Printed on: 04/20/2019. Please go to policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
Crookston Campus Policy

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Policy Owner: Registrar
Date Effective: 
January 2019
Date Revised: 
January 2019

POLICY STATEMENT

The University of Minnesota Crookston recognizes that significant learning can take place in many forms outside of the traditional classroom; i.e., “nontraditional learning.” Such learning may have resulted from participation in certain government, military, employment or other non-graded activities/courses.

Students requesting credits based upon prior learning experiences must:

  • submit a request for a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) within one year of matriculation or completion of the experience(s);
  • meet all UMC policy requirements, including fulfilling the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum and having satisfactorily completed a minimum of 120 credits to graduate; and
  • pay a UMC Prior Learning Assessment fee prior to the assessment process.

Students must be able to provide information, as specified below, for each prior learning experience to be assessed.

  • The learning must be equated to a specific course in the college's curriculum applicable to the student's certificate, minor or degree requirements.
  • The learning must be demonstrable.
  • The learning must have both a theoretical and an applied component. (See definitions.)
  • The learning must be college level.
  • The learning must be currently applicable.

Conducting Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs)

Evaluations for academic credit or waiver of program requirements will be conducted by the academic department(s) affected. Evaluations for credit or waiver of Liberal Education or Minnesota Transfer Curriculum requirements will be conducted by the academic department that offers the course.

Credits based upon PLAs by UMC generally do not transfer to other schools outside of the University of Minnesota system without reevaluation by their faculty in accordance with their academic policies. UMC does accept PLA credit evaluated and approved by other University of Minnesota System campuses. Credits based upon PLAs made by other institutions do not transfer to UMC without reevaluation by our faculty in accordance with UMC academic policies.

If granted as a result of the PLA, credit for prior learning would include either UMC academic credit or course requirement waivers. Students will be awarded no more than 18 credits for prior learning experiences though the PLA process.

Exclusion

Actual credit-based coursework as well as AP, CLEP, IB, DSST and other standardized exams do not fall within this policy.

REASON FOR POLICY

To provide students an opportunity to document “nontraditional learning” they have experienced and gain academic credit or course requirement waivers.

CONTACTS

Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact(s) Ken Myers 218-281-8548 umcreg@umn.edu

PROCEDURES

Portfolio Assessment

Evaluation of prior learning should include substantive information about the knowledge, competencies, attitudes, values, and other dimensions of personal development which the individual possesses. Credit for portfolio learning which has been acquired through work and life experiences is to be evaluated and substantiated through a formal portfolio assessment program which entails the following:

A. Requesting Approval to Proceed with Portfolio Development

  1. The student should review the UMC course titles and descriptions on the University of Minnesota Crookston catalog webpage.
  2. After the student determines the course(s) for which they wish to seek credit for prior learning, the student emails the Office of the Registrar at umnreg@umn.edu with a list of course(s) and the list of supporting documentation planned for use for each course.

After review by the Office of the Registrar, the student will be:

  • emailed an approval to proceed with the portfolio development for each course,
  • asked for additional details, or
  • informed that a portfolio is unlikely to be approved based on the information provided.

If the student has received approval to proceed with a portfolio, go to the University of Minnesota Crookston “Syllabus Manager” website to review the learning outcomes/objectives and course outline for each class for which a portfolio will be completed. Each learning outcome/objectives must be addressed in the written narrative (see "Required Components" below). Once approval to proceed has been granted, the final portfolio must be submitted for review within four months.

Required Components

Students, when developing their portfolio(s), are to address each of the evaluative criteria listed below:

  • The learning must be demonstrable.
  • The learning must have both a theoretical and an applied component. (See definitions.)
  • The learning must be college level.
  • The learning must be currently applicable.
  • The learning must be equated to a specific course in the college's curriculum applicable to the student's certificate, minor or degree requirements.

B. Preparing a Portfolio

The student begins preparing materials for the portfolio, which must include (at a minimum) the following:

  1. A cover page and table of contents page. On the cover page, please include both name and student ID number; the portfolio cannot and will not be processed if this number is not included.
  2. A written narrative (generally 6-10 pages) of intent/relevance/course requests, explaining in detail the student's theoretical and applied learning and how it meets the learning outcomes/objectives for the particular course. A separate portfolio must be completed for each course for which the student is seeking credit for life experience.
  3. A copy of the student's resume.
  4. Documentation which supports the information in the written narrative. This documentation may include certificates of completion for training courses, printouts of company-sponsored training records, letters of verification from current or previous supervisors, examples of student-compiled safety programs or other similar documents, and any other information which supports the student's narrative. (It is not necessary to send entire written programs; an example - for instance, one section of a program - is sufficient.) To support information with regard to on-the-job experience and duties, a detailed letter from a supervisor or manager is REQUIRED.
    • Students should not send any original documents that they wish to have returned, as the documents will not be copied nor returned. Enclose only photocopies. All information that is received by the Office of the Registrar will be kept in the student’s file in the Registrar’s Office, upon approval of the portfolio.

The student forwards the completed portfolios either by email to the Office of the Registrar at umcreg@umn.edu or by mail to the Office of the Registrar, 9 Hill Hall, 2900 University Ave. Crookston MN 56716.

C. Assessing/Evaluating the Portfolio

The subject matter expert(s) within the academic program will conduct the initial evaluation of the portfolio, and approved by the Department Head. The subject matter expert(s) will utilize the criteria delineated under the "Portfolio Assessment" section above when assessing credit for prior learning portfolios.

Once the Department Head approval has been obtained, the portfolio must then be verified by the Academic Standards & Policy Committee. Only upon completion of these steps will the applicable credit be awarded or the course requirement waived. The student must pay a UMC Prior Learning Assessment fee prior to the assessment process.

OTHER INFORMATION

Definitions

Applied Component
The experiential component of the learning described in the portfolio, which may include paid, civic, community, or volunteer work.
Portfolio
A document which is prepared by the student and which contains rationale, information, and material that demonstrates that the student has acquired knowledge and skills equivalent to that of a student completing college classroom course work for the same identified course(s).
Prior Learning
Non-college or experience-based learning that has been attained outside the sponsorship of accredited postsecondary education institutions.
Theoretical Component
The training component of the learning described in the portfolio, which may include correspondence or extension courses, as well as participation in formal courses and in-service training sponsored by associations, business, government, and industry.

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