Washington law identifies assessment of prior learning as an innovative method of improving degree and certificate attainment and improving cost effectiveness and efficiency within Washington’s higher education system.
The Student Achievement Council works with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to convene a cross-sector work group to address the following goals in the legislation:
WA-Prior Learning Assessment Wiki
A wiki, which was created to facilitate the group’s work, includes reference materials, source documents, best practices, meeting minutes, and faculty/staff development tools. This wiki is a continually evolving resource for everyone and can be accessed at http://wa-priorlearningassessment.wikispaces.com/. Progress on goals listed above can be followed on the wiki.
Single Definitions of Prior Learning and Prior Learning Assessment
Every college and university in Washington has some form of assessment for prior learning. A set of common definitions was developed for use by all institutions that includes flexibility for a variety of assessment methods. Common definitions were required to develop (a) a consistent method of tracking PLA, and (b) outcome measures for goals outlined in this legislation.
Prior Learning is the knowledge and skills gained through work and life experience; through military training and experience; and through formal and informal education and training from in-state and out-of-state institutions including foreign institutions.
Prior Learning Assessment is accomplished through standardized tests (i.e. CLEP and DANTES), course challenge examinations, portfolio assessment, and crosswalks between work-based learning and college courses.
A Primary Point of Contact for PLA has been identified for each campus. Most of these college and university representatives continue to work on statewide solutions to implement the goal of the 2011 legislation to improve assessment of prior learning for the benefit of students, employers, and the state.
More information is available on the PLA Washington wiki at http://wa-priorlearningassessment.wikispaces.com/), or
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Phone: 360-753-7890