Conducting a credit for prior learning portfolio review allows you to obtain credit for past learning acquired from outside the traditional institutional setting.
Prior learning may include:
- work experience (paid or volunteer)
- in-service training, conferences and workshops
- self-initiated study
- participation in community, professional and other organizations
- avocational, leisure pursuits
This is an opportunity to present a coherent, carefully organized and convincing case that identifies specific learning outcomes which have resulted from your experiences. If you can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the WSU faculty evaluators that what you have learned is substantially equivalent in level and depth of knowledge to what you would acquire in the classroom, the faculty member may recommend the awarding of equivalency credits.
Benefits of a Portfolio Review
Credit for prior learning can:
- reduce your time to degree completion
- eliminate taking courses for which you have already acquired substantial knowledge and skills
- reduce the cost of your education
Portfolio Review Process
You may request evaluation of prior learning through the development of a
portfolio. Make an appointment to meet with an Adult Entry Program
Advisor in Adult & Continuing Education. When you
meet with the advisor bring along a brief outline of your prior learning
experience. In consultation with the Adult Entry Program Advisor, you
will need to make a realistic appraisal of your experiences and the
appropriateness of the portfolio process for your educational program.
If the decision is made to proceed with the process, you, the student,
will write and compile the material that you wish to have analyzed for
consideration of credit. In addition to preparation of written material,
an interview or demonstration of competency may be required.
If you and the Adult Entry Program Advisor have determined it is in your best interest to proceed with the portfolio process, use the Request for Prior Learning Assessment Form (PDF) for each area for which you are requesting credit. All requests for equivalency credit must be completed at least 6 months prior to graduation. There is $50 fee for the assessment of prior learning for each academic area. For example, if you are submitting a portfolio to be reviewed for credits in accounting and another portfolio to be reviewed for credits in management, you would submit $100.00 with your portfolios. In addition, a charge equal to half the resident undergraduate credit hour tuition rate will be assessed for each credit of equivalency coursework granted.
Preparing Your Portfolio(s)
Categorize Your Work Experience
Using the current Winona State University Undergraduate Catalog, divide your work experience and training into categories that would fit in academic departments at WSU. For example, computer skills would most likely be taught in Computer Science or Management Information Systems, etc. Each academic area will be reviewed separately, so, if you are seeking credit for more than one area, you will need to prepare an individual portfolio for each area.
Identify Knowledge & Skills
Begin with work experience identifying knowledge, skills and competencies demonstrated by your job functions. Identify job positions, employers and length of time spent working in each category of job responsibilities/requirements.
Identify Formal & Informal Training
Identify all formal and informal training you have received in each job area excluding training for which you have received formal college credit (either from WSU or by approved transfer credit).
Calculate or estimate the amount of time spent in non-credit bearing training for each category or area that you plan to submit for credit evaluation.
Include any other resources you have utilized as part of your prior learning experience that would contribute to the knowledge, skills or competencies being used as a basis for your credit evaluation request.
Prepare a Written NarrativePrepare a written narrative of your prior learning that specifically details the learning outcomes you have received as a result. These learning outcomes should match the learning outcomes for the course you are seeking equivalency credit for.
Submitting Your Portfolio
Review Your Portfolio
Submit your prepared portfolio to the Adult Entry Advisor in Adult & Continuing Education, Somsen 209.
Forward to Academic Department
The Adult Entry Advisor will attach a cover letter and request for evaluation sheet to your portfolio and forward it to the academic department(s) for evaluation.
Award of Credit
The Adult Entry Advisor will inform you of the departmental decision to award or not to award credit and the amount of credit that has been awarded.
Process of Approved Credits
If you accept the credit award, the Adult Entry Advisor will submit paperwork to the Registrar’s Office for placement of approved equivalency credits on your academic transcript. The Registrar’s Office will initiate a billing request for the approved credits. Once processed, these charges will show up on your bill which can be accessed through eServices.
The process of assembling a satisfactory portfolio can be time consuming, and there is no guarantee that credit will be awarded. The decision to recommend equivalency credits rests with the faculty. All prior learning portfolio credits are awarded on a P/NC basis. Most often prior learning portfolio credit will be awarded toward general electives.