Prior Learning Assessment Credit – Student Information

Welcome to the Colorado Community College System Prior Learning Assessment Credit (PLA Credit) information site. We are happy that you have decided to explore your options for college credit today and hope that you will feel confident about connecting to one of our many institutions of higher learning to jump start your college journey with PLA Credit.

We know that significant learning happens outside of the formal classroom setting and often in the workplace or through your interest in independently learning about a subject.  You may be working through a career change after many years in the workforce or you may be leaving high school with AP or IB test scores. You might have a national certification in a technical field or perhaps you took training at McDonald’s University.

Through the Prior Learning Assessment Credit  process, you can have your learning evaluated regardless of where, when, or how you acquired it as long as you can document your learning and it can be verified at a college level.

What is PLA Credit

PLA Credit is used to describe the process of assessing learning that has been obtained outside a traditional academic environment and which has not previously been evaluated for or awarded college credit.

This means that, in the Colorado Community College System, we acknowledge:

  • That learning occurs both within formal education settings and the community at large.
  • That PLA Credit is an excellent way to accelerate your program of study and to support your work to complete a credential.
  • That it is important to know your academic goals before your learning is evaluated for credit.
  • That credit awarded for prior learning will represent the attainment of college-level skills and be considered equivalent to learning obtained in traditional classroom settings

How Does PLA Credit Work?

You can demonstrate your learning in four ways:

  • Standardized Tests
    • Colorado accepts the IB, AP, CLEP, DSST and UExcel tests. You will be qualified for credit if your test score meets the cut score requirements for the state.
  • Challenge Exams
    • These are institutional exams created by faculty and are not the equivalent of a course final exam, but an exam that assesses all competencies outcomes of the course.
  • Published Guides
    • We accept the recommendations of the American Council on Education (ACE) and NCCRS for workplace training programs and national credentials such as licenses and apprenticeships. Students who have military training and experience can earn credit based on the ACE recommendations on their Joint Services Transcript
  • Portfolio
    • If your learning is extensive but doesn’t carry a credential or transcript, you may be eligible for credit through the development of a learning Portfolio.  We offer support to you while you develop your Portfolio. When it is complete, it is evaluated for credit by a faculty subject matter expert.

All submitted portfolios will be evaluated by a CCCS institution faculty subject matter experts trained in PLA Portfolio assessment. Portfolios are scored using a pass/fail rubric based on the competencies for the course the portfolio is requesting credit.

Assessing Your Learning

We encourage you to think about the skills you’ve acquired through your life experience or work, not just about the amount of time you’ve spent on the job. So for instance, you won’t receive credit just because you have 10 years of experience on a job, but you might earn credit for what you’ve learned and how you can demonstrate it during an evaluation.

For example, if you worked as an office manager for many years, you might be able to demonstrate learning in office technology, technical writing, or management. Or if you ran your own business, you might be able to demonstrate learning in accounting, supply chain management or master level woodworking.

You will be evaluated based on the competencies identified in the Colorado Common Course Numbering System for the course you wish to challenge. Remember, it needs to be a course that is in your chosen program of study.

Programs of Study

It’s best if you know what you’d like to study when you come to college; you will be more motivated to do the work and you can use things like PLA Credit to help you get to your end goal more rapidly.

Explore Colorado Community Colleges Programs
You can explore programs of study and learn about the colleges that offer then on the GoCCCS Programs page.

Start the Process

If you’ve already chosen your program of study, and you have an idea of which Colorado community college you’d like to attend, you can build a PLA Credit Report  by using the PLACredit Dashboard.

This tool is designed to help you organize your credentials and transcripts, give you an idea of the types of pre-evaluated credit you might be eligible for and to give you the information you need to contact the person who can help you start the evaluation process.

Begin your PLA Credit process

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