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PLA - Your Experience Matters

Prior Learning Assessment

Portfolio Development

At Thomas Edison State University, we value the college-level knowledge you may have acquired outside the traditional college classroom.

Using the University’s portfolio assessment program, students demonstrate that what they already know is equivalent to what they would have learned in an equivalent college course. You may have acquired this knowledge through your past work, training programs or in-service courses, volunteer service, cultural or artistic pursuits, hobbies and recreational pastimes, community or religious activities, organizational memberships, adult education, noncredit courses, study abroad, military training not evaluated for credit by ACE or other experiences.

A portfolio enables you to identify and articulate this knowledge and, potentially, earn credit for it. Students learn the process of identifying areas of course-equivalent learning and portfolio-development skills through the PLA-1010 course.

Because this is knowledge you have already acquired, no textbook is required. You have already done the learning! Our Office of Prior Learning Assessment/Portfolio will provide you with the established learning outcomes (course objectives) for the courses for which you wish to earn credit based on your prior learning, so that when you write these portfolios they are targeted to articulate the knowledge that was required for the equivalent course.

Note: Credit cannot be earned through portfolio assessment for certain types of courses, including physical education activity courses and any course that must be fulfilled through direct current experience, such as practicum courses, field experiences and internships including student teaching, cooperative education, senior seminars, capstones and lab courses not accompanied by related lecture/theory courses. Also, note that English composition and most math courses are not well suited for portfolio assessment; however, Thomas Edison State University offers TECEP® exams for students who have prior learning in most of those courses, and the University accepts CLEP®, DSST® and Excelsior exam credits where appropriate.

Questions about the PLA

If you have additional questions about the PLA process, please contact us at

Portfolio Self-Assessment

Take our self-assessment to see if you are a good match for portfolio assessment or other methods of earning credit via prior learning assessment.

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