What is Prior Learning?
Prior Learning Assessment in The University of Alabama’s New College LifeTrack Program
is a method of assessing and recognizing learning experiences that are equal to college
level learning, but have been acquired outside a traditional classroom setting (through
work experience, volunteerism, outside study, etc.). LifeTrack recognizes the value
and importance of experiential learning. Many students enter the program with significant
learning experiences acquired outside of traditional higher education. Through Prior
Learning Assessment, students have the opportunity to prove that their experiential
knowledge is equivalent to course work at The University of Alabama. If the experiences
are deemed equivalent via faculty evaluation, credit will be awarded and applied toward
the degree requirements on the student’s transcript.
How does Prior Learning Assessment Work?
- Students may apply for prior learning credit after completing 12 graded UA hours in
the New College LifeTrack Program.
- Students identify fields of study where personal experience parallels classroom learning.
- Students discuss Prior Learning Assessment with their academic advisor and then the
prior learning coordinator.
- An application to prepare a prior learning portfolio is submitted to the Prior Learning
- Within 6 months of approval of the proposal, the student will prepare a portfolio
which includes learning outcomes and supporting documentation.
- Completed portfolios are presented for a Faculty/Staff evaluation of the portfolio.
The Faculty/Staff performing the evaluation will be subject matter experts in the
particular area of the presentation.
- Credit, if awarded, is then applied towards the student’s degree requirements.
Types of Prior Learning Assessment:
- Regular ASK (Application to Submit Knowledge) - subject area field of study portfolio.
This is evaluated for college level credit by UA faculty members with expertise in
the subject area.
- Modified ASK (Application to Submit Knowledge) - This includes learning acquired through
organized training such as: Dale Carnegie courses, ACE college credit recommendations,
Military training, some technical training, etc.
- CLEP/AP – Accepted according to UA policies and guidelines.
What are the costs of Prior Learning Assessment?
- Modified ASK evaluation - No cost.
- Regular ASK evaluation - $500.00. Fee for the evaluation of a subject area field of
study portfolio. This is evaluated for college level credit by UA faculty members
with expertise in the subject area.
- The fee is for the evaluation only and it remains the same regardless of amount of
credit earned. There is no additional fee for the transcription of earned credit.
Common Areas of Prior Learning Assessment:
- Field of Study Portfolios (Regular ASK)
- Computer Science
- Management Information Systems
- Health & Human Services
- Standardized Credit/Organized Training (Modified ASK)
- Military Training (with lower and/or upper bachelor’s level ACE recommendation)
- Dale Carnegie
- Six Sigma
- Microsoft Certifications/Specialists
- Certified Administrative Professionals
- EMT training, some Criminal Justice training
- Technical or Vocational (this type of PL has limitations-check with Prior learning