Frequently Asked Questions
About Prior Learning Assessment

What is Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is an evaluation of learning acquired outside of university. It is available to students whose documented life experiences provide evidence of knowledge equivalent to that required in a given course. In the past at Wilmington University, this has been called "competency-based evaluation" or CBE. It is now known as prior learning assessment (PLA).

How do I get credit for my prior learning?

You will need to prepare a portfolio documenting your prior learning. In the portfolio, you will include evidence that you have knowledge and skills that match those associated with a particular course.

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a formal written communication, presented by the student to the University, requesting credit or recognition for extra-collegiate learning. The portfolio must make its case by identifying learning clearly and succinctly, and it must provide sufficient supporting information and documentation so that faculty can use it, alone or in combination with other evidence, as the basis for their evaluation.

Do I need a separate portfolio for each course?

No, you may develop one portfolio for several courses. Your Academic Chair will work with you to decide how the portfolio will be organized and presented.

How much does it cost?

This is a per-credit-hour fee for each credit your earn through PLA. Please refer to our Tuition and Fees page for the specific fee for undergraduate and graduate credits.

Will someone guide me in developing a portfolio?

A faculty member will help you understand the process and requirements of the PLA. It is your responsibility to gather all necessary documentation, write about your learning experiences, and assemble your portfolio.

Who evaluates my portfolio?

A faculty member who is a specialist in the subject matter of the course(s) for which you are seeking credit will evaluate your finished portfolio.

How long will it take?

Putting together a portfolio that can successfully earn credit requires a significant amount of effort and organization. The actual length of time can vary greatly depending on the number of courses for which you are seeking credit and the amount of time it takes to gather the evidence documenting your prior learning and match it to course outcomes.

How well do I have to write?

It is important to remember that the evaluator can only assess what is presented in the portfolio. The portfolio must be clear, concise, well organized, comprehensive and free of both grammar and spelling errors.

Who should attempt this?

Successful candidates will be self-directed, well organized and confident in their skills. They should be competent writers, and have the time and energy to devote to the writing of a portfolio. Your particular situation is a good topic to explore with your academic advisor or academic program chair.

How can I get more information?

See your academic advisor or academic program chair.