Assess My Credits
RWU | UC works with you from application to graduation to maximize your life experiences for college credit.
Are you the one in five working American adults who has some college credit but no degree? Many weigh the decision to resume their pursuit of an education without the benefit of knowing that their prior learning and/or work expertise could be worth credit at a college or university. If you did not find your experience on the reviewed and approved list, you should submit it to be assessed for college credit. Because the credit has not yet been assessed for a college level learning, you'll need to provide information to assist in this process.
There are unlimited opportunities for a student to earn credit through this "new assessment" process. The best way to get started is to talk to your advisor and to reach out to the office of Prior Learning to talk about your specific situation- and what will specifically be needed to go through the assessment process.
Contact PLA Director COMING SOON: Assess My Credits
Common New Assessments Requests
To help you in your planning, we have compiled a list of common documentation/evidence that is needed for a variety of new assessment requests. Remember that new assessment requests can be from a multitude of experiences, but most often come from:
- Job experience
- Volunteer or leadership roles
You may not use experiences approved for a prior learning in a portfolio as evidence. Once you have received credit for that experience it may not be used again and any other prior learning assessment application.
Common Documentation & Evidence
- Samples of your work
- Documentation of job skills
- Letters of verification from employers or others who have first-hand knowledge of your abilities
- Descriptions and requirements for licenses and/or certificates
- Scanned documents and certificates
- Video clips and streaming video
- Audio recording
- Web site links
- Certificates of attendance and notes taken in training course
- Proof of membership in professional or trade organizations
Provide the course syllabus or learning outcomes, length of the course, vendor, and examples of work or provide access to the course, and provide evidence that the course was completed successfully.
When competing the application, make sure you mark the correct box stating your experience was not found on our reviewed and approved lists and indicate that you are asking for the experience to be assessed for credit. Specific documentation should consist of
- Transcripts if applicable
- Details regarding hours of training
- Location & Dates of training
- Contact information of training facility: including email, address and phone
For Licenses, Certificate & trainings it is very important to provide the materials that were used to train you- including any workbooks or handouts. You should also note how many hours were spent in the classroom and how many hours you spend doing outside work. These are all factors that helps determine both college level learning and a specific credit recommendation.
Consider that for the RMA Certificate, the student goes through about 900 hours of classroom work and completed practicum hours. Additionally, there are multiple providers for the classroom component but not all are accredited, so it would be helpful for the student to share what they know about their credential. It also helps explain why you are submitting the credential to be assessed for credit.
When you are applying for job experience, you will note that your job has not been previously approved and provide your biographical information along with an a letter (on letter head) from Human Resources or Department Head detailing:
- Your average hours per week
- How many weeks per year you worked
- Basic Job description
- Contact information including the email, phone number, name, and title of the HR representative or department head
RWU firmly stands behind the idea that a person’s skills and learning should be valued by higher education, regardless of how those skills and learning were acquired. In short, this prior learning option is the evaluation and assessment of an individual’s volunteer experience or community service for college credit. The hours you spend, as well as the duties you were responsible for for must be clearly stated, and a letter (on letter head) must be attached from a supervisor. In many cases, your volunteer work or community service may serve you better regarding number of credits, through a portfolio review. In a Portfolio review, this experience would be one piece of evidence among others to help you meet course requirements for a catalog course of 3-4 credits per course.
For any new Prior Learning Assessment it is extremely helpful for the student to provide as much background information as possible to assist the reviewer.
Common Examples for New Assessments
Rhonda went through training and then voluntarily sat for, and passed, the exam for the Insurance License with a recognized accredited provider.
She got a copy of her license which clearly notes her name, the date the certificate was granted, the granting agency, and the name of the credential. She took a picture of the certificate and launched the PLA Application checking the box that the program needs to be reviewed. She filled in the name/type of certificate and provides relevant background information about what it takes to sit for the exam. She also provided contact information for a subject matter expert or a source for the Director of Prior Learning to reach to begin the assessment. She then completed the rest of the biographical information and uploaded the certificate.
Ana has worked in Public Relations for seven years and applied and was accepted to go through the process of becoming accredited in public Relations (APR). To be approved to go through the process, she had to apply. She needed at least five years’ experience in the full-time practice or teaching of public relations and to have earned either a bachelor’s degree in a communication-specific field (e.g., public relations, journalism, mass communication) or have equivalent work experience. Then she had to go through a panel interview, and pass an exam. She was approved. She also is required to maintain a certain number of points in a 3-year period to maintain her accreditation. These points come from PR activities and continuing education.
Ana decided to submit a PLA Application to see if this is considered college level learning, and how many college credits it would be worth. Ana checked the box that indicates the program needs to be reviewed. She filled in the name/type of credential and provides information about what the process is for the APR. She also provided contact information for a subject matter expert or a source for the Director of Prior Learning to reach to begin assessment. She then completed the rest of the biographical information and uploaded the certificate.
Lonny used to work in corporate communication and was sent to various conferences concerning how to deal with difficult people. As Lonny worked in a large company, these trainings were very helpful. One such training dealt with difficulties in the workplace regarding diversity with a focus on intercultural challenges. The training lasted for one week, and there was 30 hours of instruction, with homework and group activities. Lonny was able to retain the course materials, and notes. The course materials had clearly defined outcomes for each module.
To see if this experience is college level learning, and, if so, how may credits it would be worth required Lonny to complete the Prior Learning Credit Request online, clicking the box noting that this experience needs to be assessed for credit.
As part of the Prior Learning Credit Request, Lonny would need to upload the materials and notes and provide details regarding when, where, who offered the training, and what was the purpose of the training for assessment.
To begin the Portfolio Process you must be accepted and enrolled in courses. However, you can plan ahead by reaching out and/or looking at the requirements and process breakdown on the PLA Portal.
In many cases we have found that smaller trainings (less hours) or trainings that don't have learning outcomes, may better serve students in the portfolio review. In this process, students are able to often use these trainings/licenses or certificates to provide evidence of meeting state course outcomes.
To begin the process, students should complete a PLA Inquiry Form, the university will reach out to the student via email or phone to set up the initial meeting. Please attach a copy of your most recent resume to the inquiry form- to allow the director to customize the information based on your individual experiences in this first meeting.
The meeting can be held on campus, off campus, or via video conference, depending on the students’ individual need. You should expect the meeting to last about one hour. Once this first meeting is completed, the student may have some tasks to complete before launching into the portfolio completion. If you have multiple portfolios, additional meetings are not required. However, the director is always available for additional questions or concerns as you move through the process, or onto multiple portfolios.
Preparing for the initial meeting
To prepare for the first meeting, begin by reviewing your resume and making a list of the following:
- Positions that you've held (full-time and part-time)
- Any independent studies you've undertaken. Include any area that you've read a lot about
- List all trading programs or in-service workshops you've completed for any of your positions
- List all volunteer work you've taken part in
- What community service you have been involved in, including religious activities
- Any military service completed
- Organizational memberships
- Cultural and artistic interests
- Recreational pastimes and hobbies
- Travel and cultural experiences
- Leadership, mentoring experience
- Public speaking, presentation experience
Before you can submit your prior learning to be assessed for college credit you need to be able to identify college level learning.These thinking points will provide you an excellent starting point for this initial meeting.
After your first meeting, the Prior Learning Director will send you 1-3 syllabi based on the courses you discussed in the first meeting. You should evaluate the course objective/learning outcomes found in the syllabi and determine if you can meet those objectives/outcomes based on your prior learning. Once you determine if you can meet the objectives/goals, you should start identifying and collecting evidence to support that you meet the course objectives.
Planning & Preparation
The Learning Grid allows you to visually see the flow that should come from your PLA Portfolio Experiences. You should organize your Grid by each learning outcome identified from the syllabus for the class for which you are requesting PLA credit.
This grid specifically helps you determine where you learned the material, explaining how that happened and your learning process. You should then supply evidence or artifacts to support your learning. Each piece of evidence listed in the grid should be labeled and will be uploaded to the Portfolio Application.
Example of learning activities and evidence for proficiency for a course outcome
Once you complete your planning and gather all materials demonstrating how you learned the content, and you can provide evidence of competency for the course learning outcomes, you are ready to begin the portfolio. This process is straightforward.
The Portfolio Planning Site on Bridges is set up for you to get more help, work with an advisor and chat with other students going through this process. Once you have had an initial meeting (Step one) you will be given access to this site. You will need your Bridges credentials to log on. This site will allow you to upload files and get things organized before ultimately uploading your Prior Learning Portfolio Application for assessment.
You will receive communication that your request was received. The assessment for credit can take up to 14 work days. Once a credit determination has been awarded, you will receive a letter from the Director of Prior Learning Assessment for your records notating the decision, credit amount and course information. Within 10 days after the credit determination, the credits will be added to your RWU transcript.