Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio
Indiana Wesleyan University assesses students' non-credited learning for academic credit toward an undergraduate degree. Non-credited learning is that which has taken place outside the traditional college classroom. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), an educational association founded in 1974 to promote the acceptance of the awarding of university credit for experiential learning, has led the way in developing and implementing assessment techniques. Indiana Wesleyan University uses the guidelines developed by CAEL.
The student-prepared Prior Learning Assessment portfolio is the most commonly accepted method used to evaluate non-credited learning. These portfolios are collections of narratives and documentation which articulate a student's academically relevant, non-university learning. Portfolios can vary greatly in form and content, but in their preparation all students assume the responsibility for self-analysis, preparation, and presentation. The preparation itself is a learning experience.
At Indiana Wesleyan University the purpose of the portfolio is twofold:
The student is responsible to develop the portfolio independently, following guidelines provided by the Coordinator of Prior Learning Assessment. The PLA Portfolio Instructions include all information necessary to prepare and submit material for evaluation. All assessment of items submitted is performed by faculty assessors whose knowledge and expertise qualify them to evaluate learning gained through experience.
The portfolio will be viewed only by those who have an official reason for doing so: the assessment staff, faculty evaluators, and accrediting association members. Any data from portfolios that may be made public will be generalized and will in no way be attributed to an individual unless the individual student has given a signed authorization. Students are also advised not to include any materials in the portfolio that will violate the legal and moral rights to privacy of other individuals.
In preparing the portfolio, the student must pause and recollect a history of learning and growth in order to develop a meaningful "learning autobiography." The student describes and analyzes learning experiences and then provides documentation that clarifies and validates the learning, e.g., letters, statements, products of work according to the PLA Portfolio Instructions.
The Indiana Wesleyan University Student Honesty policy also applies to the Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio.
Undergraduate students accepted to or enrolled in the General Studies associate degree program or any of the baccalaureate degree completion programs are eligible to complete a Prior Learning Assessment portfolio. Graduate students may not apply for prior learning credits. Credit hours awarded may be counted toward general education or elective requirements as applicable to the undergraduate degree. Baccalaureate students may earn a maximum of 40 hours of credit through the portfolio; General Studies associate degree students may earn a maximum of 18 hours. Undergraduate students may use portfolio credit to accrue toward the 60 hours of credit required for admission to the core curriculum.
The student must in be in good standing at the university, both financially and academically, when a portfolio is submitted. Applicants denied entry into a degree program are not eligible to complete the portfolio process. In addition, students who are suspended from the program may not complete the portfolio process.