Credit For Prior Learning
What Is Prior Learning?
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.* (*From ESSHB 1795, Section 28, passed by the 2011 WA State Legislature)
What is Prior Learning Assessment?
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a means of determining whether or not the knowledge, skills and abilities a student has gained through prior learning match the knowledge, skills and abilities a student would gain by completing a specific course.
How is Prior Learning Assessed at SVC?
Credit for Prior Learning
Currently enrolled SVC students may earn college credit based upon prior learning when they demonstrate by examination or evaluation that their professional experience or substantial prior learning meets the specific outcomes of a SVC course. Each department determines the evaluation method students use to demonstrate mastery of the course content. Students seeking to acquire this form of college credits should complete the Petition for Non-Traditional Credit: For Prior Learning form and submit the form and all documentation supporting their request to the Department Chair for the program that oversees the course(s) the student is challenging. A maximum of 30 credits is allowed for this method and there is a $60 per credit transcription fee associated with this request.
Advanced Standing Request
The purpose of Advanced Standing is to replace a required course, including credit, with prior experience in military work/military schools or relevant employment in industry that can be documented by employment records or through testing. Students seeking advanced standing credit should do so upon entry to Skagit Valley College by completing the Petition for Non-Traditional Credit: Advanced Standing Request form and submit the form and all documentation (including appropriate transcripts, DD295s, SMART Transcript, or industry training documents) supporting their request to the Department Chair for the program that oversees the course(s) the student is challenging. Once awarded, Advanced Standing gives you prerequisites necessary for registration for courses that will count toward your certificate/diploma. For example: A student who holds a current CPR/First Aid card from an approved agency may request a waiver of PE 200 as a requirement for their degree.
(Note: this option only eliminates the requirement for the class but does not count as credits toward attainment of a degree. In the example offered, a student with a valid CPR card would not need to take the 2-credit PE 200 class but will still need a minimum of 90 credits overall to graduate with a degree.)
When Does Prior Learning Equate to Course Credit?
Do the math:
If outcomes of prior learning = learning outcomes of a specific SVC course
Then credit may be awarded for prior learning
Prior Learning Assessment Process
1. Contact SVC's Credit for Prior Learning point of contact Laura Cailloux, Dean of Workforce Education, (360) 416-7802 for initial consultation and referral.
2. Meet with department chair of relevant instructional program to initially review prior learning and identify which courses might be satisfied through prior learning
3. Complete appropriate paperwork. The expectation is that the Learning Outcome Assessment Form will be filled out in detail with college-level writing and complete documentation. If assistance is required, contact James Jolly, Cooperative Education Specialist/Career Services at James.firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-416-7684.
Links to Prior Learning Forms:
Credit Request for Prior Learning
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4. Pay necessary tuition and fees associated with petition(s) at your local cashier office and turn completed paperwork with receipt into the office of the Dean of Workforce Education located in the Nelson Building room 221. You must attach documentation, including transcripts, DD295s or "Smart Transcripts", or industry training documents.
When paperwork is completed and received by the Dean of Workforce Education, it will be reviewed. If the student has achieved the learning outcomes for the SVC course through prior learning, the student may be awarded credit for the course. When determination is made, you will receive a copy of the decision from the registrar. Payment of tuition and fees does not guarantee credit. Tuition and fees will not be reimbursed if credit is not awarded.
Credit for Prior Learning Does...
- Shorten a student's time to complete a degree or earn a certificate
- Acknowledge the diversity of methods of learning which result in the achievement of learning outcomes.
Credit for Prior Learning Does Not...
- Include awarding credit without a thorough assessment of the student's prior learning
- Apply if prohibited by specific industry licensure or certification
Challenging a SVC Course
Credit for prior learning can be achieved at SVC through a Credit by Examination process. The steps for that process are listed below:
1. Student must obtain faculty, department/division chair and dean approval by submitting a completed form to the Registration Office. Approved forms must be submitted with appropriate payment.
2. The student will pay the tuition cost for the course in addition to a $2.00 per credit fee.
3. The student will present their receipt for the tuition and fee to the instructor and makes arrangements for a date and time to take the exam.
4. The instructor grades the exam and indicates the grade achieved on the student's receipt and signs it.
5. The instructor submits the signed receipt with the exam grade recorded to the Registration Office.
6. The course grade, based upon the challenge exam score is posted on the student's transcript.
The following restrictions have been established for awarding credit by examination:
- Students may not receive credit by examination for subject matter less advanced than that for which they have previously received credit.
- Students may not repeat any examination for advanced credit.
- Students may not challenge courses they have previously audited, failed or challenged and failed.
- Students may not receive credit by examination for lower division (100 and 200-level) language courses in the student's native language.
- Students may not request credit for any course in which they are currently enrolled.
SVC is required to recover costs involving faculty, staff and administrative efforts to support this program and the fees listed below are provided for your information and awareness.
Course Challenge - Credit by Exam:
The student pays a course challenge fee of $2 per credit plus the tuition for the course itself
Petition for Non-Traditional Credit - For Prior Learning:
The student pays a transcription fee of $60 per credit
Petition for Non-Traditional Credit - Advanced Standing Request:
There is no charge to the student
Terms & Descriptions
Advanced standing in professional/technical programs may be granted for prior experience in:
1. Military work or military schools;
2. Relevant employment in industry that can be documented by employment records or through testing;
Students receiving advance standing must still complete a minimum of 90 credits to graduate with a Associate of Technical Arts (ATA) degree.
Credit Earned: No
Prior Learning & Work Based Learning
Currently enrolled students could earn college credit when they demonstrate by examination or evaluation that their professional experience or substantial prior learning meets the specifc learning outcomes of a SVC course. Certain courses are designated not appropriate for credit by examination or evaluation.
Credit Earned: Yes
Fee: $60 per credit
Nationally standardized tests such as College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DANTES, military, vocational, and other nonaccredited training programs, independent study, and other appropriate educational experiences. Students who request to be tested in a specific subject area using a nationally standardized test (such as CLEP or American Chemical Society tests) must score at or above the national reference standard or at a minimum level which shall be decided by the various departments. Students requesting to be tested in broad areas of General Education such as natural science or humanities may earn a maximum of 45 credits through CLEP general examinations (not to exceed 9 credits per exam) or other similar nationally standardized tests.
Credit Earned: Yes
Entering students who have completed advanced placement courses in high school and have taken the Advanced Placement Program (APP) examinations should have results sent to the SVC Registrar at the Mount Vernon Campus. Generally credit will be awarded according to the Advanced Placement Exam Score and Credits Awarded Chart. Entering freshmen who have completed such courses but have not taken the APP exam may apply for college credit by examination.
Credit Earned: Yes
Fee: No fee unless student takes credit by exam, explained below:
Credit By Exam
1. Students may not receive credit by examination for subject matter less advanced than that for which they have previously received credit.
2. No student shall be permitted to repeat any examination for advanced credit.
3. Students may not challenge courses that have previously audited, failed, or challenged and failed.
4. Students many not receive credit by examination for lower division (100 and 200 level) languages courses in the student's native language.
5. Students may not request credit by examination for any course they are currently enrolled.
Credit Earned: Yes
Fee: Yes. Tuition & fees plus $2 per credit exam fee.
Removing the requirement to complete a particular course or courses in a program due to successful completion of other post-secondary courses which, overall, constitute equal content.
Credit Earned: No
Military Service Schools
Service schools are accredited according to the ACE guide up to a maximum of 45 credits which can be applied toward the AA General Studies program. Students must submit a copy of their SMART Transcript or equivalent (evaluation of military training listing courses/scores) to the Veterans Office. SVC grants credit for military learning and follows the American Council of Education (ACE) guidelines.
Credit Earned: Yes, transfer credits
Transferring in credits from Other Colleges
Your transcripts from prior colleges or other learning experiences will be evaluated upon request. Only regionally accredited college transcripts are accepted. Course not applicable for distribution requirements are assigned as elective credit up to the maximum allowable. If there are questions of interpretation in designating distribution credits for classes taken previously, you may apply to the appropriate dean for a waiver.
Credit Earned: Yes, transfer credits