CAEL-WICHE PLA Study
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We invite your institution to participate in cael-wiche's

2019 PLA Impact Study

 

Ten years ago, we learned about PLA and adult student outcomes.

Join us as we learn more about PLA impact in 2019

 

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) invite you to participate in a new research study on prior learning assessment (PLA). We are examining the relationship between PLA credit-earning and undergraduate student educational outcomes such as persistence and degree-earning. Participating institutions will be asked to share student data with us and complete a questionnaire on the PLA policies and practices at their institutions.

Grants from Lumina Foundation and Strada Education Network are making this study possible and allowing us to offer up to 70 postsecondary institutions stipends of $2500 each for their participation and contribution to this study.

We are seeking postsecondary institutions that meet the following criteria:

  • The institution has offered at least two different PLA methods (e.g. standardized exams like CLEP, ACE credit for military training, challenge exams, or portfolio assessment) since at least 2011 (*or soon thereafter for community colleges/two-year institutions - parameter revised 4/29/19).

  • The institution tracks PLA credit-earning as part of the student’s academic record.

We encourage all institutions who meet these basic criteria or something very similar to apply to be part of this this study, which will build on a decade of ground-breaking research on PLA and will provide the adult learning and postsecondary fields with up-to-date findings on the experiences and outcomes of students who earn credit through PLA. Will you join us?

Click here to learn more about the partners.

The application deadline is MAY 10, 2019.

 

Application Process

 

We expect that several individuals at your institution may need to be involved in deciding to apply and preparing to submit the application. For this reason, we recommend that you download and review the Request for Applications (RFA) and application to study (click here) to gather the required information before returning to this website to complete and submit the application form online. The request for applications includes the complete list of data elements CAEL and WICHE will be collecting for the study and the PDF of the application to the study.

The study is limited to 70 postsecondary institutions that meet the following criteria:

  1. The institution has offered at least two different PLA methods since at least 2011(*or soon thereafter for community colleges/two-year institutions - parameter revised 4/29/19). PLA methods include

    • standardized exams (e.g., CLEP, UExcel, DSST, etc.),

    • challenge exams,

    • portfolio assessment,

    • credit for military training/occupations through ACE recommendations,

    • credit for other external training or certifications through ACE or NCCRS recommendations or through an internal process at your institution.

  2. The institution tracks PLA credit-earning as part of the student’s academic record.

All participating institutions will be asked to provide student-level data records in a de-identified format for the cohort of all degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who matriculated for the first time at the institution in academic year 2011-12 (*or soon thereafter for community colleges/two-year institutions - parameter revised 4/29/19), with data elements reflecting credits earned and postsecondary outcomes through the end of calendar year 2018 (Fall 2018-19). Participating institutions will also be asked to complete a questionnaire about PLA policies/practices and adult serving policies/practices at that institution.

The application deadline is 11:59 pm CDT, MAY 10, 2019.

 

Study Timeline

 

CAEL and WICHE will select up to 70 institutions to participate in the study with most of the data collection and interviews taking place in the summer and fall of 2019. We ask that institutions check with their institutional research departments to ensure that they will be able to provide the needed data during the summer; if the timing of the data collection is challenging for your institution, the application form provides a place to communicate that. Below are the key dates for the project.

 
 

May 10, 2019

Application deadline

 
 

May 31, 2019

Selected institutions are notified

 
 

June 15-July 31, 2019

Institutions submit data and policy/practice questionnaire

 
 

Fall 2019

Interviews with institutions and PLA students (optional)

 
 

Spring 2020

Publication of findings

 
 

Questions?

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the application or the study.

Becky Klein-Collins
Associate Vice President of Research and Policy Development
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
312.499.2329 | bklein@cael.org

 

Benefits of Participation

Your institution's participation in the largest-ever multi-institutional study on the relationship between PLA and student educational outcomes will provide valuable information to the higher education field and the nation. Other benefits for participation include:

  • A $2500 stipend

  • 5 hard copies of the final published report

  • A PowerPoint presentation of the report’s overall findings, customized to include analysis for your individual institution on:

    • characteristics of PLA earners

    • the persistence and graduation rates of PLA earners at your institution compared with non-PLA earners

    • how PLA-earner outcome measures at your institution compare to those of other institutions of similar size and sector (where such comparisons are possible within our sample)