Prior Learning Assessments | WKCTC

Prior Learning Assessments

The Prior Learning Assessment at West Kentucky Community & Technical College is designed to award credit for college-level learning derived from experiences outside the classroom.

There are a number of methods for granting college credit for prior learning, including:

  • Recognized industry certifications
  • Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exams
  • Special Technical Education Proficiency (STEP) exams
  • Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio

See the industry certifications and professional licensures that are currently accepted at KCTCS and the maximum credit that can be awarded for each. Requirements for the awarding of prior learning credit through industry based credentials vary by discipline, and you should be aware of the particular requirements for your program area. Please speak with your advisor about the options available.

Not all courses offer a competency exam. Is there another way for a student to show that he or she has mastered the content of a college course through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, etc? Yes! A Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio offers an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge gained through life-experiences and equate that knowledge with the learning outcomes of a specific college course, thereby earning credit for the course without actually having to take that course. This can save the student both time and money!

Following standards established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), WKCTC uses the portfolio method for evaluating college-level learning experiences. Prior learning credit will be awarded only if it can be equated with the learning outcomes/objectives described in our catalog or in the course syllabi. Portfolios are evaluated by an appropriate faculty member.

Learning acquired through the following kinds of activities might qualify:

  • Non-credit courses, workshops, on-line, television and newspaper courses
  • Apprenticeship courses
  • Self-taught knowledge or skills
  • Career/work experiences and training
  • Volunteer work
  • Community services
  • Travel
  • Avocations, e.g., art, music, dramatics
  • Leadership roles in associations and organizations
  • Personal life experiences
  • Industry certification
  • Make a list of your skills and write out your objectives. When writing your objectives, ask these questions:
    • What degree are you seeking?
    • What classes do you think you can bypass that will help you attain that degree?
  • Next, make an appointment with Dr. Senn. She will help you with the portfolio development process, including finding a faculty mentor in your discipline.
  • Prepare a draft of the portfolio for review, make necessary changes, and submit final version for assessment.
  • Faculty will assess competencies and determine whether additional documentation is required before making the final determination.
  • It's less expensive.
    You pay $375 for a portfolio assessment of 15 credit hours (five 3-credit courses).
  • It speeds up graduation
    A 30-credit hour certificate program that typically takes a year could be completed in one semester by a student who earned 15 hours through prior learning assessment.
  • NOTE: You should create a portfolio only when seeking at least 3 hours of credit for prior learning.
  • A portfolio is a collection of materials that describes and documents prior learning.
  • Knowledge, skills and/or competencies must be documented for the course(s) for which credit is applied.
  • The portfolio is developed under the direction of the WKCTC's professional staff and is evaluated by the faculty for award of credit.

Dr. Kate Senn
Phone (270) 534-3143