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Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio

The Smart Choice

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio

Adult learners (non-traditional students) may possess knowledge and/or skills of college-level learning through work, training, volunteering, or personal experiences. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio development allows eligible students to petition for credits which will satisfy undergraduate degree requirements that cannot be met by other methods of advanced placement evaluation.

  1. As outlined, McNeese State University follows the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) policies regarding PLA Portfolio Assessment:
    1. College credit will be awarded only for college-level learning.
    2. Credit is awarded for learning having a balance between theory and practical application.
    3. Competence levels and credit awards are made by subject matter experts.
    4. Credit should be appropriate to academic course content.
    5. Credit awards and transcript entries are monitored to avoid duplication of credit.
    6. Policies and procedures are fully disclosed and available.
    7. Fees charged are based on services, not on the amount of credit.
    8. Personnel involved in assessment receive adequate training.
    9. Assessment programs are regularly monitored, reviewed, evaluated, and revised.
  2. PLA Portfolio development is a time intensive project, and the course, PLA 300: Prior Learning Portfolio Development, guides students through the process. PLA 300 prepares students to build and submit portfolios to petition for the awarding of college-level credit for experiential learning.
    1. To begin the process, the student must request approval to pursue credit through the PLA Portfolio process by submitting to the Testing Officer: 1) the Request to Pursue Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio Credit form, 2) a current resume, and 3) a syllabus for the course for which the student intends to submit a portfolio.
      1. The appropriate faculty assessor, department head, and dean will make a decision on the request within two weeks of the submission. The decision will be communicated to the student by the Testing Officer.
    2. If the student’s request is approved, and if the student has not earned credit for PLA 300, the student must successfully complete PLA 300 prior to submitting a portfolio for review. Successful completion of PLA 300 does not imply that the student’s submitted portfolio will beet current guidelines nor does it guarantee the awarding of credit for the submitted portfolio.
    3. Once PLA 300 has been successfully completed and the student has paid the $150 portfolio evaluation submission fee, the student can then submit the portfolio for evaluation to the Testing Officer. The portfolio must follow the University’s PLA portfolio guidelines in place at the time fo submission.
      1. To ensure that the portfolio will be evaluated prior to the end of the term in which it is submitted, the portfolio must be submitted to the Testing Officer no later than mid-term of the regular term as specified on the University calendar.
      2. The student must pay a non-refundable portfolio evaluation submission fee of $150 for each portfolio submitted.
    4. The Testing Officer will submit the portfolio to the head of the department offering the course for which PLA Portfolio credit is sought. The department head will then submit the portfolio to an appropriate faculty assessor who will evaluate the portfolio for consideration of college-level credit by using the University-approved rubric.
    5. Within four weeks of the date of submission of the Portfolio to the Testing Officer, the faculty assessor, with approval of the appropriate department head and dean, will complete the evaluation of the portfolio and make one of three decisions: award credit, deny credit, and request minor revisions. The Testing Officer will then communicate the results and return the portfolio to the student.
      1. If the portfolio is returned to the student for minor revisions, the student must return the modified portfolio by the specified deadline or the resulting decision will be to deny credit.
    6. If credit is awarded, the Testing Officer will submit the necessary documentation to the Director of Advanced Placement for processing.
  3. Students who elect the PLA Portfolio method must adhere to the following criteria when petitioning for credit:
    1. Petitioned credit does not duplicate previously awarded credit.
    2. Petitioned credit cannot be met by existing advanced placement opportunities.
    3. Petitioned credit must meet unfilled requirements within the degree plan.
    4. Petitions must match a course, meaning that students can only petition for credit based on course descriptions and syllabi from McNeese State University.
    5. Petitions are based on college-level learning.
    6. Petitions may not be submitted for a course that was previously denied credit through the PLA Portfolio.