Prior Learning

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 Coordinator.
  • 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, 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 the 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)

  • Management
  • Photography
  • Computer Science
  • Management Information Systems
  • Health & Human Services
  • Safety

Standardized Credit/Organized Training (Modified ASK)

  • Military Training (with lower and/or upper bachelor’s level ACE recommendation)
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Six Sigma
  • Novell
  • Microsoft Certifications/Specialists
  • Certified Administrative Professionals
  • EMT training, some Criminal Justice training