Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the process through which students can earn college credit by identifying and documenting college-level learning that has been acquired through life experiences such as military and/or work experience, training, professional certification, independent study, volunteer activities, and hobbies (e.g., astronomy, history, travel, cultural and/or fine arts).

The four most common options for requesting PLA credits are the following:

  1. Equivalency Examination - Standardized national exams may be equated to equivalent courses. The equivalency examination must be approved by appropriate faculty and/or Division Chairperson. Requests for credit by equivalency exam can be submitted at any time during the semester. Examples of such examinations include the following:
    AP – Advanced Placement Examination
    CLEP – College-Level Examination Program
    DSST – DANTES Subject Standardized Tests
    IB – International Baccalaureate
  2. Non-Collegiate-Sponsored Education Credit (NCSE) - This evaluates learning from courses completed in non-collegiate settings (e.g., professional licenses, labor union courses, agency training programs, professional workshops, and military courses) whose course content is equivalent to offerings from a college. The non-collegiate-sponsored education credit must be approved by appropriate faculty and/or Division Chairperson. Examples of such education credit include the following:
    1. Military (e.g., Joint Services Transcript)
    2. American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service
    3. Professional Licenses or Industry Certifications (nationally-or state-certified professionals)
  3. Course Challenge / Credit by Institutional Examination (CBIE) - Students who feel confident that their background/learning experiences have adequately prepared them in certain subject areas may challenge instructor-prepared examinations. In a Course Challenge/CBIE, students must demonstrate competency in a specific course and meet all Course Student Learning Outcomes (CSLOs) by completing, without instruction or tutorial assistance, a comprehensive written test, performance test, special project, and/or interview in the subject matter. The credit by examination must be approved by appropriate faculty and/or Division Chairperson. Note: Course Challenge option is not available for all courses. Courses for which credit is awarded based on Course Challenge/CBIE do not carry grades or grade points. Request for Exam by Institutional Credit may be submitted until week 12 of instruction (fall/spring).

    Credit by examination carries no credit and does not contribute towards full-time student status (required for Veterans’ benefits and Financial Aid).

  4. Portfolio-based Assessment - Prior learning must be documented with verifiable evidence of the concepts learned, relevant skills acquired, and the achievement level attained. Testimonial statements and/ or references are required from qualified individuals (content experts, such as supervisors, co-workers, or personnel staff) who must also provide their credentials and qualifications of expertise. Credit for such prior learning must be approved by appropriate faculty and/or Division Chairperson. Note: Courses for which credit is awarded based on Portfolio-based Assessment do not carry grades or grade points. Students must initiate requests for credit by Portfolio-based Assessment by the end of the add/drop period.

Please see your academic advisor to review procedures for PLA detailed in policy (https://www.kauai.hawaii.edu/sites/www.kauai.hawaii.edu/files/pdf/KCCPs/4-16PriorLearningAssessment.pdf).

Student Counseling

Location: One Stop Center, 1st Floor
Phone: (808) 245-8212
Email: counsca@hawaii.edu
Website: http://kauai.hawaii.edu/academic-advising