Who Gets the Credit?
By Paul Fain
The granting of college credit for knowledge gained outside the traditional academic setting – prior learning assessment – appears poised to take off in higher education. With a lift from the “completion agenda,” more colleges appear to be warming to prior learning, which can help adult students earn degrees quicker and more cheaply.
Yet the practice remains controversial, and often misunderstood. Some critics charge that prior learning is merely forking over cash to get credit for “life experience.” That has happened. But in most cases these days, prior learning assessment is an involved practice of measuring of college-level learning and knowledge.
Even so, more thoughtful skeptics still don’t buy that work experience, training or knowledge gained outside the academy can be evaluated in a way that proves it is the equivalent of the rich learning experience that happens in college.