In the Access program, we recognize that not all learning takes place within the college classroom. With that in mind, Access students may be offered credit for prior learning experiences based on previous training and experience. Adults bring a wide variety of skills and experiences to the classroom, and the Access program gives them the opportunity to have those skills and experiences assessed for possible college credit.
Students may earn credit for prior learning through a portfolio-based process. Questions and answers about portfolios are listed below.
1. What is Prior Learning Assessment?
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a general term used by Point University to describe all college-level credit awarded for learning acquired in nonacademic settings and/or from unaccredited sources. PLA covers learning documented by the Portfolio process, Certified Prior Learning (CPL) as determined by a Point-approved agency (e.g., ACE or PONSI). The vice president of professional studies and the associate director of professional studies manages the prior learning process.
2. What is the limit for PLA credit?
A maximum of 20 credits can be granted for prior learning. This includes credit awarded by Certified Prior Learning and the Portfolio process.
Prior learning credit is counted separately from credit transferred in from an unaccredited institution. Theoretically, a student could acquire 20 credits of prior learning and transfer the maximum of 20 credits from an unaccredited institution.
3. Can I use PLA to substitute for core requirements in the major?
Prior learning credits may not be used for core requirements in the major. These credits may be applied to the general education or general electives requirements for the degree.
4. What is CPL?
Certified Prior Learning applies to credit awarded based on the recommendation from Point University or nationally recognized accrediting agencies. Copies of the certificate must accompany the request for CPL credit. There is no cost involved in adding this type of credit to a transcript.
Examples of certificates include: advanced first aid/CPR training, scuba license, Boeing training programs, MCSE, real estate and insurance licenses, etc.
5. What is ACE?
American Council on Education. The Council is composed of more than 1500 institutions of higher learning and national and regional education associations, and is the major nongovernmental body in the United States concerned with postsecondary education. ACE evaluates training programs, determines the level of college learning and recommends the amount of credit that should be granted.
Examples of training and/or companies listed in ACE include: PADI, IBM, AT&T School of Business and Technology, and Verizon.
6. What is PONSI?
Program on Non-collegiate Sponsored Instruction. PONSI evaluates training programs, determines the level of college learning and recommends the amount of credit that should be granted. The program also provides college recognition for formal military education and training.
Examples of companies listed in PONSI include: American Express, Dale Carnegie, and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
7. What is CAEL?
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. CAEL is a national leader in the fields of adult learning and workforce development. It was founded in 1974, under the auspices of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, N.J. (ETS administers national exams like the SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.) CAEL standards for awarding credit are followed by Point University and other accredited institutions.
8. What is Portfolio?
Portfolio refers to the course and the document produced to show prior learning acquired in a nonacademic setting. The documentation must show that the learning is college level. Examples would be speech skills and informal training learned on the job as a salesperson; project/personnel management skills; conflict negotiation; or human resource management.
Credit obtained via the Portfolio process will be applied to electives or general education requirements. Courses that are part of the major are not considered eligible for substitution through the Portfolio process.
Students wishing to apply for credit through a portfolio must register for Portfolio Assessments, APSP 205.
Course Description: This course demonstrates how to prepare a portfolio that documents and validates a student’s life experiences, course work, equivalency tests and professional trainings that have generated learning outcomes at the college level in specifically targeted areas. Special emphasis is placed upon critical thinking and responding to the higher issues of life in context of the scripture and Christian worldview. Through this phase of study, students examine their own beliefs and learn to state them clearly and convincingly. The deliverables will include a prepared portfolio that describes personal experiences that are relevant to one or more student chosen content areas and present life learning that meet the objectives for such content areas as defined in specific course offerings. Course offerings can include any course offered in an accredited institution of higher learning.
9. How do I know if I should write a Portfolio?
If credit cannot be obtained through CPL, then students should consider writing a Portfolio. Students should write a Portfolio if they can document college-level learning in areas for which no class is offered through traditional methods. This level of learning might be achieved through on-the-job training, many years of experience, or work done on a hobby over many years.
Examples might be human resource management skills from on-the-job training and years of experience in the field; business administration or management skills acquired on the job over a period of time; etc. Contact the vice president of professional studies for more information.
10. What constitutes college-level learning?
College-level learning must demonstrate the following characteristics:
- Be measurable;
- Be at a level of achievement defined by the faculty as university equivalent or consistent with the learning of other students engaged in university studies;
- Be applicable outside the specific job or context in which it was learned;
- Have a knowledge base;
- Be reasonably current;
- Imply a conceptual or theoretical as well as a practical understanding;
- Show some relationship to degree goals and/or lifelong learning goals; and
- Not repeat learning for which credit has already been awarded.
11. How much does the Portfolio assessment process cost?
Upon submission of a Portfolio for evaluation, students will be charged $75 per credit assessed; i.e., a three credit course would be charged like any other course to be evaluated by a faculty member with expertise in the subject matter (the fee for the faculty assessment is included in the course tuition).
12. Does financial aid cover the cost of Portfolio evaluations?
No, unfortunately financial aid is not available to pay for the evaluations. However, depending on what you are eligible for, you may have a refund due after other expenses to Point are paid, and those funds could be used to pay for these credits. You can contact the financial aid director for more information.
13. Who evaluates the completed Portfolio?
Point professors with expertise in the areas documented will evaluate the Portfolios. The department head of the respective department will give final approval to the Portfolio and the amount of credit granted. Submitting a portfolio does not guarantee that credit will be granted.
14. What happens after the Portfolio is evaluated?
If the Portfolio is approved for credit, the completed evaluation form will be sent to the Registrar’s Office. The credit will be posted to the student’s transcript and will be identified as credit by Portfolio. The Portfolio will be kept by the Access office for accrediting purposes.
If the Portfolio is not approved for credit, it will be returned to the student. At the evaluator’s discretion, more information may be requested and a revised Portfolio may be submitted once for review.
15. When can I start the Portfolio process?
Portfolios may be submitted at any time during the student’s tenure at the college. Contact the enrollment office for more information.