Prior Learning Assessment

Bowling Green State University recognizes learning acquired from experiences outside a formal classroom setting by offering students the opportunity to earn academic credit through Prior Learning Assessment.  Credit can be attained through one or more Prior Learning Assessment pathways: Portfolio Assessment, College Level Examination Program, Departmental Credit by Exam, and Credit by Validation.  Using a combination of these pathways, a student can earn a maximum of 30 credits toward their degree.

Prior Learning Assessment Benefits:

  • Reduces degree completion time
  • Helps make college more affordable
  • Removes repetition of learning
  • May reduce course load
  • Validates prior learning through work and other life experiences

The Process:

  1. Take the Prior Learning Self-Assessment to determine whether Prior Learning Assessment is a good fit for your knowledge and experience.  
  2. An Advisor at Nontraditional & Military Student Services (NTMSS) will contact you to discuss which Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) pathway would be the best fit for you.  
  3. The advisor will help you determine what courses best fit your knowledge and past experiences.
  4. The advisor will coordinate with a faculty member to to pursue the Prior Learning Assessment pathway for the identified course(s) and guide student through the appropriate PLA process.

Four Pathways for Prior Learning Assessment 

1. Portfolio Assessment

The portfolio pathway is designed primarily for students who have gained college-level learning through significant volunteer work, work-related training, or work experience. Developing a portfolio is one important way to document learning that has been acquired outside a formal classroom setting and to gain academic credits toward your degree. This process allows you to demonstrate that knowledge and skills you already possess correspond to the expected learning outcomes from BGSU courses.  The typical process is outlined below:

  1. NTMSS advisor will connect student with a faculty member who will oversee the portfolio development.
  2. The final portfolio is submitted to NTMSS advisor along with the evaluation fee ($70 per course).
  3. The portfolio is then submitted to faculty member for final review and evaluation.  Credit is awarded as “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory”.
  4. If a satisfactory decision is awarded, NTMSS advisor will have credits added to student record.

2.  College Level Examination Program

The College Level Examination Program or CLEP administered at Bowling Green State University offers academic credit for some, but not all CLEP subject examinations offered by the College Board. Accepted exams and criteria for awarding credit can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog. If you achieve the criteria established for the examination, you will be awarded credit for the specific course(s). For helpful information concerning content of tests and preparation for them, please click here: CLEP Prep Center. As a national testing center, BGSU administers CLEP examinations on the Bowling Green campus through the Office of Accessibility Services. The Testing Center schedules and administers the tests (419-372-8495). More information about CLEP examination scheduling, costs and score reporting, can be found at BGSU’s National Testing Center website.  The cost of the test is $85 plus $20 BGSU administrative fee.  This $20 administrative fee is waived for all Veterans.

3.  Departmental Credit by Exam

There are many subjects and courses that are not available through standardized examination programs such as CLEP.  In these cases, there may be an opportunity to petition individual academic departments to administer a departmental exam for credit.  The full academic policy concerning earning credit by departmental exam is in the Undergraduate Catalog.  Offering an exam is at the discretion of the academic department and is graded “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory”.

4.  Credit by Validation

Some students have earned credit from a non-regionally-accredited institution.  BGSU cannot accept these transfer credits.  In certain cases, a faculty member may be able to validate the knowledge and experience gained from those courses.  This process may be completed through a review of the syllabus, interview assessment, or another method that a faculty member chooses.  The NTMSS advisor will guide students through the process.