Terms & Definitions
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) [Academic Credit for Prior Learning]: Seattle Colleges aligns with the Washington Student Achievement Council and defines Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) as the process used to evaluate previous life experience for academic credit. Prior Learning Assessment is accomplished through Standardized Tests, Credit by Examinations, Portfolio Reviews, and Crosswalks between work-based learning and college courses.
Eligible Student: A student must be enrolled in or have completed at least one course at the college before applying for credit for Prior Learning.
Residence Credit: Credit earned at the campus granting the credit.
515.05: General Guidelines: The following apply to all methods for awarding credit for Prior Learning:
515.05.1   Credits awarded for prior learning do not fulfill residency requirements towards a certificate or degree.
515.05.2   A student must be enrolled in or have completed at least one course at the college before applying for credit for prior learning.
515.05.3   Credits may be awarded only if the prior learning experience aligns with an existing course or courses in the college catalog. To receive credit for a specific course in the college catalog, the prior learning experience should meet a majority of course outcomes in accordance with the regular curriculum of the college.
515.05.4   A fee is required for those methods of prior learning assessment that require the administration or evaluation of student-generated material by the college for mastery of specific course learning outcomes.
515.05.5   Credits for prior learning cannot be re-used for additional credit once credits have been awarded.
515.05.6   Credits for prior learning may not satisfy credit load requirements for the purposes of veterans’ benefit program funding or any other student financial aid assistance programs.
515.05.7   Transferability of credits awarded for prior learning will be subject to the policies of the receiving institution.
515.10 Standardized Tests (Credit by Testing): Commonly accepted higher education equivalency exams that are documented via a transcript or other official record. Examples include, but are not limited to, the Advanced Placement Exam (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST), and Cambridge “A” Level Exam.
515.15.1   Standardized tests will be noted as such on the transcript.
515.10.1   Credits awarded for standardized tests will not be computed in the overall G.P.A.
515.10.2   No fee is required for the evaluation of credit for standardized tests.
515.10.3   maximum of 50% of the credits needed for a certificate or degree can be awarded through standardized tests.
515.15 Credit by Examination (Course Challenge): Credit by examination is a sufficiently comprehensive course examination, roughly equivalent to a final exam. It can be a written, verbal, or demonstration assessment that evaluates whether the student has achieved at least 80% of the learning outcomes for a course in the college catalog.
515.15.1   Credits awarded by examination will be noted as such on the transcript.
515.15.2   Each division or department will determine the minimum grade standards for granting credit by examination, and methods for awarding credit by examination must be assessed by a faculty member within the subject area.
515.15.3   Credit by examination shall be letter and/or decimal graded, and credits awarded by examination will be computed in the overall G.P.A.
515.15.4   Students may not repeat an examination for credit.
515.15.5   A maximum of 50% of the credits needed for a certificate or degree can be awarded through credit by examination.
515.20 Portfolio Review (Prior Experiential Learning): A compilation of work which provides evidence that the student has demonstrated at least 80% of the learning outcomes for a particular course (or courses) in the college catalog.
515.20.1   District colleges will publish lists of programs in which work experience credit will be accepted, including the criteria by which work experience credit is evaluated and granted in those programs.
515.20.2   Credit awarded through portfolio review process will be noted as such on the transcript.
515.20.3   Each division or department will determine the minimum grade standards for granting credit through portfolio review, and methods for awarding credit for portfolio review must be assessed by a faculty member within the subject area.
515.20.4   If the portfolio produced is letter and/or decimal graded, credits awarded through the portfolio review will be computed in the overall G.P.A.
515.20.5   A maximum of 25% of credits needed for a certificate or degree can be awarded through portfolio review.
515.25 Crosswalk (Extra-Institutional Learning): Crosswalks align training and educational programs (including military training, apprenticeships, and other standardized trainings) to specific course offerings in the college catalog. Example crosswalks include, but are not limited to, individual industry certifications (e.g., NCLEX-RN), occupational crosswalks (Police, Fire, AmeriCorps, Military, etc.), and American Council on Education (ACE) crosswalks.
515.25.1   Credit awarded through crosswalk evaluation will be noted on transcripts awarded for prior learning.
515.25.2   Credits awarded through crosswalk evaluation will not be computed in the overall G.P.A.
515.25.3   When program-specific crosswalks are developed internally within a college, methods for awarding credit through the crosswalk must be assessed by a faculty member within the subject area.
515.25.4   No fee is required for the evaluation of credit through crosswalks.
515.25.5   A maximum of 50% of the credits needed for a certificate or degree can be awarded through crosswalk evaluation.