Guiding Principles for Prior Learning Assessment at Penn State

Guiding Principles for Prior Learning Assessment at Penn State
 
1. Though learning may take different forms in different disciplines, it should involve the development of meta-level understandings that distinguishes it from experience (or acquisition). Accordingly, academic credit should be awarded for demonstration of college-level learning and not experience alone. 
2. Disciplinary academic faculty shall maintain academic authority in all decisions assigning credit in the assessment of prior learning, and faculty and staff involved in prior learning assessment will be provided adequate training and professional development to complete the reviews or other work requested of them. 
3. Assessment and evaluation are integral to learning. Standards and criteria for the level of acceptable learning will be determined by disciplinary communities at Penn State through recurring conversations about learning outcomes.
4. All policies, procedures, standards, and criteria related to conferring credit on the basis of prior learning must be related to the university’s mission and goals and should be made public: transparent, easily accessed, and communicated clearly. 
5. All policies, procedures, standards, and criteria pertaining to the assessment of prior learning must be consistently applied to Penn State students across all colleges and campuses. 
6. Policies, procedures, standards and criteria should give appropriate attention to the needs of a student, including providing for timely assessment and evaluation, giving opportunities for counseling and advising to assist in decision-making, setting reasonable fees, and communicating difficulties regarding granting credit.
7. Credit for prior learning should be awarded (wherever possible) for specific courses fulfilling requirements for a degree, minor, or certificate program rather than “general” credits. 
8. The University Faculty Senate and the Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education should regularly and systematically evaluate prior learning assessment processes and outcomes and adjust policies, procedures, standards, and criteria to support the principles above.