What is Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)?
Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is the process by which a student demonstrates that college-level learning accomplished outside the classroom is equivalent to the learning accomplished in a course, typically by taking a test or compiling a portfolio to measure the quality and level of experiential learning.
CPL is sometimes referred to as Prior Learning Assessment, or PLA.
To learn more about the various types of CPL Parkside accepts and offers, check out the Credit for Prior Learning page.
What is the difference between learning and experience?
Experience is the thing you do—the travel, the work project, the serving in the food pantry, etc.—while learning is what changes in your perspective and the application of information you made through the experience.
Credit for Prior Learning opportunities ask you to connect your experience with learning.
CPL Options at UW-Parkside
What Credit for Prior Learning options are available?
UW-Parkside offers a broad range of CPL, from nationally recognized exams such as AP, IB, CLEP, and DANTES that are administered externally to Challenge Exams and CPL Portfolios that are administered internally through the Center for Adult and Returning Students. Check out the Credit for Prior Learning page to learn more about the individual types of CPL at Parkside.
How do I find out more about my CPL options at UW-Parkside?
How does CPL relate to me if I am a Veteran or currently active duty?
If you are a veteran or are currently active duty military, you may be able to use CPL to petition for credit relating to your experiential learning in the military. To learn more about how your specific experience can help you to earn CPL, contact the Center for Adult and Returning Students to set up a consultation.
How do I register for CPL?
Contact CARS at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak about a CPL opportunity! CPL Portfolios and Challenge Exams are approved through a process separate from the UW-Parkside registration process. Please note that these opportunities are not guaranteed, and that the coordination and approvals process can take extra time to complete.
Are there deadlines for completing CPL credits?
We recommend that you complete your CPL activities before you apply for graduation, as both coordination of opportunities and transcription of any credits earned can take time.
CPL activities are not confined to the semester schedule, provided the Adult Student Program Manager and assessing faculty member approve your timeline.
Are there fees for CPL? If yes, what are they?
Challenge Exams and CPL Portfolio cost a flat fee of $150 for each class you petition, no matter the potential number of credits you might earn. The fee will be charged to your SOLAR account as a part of the CPL approvals process.
The externally administered CLEP and DANTES Exams have their own fee structure. Check out the links to their websites on our Credit for Prior Learning page for the most up-to-date information on cost.
CPL Support and Assessment
Is there any guidance for writing a CPL portfolio?
The Center for Adult and Returning Students is available to support you throughout the CPL portfolio process and will provide you with a portfolio template and other documents to assist you.
For anyone looking for more comprehensive support, CARS offers an optional one-credit course, UWP 200: Prior Learning Portfolio, to help you through the writing process. This course is offered online, can be completed asynchronously, and is graded on a Credit/No Credit basis, so it won't affect your GPA. Registration is by instructor permission and requires a permission number; contact Dana Roders, the Adult Student Program Manager, for more information about the course.
Who will evaluate my CPL?
Parkside’s Credit for Prior Learning policy, which you can find on the Credit for Prior Learning page and in the front of the Academic Catalog, says “Each portfolio is evaluated by a qualified faculty member or qualified content expert based on the published standards and learning outcomes of the course for which credit is being requested.” In most cases, this will be the professor who teaches the class you petition for CPL credit.
How will my CPL be evaluated?
Your CPL assessor will evaluate your CPL using a customized rubric to see if you have demonstrated a level of learning equivalent to having taken and passed the class. The assessor will use the Learning Outcomes listed in the syllabus of the course you are petitioning to guide their assessment.