Original Issuance Date: August 13, 2021
Last Revision Date: August 13, 2021
1. Purpose of Procedures
These procedures provide information regarding university administration and delivery of prior learning assessment (PLA), the assessment and credit award for prior learning attained through UW-sponsored non-credit programming, and prior learning evaluated using credit recommendations and/or based on industry licensure or certifications.
2. Responsible UW System Officer
Associate Vice President of Academic Programs & Faculty Development
External assessment: An assessment of prior learning that was created by, administered by, and evaluated by verified content experts outside of the UW institution.
Industry exams and credentials: External assessment of workplace-based or industry training that includes a required demonstration of competency that, upon review of a verified content expert, may result in certification, licensure, or credit recommendations.
Internal assessment: An assessment of prior learning that was created by and administered by a UW university and evaluated by a content expert within a UW university.
Portfolio assessment: A PLA tool that comprises a collection of artifacts, reflections and evidence that are organized by student learning outcomes associated with a specific university course or academic program requirement.
Prior learning assessment (PLA): The practice of recognizing, evaluating, and awarding credit for college-level learning acquired outside the confines of university-sponsored credit instruction.
A. Establishing University PLA Policy and Procedures
- UW System Administration adopts the Higher Learning Commission’s Assumed Practices relating to the establishment of university policies regarding the award of credits for prior learning. Please consult guidelines for additional information. (Reference CRRT.B.10.020(B)(g) and reference Criterion 4.A.2).
- Each institution should adopt a clear policy statement regarding maximum number of credits that will be awarded for prior learning assessment.
- Prior learning assessment credit may be awarded at any time after the student is admitted to the university.
- UW universities must provide opportunities for admitted students to demonstrate college-level learning through the review of completed military training and occupations and credit recommendations in accordance with Chapter 36.31(4)(am)(bm), Wis. Stats.
- Notwithstanding [reference standardized exam section], each university will establish and implement procedures regarding the award of credit for prior learning evaluated through:
- Departmental assessments, portfolio assessments, or other forms of direct assessment developed by the university.
- A UW sponsored non-credit instruction to credit award pathway.
- The review of completed industry exams, industry credentials, and/or credit recommendations or
- A combination of formats.
- UW System institutions should consider if and how prior learning assessment will be incorporated within new academic program proposals developed under UW System Administrative Policy 102, Policy on University of Wisconsin System Array Management: Program Planning, Delivery, Review, and Reporting and UW System Administrative Procedure 102.A, New Academic Degree Programs, Changes to Academic Degree Programs, and Additional SYS 102 Items.
- Each UW university will establish methodologies to collect and aggregate student-level data that will aid institutional and System-wide prior learning assessment evaluation efforts.
B. Each UW Transcription of Credit Awarded by Prior Learning Assessment
- When a UW institution grants credit for prior learning as a result of an internal assessment, the institution will record the credit awarded as a course equivalent.
- In instances when the competencies assessed, and credit awarded cannot be linked to a specific course equivalency, the institution will record the credit within an academic discipline or department.
- UW universities will utilize a recognizable transcription category that will serve to identify credits awarded for an internal prior learning assessment or as the result of a third-party credit recommendation.
- UW universities will list credit awarded by internal prior learning assessment at the top of the transcript.
C. Transfer of Credit Awarded by Internal Prior Learning Assessment
- Undergraduate credit for prior learning that is internally reviewed, assessed, and transcribed as a course equivalent by one UW institution will be evaluated for transfer credit by all UW institutions.
- The receiving institution will determine the course equivalent credits they will grant to the student and how the credit will apply to the degree, guided by existing institutional policies.
- UW institutions will advise students that, in the event the student transfers to another UW, the receiving institution will review credits transferred and determine how the credit will apply to the degree.
5. Related Documents
Chapter 36.31(4)(am), Wis. Stats. “Except as provided in par. (bm), upon receiving from the federal department of defense a student’s official joint services transcript or Community College of the Air Force transcript, the institution or college campus in which the student is enrolled shall do the following: (1) Accept all American Council on Education credit recommendations included in the official joint services transcript and award academic credit to the student in accordance with these recommendations. (2) Accept all credits included in the Community College of the Air Force transcript and award academic credit to the student accordingly.”
Chapter 36.31(4)(bm), Wis. Stats. “An institution or college campus may not award academic credit to a student under par. (am) for each course for which the student, upon consultation with the institution’s or college campus’s staff, objects to the awarding of credit for that course.”