Environmental Scan of Prior Learning Assessment Policies and Practices

Download: Environmental Scan of PLA Policies and Practices

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is an underutilized strategy for accelerating college completion and the attainment of industry-recognized credentials and shorter-term degrees by low-income adults deemed low-skilled by academic assessments. A Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) study of 48 postsecondary institutions, Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success, found that 56% of the students who earned some credit through prior learning completed a degree within seven years, compared to only 21% of students who received no credit for prior learning. Latino students are 7 ½ times more likely to persist if they receive some credit via PLA.

Reinvigorating PLA is emerging as a priority across the US, as well as in the Massachusetts landscape. The NCTN partnered with CAEL and National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) with funding from SkillWorks to produce this report, which provides recommendations on how PLA policies and practices might be strengthened, expanded, and promoted as an effective acceleration strategy in creating bridges to college completion and job attainment for low-skilled adults in the Metro Boston area.