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Armstrong State University-2015--Award Credit for AP/IB/CLEP/DSST/ACE/Portfolio review

High Impact Strategy

Implementation of Adult Learning Consortium Principles for awarding credit based on verifiable experience or prior learning.


1. Increase in the number of undergraduate degrees awarded by Armstrong, by 0.5% per year

2. Increase the number of degrees awarded on-time (raise our 6-year graduation rate 0.5% per year for each student type)

3. Decrease the number of excess credits toward degree, by 10% by 2020

Summary of Activities

We have implemented the recommended principles of the Adult Learning Consortium. Specifically, we added the PLA portfolio, adjusted our minimum CLEP scores to the recommended 50, expanded our AP and IB credit acceptance policies, offered challenge exams in courses where no CLEP exam exists and worked to improve our ACE/JST transcript acceptance policies and procedures. We have evaluated over 60 ACE course recommendations and are working to simplify the awarding of ACE course credits. We were funded in 2014-2015 by the USG College Access Challenge grant to improve our ACE/JST transcript evaluation process, which resulted in the 60 courses reviewed. This strategy involves faculty who are on the adult learner committee, our testing center, our transfer evaluation and Registrar staff, our Liberty Center director and staff and all of our professional advising staff. 

Baseline Status

We award a 5-year average of 4,734 PLA credits from AP, IB, CLEP and DANTES (Table 12). We graduate, on average, 33% of our adult students in 6-years and 30% of our military affiliated students (Table 3).

Interim Measure of Progress

Each of these items was fully in place for the 2014-2015 academic year and continues for 2015-2016. We have had some increases in the number of credits awarded via AP, DANTES and dual-enrollment. We have also seen an increase in our adult-learner graduation rate, which was 39% for our 2008 cohort.

Measure of Success

We expect to see a continued measurable increase in the use of these credit options within our student population, coupled with a measured decrease in the number of excess credits at graduation. Success in this area is evidenced by a steady increase in the graduation rate of adult students and traditional student (AP) using these credit options. 

Lessons learned

Prior learning assessment (PLA) is multi-faceted and requires dedicated staff to manage the process. For some students, the portfolio option requires a significant amount of work that they are reluctant to do. Thus, adult students generally prefer CLEP exams or an ACE credit evaluation over a portfolio option. Having a well-trained and staffed testing center and advising center can assist with educating students on their PLA options.