Prior Learning Assessment (P.L.A.) is a mechanism whereby students who have acquired substantial experience in a non-traditional environment have an opportunity to challenge whether such learning is equivalent to a course(s) offered at the University. Note: P.L.A. will only be available to a student if sufficient evidence is provided that the course material was acquired outside a degree program at a University. A request to challenge a course that has already been attempted at university will not normally be granted.
P.L.A. is not open to students who simply wish to challenge a course. Students will be required to sign a contract stating that the learning occurred other than in a university course. Not all courses are appropriate for challenge. Each department has the responsibility of determining which of its courses may be subject to a P.L.A. challenge. The challenge process could include one or more assessment methods, including standardized tests, written and/or oral examinations, performance evaluations, interviews, and portfolio assessment. All these assessments require that the individual demonstrate, to a qualified faculty member(s), that pre-determined knowledge and skills have been acquired.
The maximum number of credits a student can challenge is 5.00 for degree programs, or 30% of the certificate requirement for open learners. Credits acquired through P.L.A. will be assigned credit status (CRD) and will be on the official transcript.
Students wishing to challenge a course(s) should contact Undergraduate Program Services to obtain an application form. A request must include a clear statement as to the course(s) the student wishes to challenge, an explanation of how the knowledge necessary for the course was gained, and any relevant supporting documentation to validate the claim. Requests will be forwarded to the appropriate department(s) for evaluation. Upon receipt of the response from all the departments concerned, Undergraduate Program Services will inform the student which, if any, courses have been approved for challenge.
If a challenge has been granted, the department will determine the nature of the assessment and the deadline by which time the work must be complete. It is the student's responsibility to contact the department with respect to the details of the assessment within three weeks of being informed by Undergraduate Program Services of being granted the privilege. Upon completion of the assigned task(s), the department will inform the Office of Registrarial Services as to the student's success or failure of the challenge.
Those students (a) whose application for a challenge is reviewed by the faculty members of the department concerned, and who are subsequently denied the opportunity to challenge, or (b) who fail a challenge examination, may appeal the decision first to the chair of the department, and subsequently, if necessary, to the dean of the college.
© 2003 Office of Registrarial Services, University of Guelph