an institution to determine if any learning is college-level.

The third part of the process is to credential the learning; that is credit is awarded for the learning and can be applied to a degree, certification or diploma.

The following presentation showcases the framework around which experiential learning can, and should be assessed to provide optimal results for the student and the institution: