What is Prior Learning Assessment?

"Prior Learning Assessment" is a term used to describe the assessment of learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. You have acquired learning and knowledge through life experiences: working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, studying open source courseware, or through the Internet.

Many people have developed college/university level learning outside of the traditional classroom and this knowledge is as valuable as knowledge gained through more formal learning settings. Through prior learning assessment, credit is granted for verifiable learning, but not for the experience itself. This learning can be identified and assessed in a variety of ways to determine if college credit should be awarded.

In short, PLA is the evaluation and assessment of your life learning for college/university credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training. (Adapted from SUNY Empire State College and CAEL, 2013.)

How does Prior Learning Assessment work?

Some learning can be evaluated through exams or may already have credit recommendations associated with it based on where and when you acquired it. See ways to evaluate learning to determine if your learning has been “pre-evaluated.”

You may already qualify for credits if you have:

  • served in the military
  • taken workplace training
  • acquired professional licenses and certifications

If your learning has not been “pre-evaluated,” you can go through an ePortfolio process to have your learning assessed for college/university credits.

To learn more about how PLA work continue to assessing learning.

Contact an Advisor

To speak to a SUNY Empire State College advisor about your ePortfolio or to ask questions about the process or the Global Learning Qualifications Framework, email SUNYREAL@esc.edu.

Include your name and phone number with your question.

An advisor will contact you within two business days.

Take the Next Step

Ready to advance your education and career? There’s no time like the present. Apply now, or learn more about SUNY Empire at one of our information sessions.
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