Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)
The Adult Learning Consortium defines an adult learner s possessing any one of the following three characteristics at the time of his or her enrollment/reenrollment:
- 25+ years old
- 20-24 years old with fewer than 30 credit hours completed
- 5 Years since high school completion
Some adult learners will have acquired college-level knowledge and insight through work experiences or through educational experiences and courses that did not carry college credit. The process of validating these experiences and assigning college credit to them is called Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). At Gordon State College a student can seek Prior Learning Assessment by using national examinations, by examination connected to specific Gordon courses, by assigning of credit for formal courses and tests connected to the workplace and validated by the American Council on Education (ACE), and by portfolio evaluation. If a student seeks Prior Learning Assessment, he or she should contact the Adult Learning Coordinator, Professor Tonya Moore. Ms. Moore will guide the student through the process.
By far the most frequently used mechanisms for PLA at Gordon are national examinations such as CLEP tests (College Level Examination Program), AP Tests (Advanced Placement Tests) and DANTES tests (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support). Through these testing services, there are tests that provide credit for most courses in Areas A-E of the Core Curriculum; for many courses in various Area F’s of the Core Curriculum, and some upper-level courses. For information on these tests, refer to the Gordon State College Testing Center.
As mentioned above, there are national examinations that can yield credit for most 1000 and 2000 level courses. However, if there is a course at any level for which there is no such test, sometimes credit can be given on the basis of examination developed on the Gordon campus. A currently enrolled student who can present satisfactory evidence that he or she is qualified in a particular subject may petition to take a departmental examination in that subject. Satisfactory evidence may be but is not limited to work experience, non-credit courses, course work at non-accredited institutions, or military courses. However, campus-based exams will not be permitted for courses for which the student has previously taken an examination for credit or was previously enrolled at Gordon State College.
Courses, Examinations, and Experiences Validated by ACE
In some cases formal courses and examinations that take place outside of traditional degree programs have been evaluated by the American Council on Education and recommended for credit. If a student can provide evidence of such experiences to the Adult Learning Coordinator, she will assemble a team of faculty evaluators to look at the course or examination and make recommendations relative to college credit.
For Military Transcripts for ACE review click here: JST
If a student has had college-level learning experiences that cannot be evaluated using the aforementioned mechanisms, he or she may wish to consider portfolio evaluation. Under the guidance of the Adult Learning Coordinator, the student would sign up as a transient in a section of PLA 2000 at a sister institution. In that course the student would be guided as she or he prepares appropriate documentation to substantiate a request for credit. These materials would then be reviewed by a disciplinary expert.