Excelsior College and LearningCounts.org Join Forces
Albany, N.Y. (June 27, 2012)
LearningCounts.org will provide portfolio assessment services for the College to enhance degree completion opportunities for adults
Excelsior College, the nation’s leading, accredited, nonprofit institution providing distance and online degree completion programs has teamed up with LearningCounts.org to further increase access to a college degree among working adults.
LearningCounts.org provides prior learning assessment (PLA) services to colleges nationwide. PLA encompasses a variety of tools to evaluate learning acquired outside the traditional college classroom. One of these methods is portfolio assessment. When existing standardized examinations or other methods of evaluation are not available, portfolio assessment provides a means by which students may have the learning they have achieved evaluated by teams of faculty for college-level equivalency. LearningCounts.org will provide portfolio assessment services for students enrolled or interested in Excelsior College.
"A common misconception is that portfolio assessment is how someone receives college credit simply for life experience," said Dr. Patrick Jones, Excelsior's vice provost. "Portfolio assessment, when done correctly as CAEL does, is a structured process based on sound academic principles by which students must demonstrate to a team of faculty that the learning, knowledge and competencies they have achieved through life experience is worthy of college credit."
To initiate a portfolio assessment, students will first take a six-week online course (CAEL 100) in which they will learn details about how the process works and what constitutes appropriate evidence of the learning, knowledge and competencies they possess. This course has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE CREDIT) for three semester hour credits. Students then create portfolios which document their learning through work, employer training programs, military service, independent study, non-credit courses, volunteer or community service, and open source courseware study that cannot be measured by another means. Excelsior College will accept these credits in transfer for students as they enroll.
Research has shown that students who received PLA credit completed degrees at much higher rates than students who do not utilize PLA. Students using PLA also had higher persistence rates and a faster time to completion.
LearningCounts.org is just finishing its pilot phase, and is operating with support from the Lumina Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Joyce Foundation, State Street Foundation, USA Funds, Houston Endowment, and the Brown Foundation. The Walmart Foundation is also providing support and funding scholarships for eligible users of LearningCounts.org.