Validating Prior-Learning Assessment Utilizing a Competency- Based Model.

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    • Abstract:
      Prior-learning assessment (PLA) describes an assessment process in which students can earn college credit for college-level learning acquired outside a formal college curriculum. With PLA, students can progress more quickly towards degree completion, often at lower cost. PLA can be combined with a competency-based education curriculum to develop a "hybrid" approach that provides alternative pathways to degree completion for a significant population of nontraditional and transfer students with prior learning experience. To overcome concerns of academic rigor and quality associated with PLA, a uniform assessment process that measures student learning outcomes against predetermined competencies is critical. Direct assessment by faculty of submitted artifacts that demonstrate mastery of associated competencies through prior learning experiences is an essential component of PLA. A process to validate prior learning through direct assessment within a competency-based model is described in this paper. To validate the PLA process for a competency-based approach, a pilot study utilizing 24 students who participated in a prior-learning process was reviewed. Pilot results indicated that, overall, assessment rubrics were sufficiently rigorous to assess program competencies associated with individual artifacts; however, some rubrics were not sufficiently rigorous to assess program competencies and program learning goals. This paper provides recommendations to improve the direct assessment process for prior learning. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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