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Prior Learning Assessment

Portfolio Method

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) portfolio is a method by which students can potentially earn credit for their prior learning that has occurred outside of academic credit-bearing courses. The PLA Learning Assessment portfolio process and policies have been structured in alignment with CAEL Ten Standards for Learning Assessment.

At Biola, the process consists of three steps:

  1. Meet with an Advisor
    1. Students must first discuss the potential to fulfill academic credit through PLA with an advisor at Biola (e.g. Admissions Counselor, Success Coach, Academic Advisor).
    2. Student must submit the Application for Participation in PLA Portfolio
    3. To participate in PLA Portfolio a student must demonstrate sufficient experience related to relevant course learning outcomes.
  2. Create a Portfolio
    1. Students must enroll in the Portfolio Development for PLA course to participate.
    2. In the Portfolio Development for PLA course, students will learn about the process of building a learning portfolio and how to demonstrate and provide evidence of college-level learning.
    3. Students must officially submit his or her PLA Portfolio to the Office of Educational Effectiveness, including the PLA Portfolio fee.
    4. After taking the Portfolio Development for PLA course one time, the student may submit subsequent portfolios for additional credit to fulfill other course requirements.
  3. Assessment of the Portfolio
    1. A qualified faculty assessor will evaluate the PLA portfolio and determine if the portfolio presents sufficient evidence that a student has fulfilled the relevant course learning outcomes.
    2. Faculty Assessors hold the authority to determine any of the following outcomes:
      1. Approval - student fulfills a course requirement and earns credit associated with that course (typically, 3-units per course/portfolio)
      2. Approval - student has a course requirement waived from requirements, but a student is still required to fulfill necessary units to graduate.
      3. Needs clarification - student will be provided comments and questions regarding the portfolio and is given 2 weeks to provide sufficient clarification to the faculty for reevaluation.
      4. Denied - student has not provided sufficient evidence of fulfilling course learning outcomes
    3. Approval will be displayed on the student transcript as course requirement fulfilled with credits earned or course requirement waived.

PLA Portfolio Appeals Process

Students who have been denied credit or waiving of course requirement based on their original portfolio submission, may appeal within 30 days of the decision. To appeal a student must complete the following steps:

  1. Student must complete the PLA Appeals Form obtained from the Office of Educational Effectiveness.
  2. Upon approval of the PLA Appeals form, the student must submit his or her PLA Portfolio to the Office of Educational Effectiveness with clarification in the learning narrative and/or additional supplemental documentation.
  3. Student is required to pay a fee for resubmission of the PLA Portfolio.