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Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) enables individuals to earn credit for college-level skills and knowledge they may have acquired outside of the traditional academic environment, such as through work experience, through military training; and through other formal and informal education and training. Prior Learning Assessment options vary by institution, but may include standardized tests, military transcripts, credential review, portfolio assessment, or course challenge exams.

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests are national examinations created by external entities, such as the College Board.  These tests include CLEP, DSST/DANTES, AP, IB and more.  The acceptability and score requirements will vary by institution.  Contact a university official at the institution for which you want to enroll for more details.

Military Transcripts

Veterans of US military service may receive credit learning gained through documented military training and experience. Veterans of the Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy should submit official copies of their Joint Services Transcript (formerly SMART and AARTS transcripts).  Air Force veterans need to submit an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force.

Credential Review

Credit may be granted for certifications and/or trainings completed at outside agencies. For example, some University of Maine System institutions grant credit for completion of the Maine State Police Academy.

For more information on eligible programs, students are encouraged to contact the institution they are interested in.

Experiential Learning and Portfolio

Portfolio Assessment is a standardized process through which students can demonstrate knowledge and learning in a particular field in order to gain credit for specific courses.

Portfolio Assessment involves compiling pertinent information into a portfolio and submitting it for faculty review. Students are typically required to speak with a university official prior to completing a portfolio.

Policies, including details concerning portfolio requirements and fees will vary by institution.  Contact a university official at the institution for which you want to enroll for more details.

Course Challenge Exam

A challenge exam is a comprehensive assessment (either written, verbal, or demonstrative), that evaluates whether the student has achieved each of objectives or a particular course.

Students must attain a specific score, set by the institution and by course, to qualify for receiving course credit.   Please note that testing fees may be required to complete a challenge exam.

Available courses for challenge, fee details, and policies will vary by institution.  For more information, students are encouraged to speak to representatives from the institution to which they want to enroll.