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Prior Learning Portfolio: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Portfolio Credit?

What is “College-Level Learning”?

How does YCCC determine college-level learning?

Can I receive credit for any course?

How soon should the portfolio be completed?

How do I get help while working on this project?

How does the portfolio review process work?

How would credits awarded for a Portfolio appear on my transcript?

 

What is Portfolio Credit?

Portfolio Credit provides a process for evaluating, and when appropriate, awarding academic credit for learning acquired outside of the traditional college environment. Students seeking Portfolio Credit must prove that their prior learning is equivalent to college-level learning. Portfolio Credit may only be sought when other forms of Prior Learning Assessment do not exist to evaluate the college-level learning you possess. Each submitted portfolio must document this level of learning as indicated by the objectives and competencies outlined for each course in the portfolio.

A college faculty member will review the portfolio and make a decision about credit awards. The reviewer may request an interview, by phone or in person, in conjunction with the submitted portfolio before the final assessment is completed. The decision of the reviewer is final. Portfolios cannot be resubmitted.

Please be aware that completing and submitting the portfolio does not guarantee that credits will be awarded.

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What is “College-Level Learning”?

College-level learning may be described as a level of competency in a subject area as it relates to college courses. College courses tend to emphasize theories, concepts and foundational information on a particular topic, as well as some examples of practical application. College students reflect on information they learn and apply it to the “bigger picture,” rather than focusing on mere tasks.

Having experience with tasks associated with a topic is not an indication of college-level learning, and not every training experience helps develop college-level competencies. In other words, completing a few tasks or attending a training session as part of your job does not mean you have achieved college-level learning. However, completing your portfolio as outlined in the Portfolio Handbook will help you determine if your prior learning is likely college-level and provide a process for you to demonstrate college-level learning in the course(s) for which you are attempting to get credit.

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How does YCCC determine college-level learning?

College-level credit may be awarded based on content and presentation criteria being met at a grade C level or above. In Earn College Credit for What You Know, Lois Lamdin explains the criteria for college level learning developed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Education. In order to be considered college level learning, work or other experiences must:

  • Be measurable.
  • Demonstrate a level of achievement consistent with the learning of students in college.
  • Apply outside the specific job or context in which it was learned.
  • Have a knowledge base.
  • Be reasonably current.
  • Be a conceptual or theoretical understanding as well as a practical one.
  • Demonstrate a relationship to specific academic degree and/or lifelong learning goals.
  • Not repeat learning for which credit has already been awarded.

The portfolio reviewer will follow ten standards for quality assurance established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Education:

1. Credit should be awarded only for learning and not for experience.

2. College credit should be awarded only for college-level learning.

3. Credit should be awarded only for learning that has a balance, appropriate to the subject, between theory and practical application.

4. The determination of competence levels and of credit awards must be made by academic experts in the appropriate subject matter.

5. Credit should be appropriate to the academic context in which it is accepted.

6. Credit awards and their transcript entries should be monitored to avoid giving credit twice for the same learning.

7. Policies and procedures applied to assessment, including provision for appeal, should be fully disclosed and prominently available.

8. Fees charged for assessment should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded.

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Can I receive credit for any course?

Portfolio credit can only be obtained for courses within a program that are not addressed in YCCC's other Assessment of Prior Learning options. For instance, if a CLEP exam exists for a Literature requirement, you need to consider that exam and not a portfolio.

An exception exists for students who are matriculated into the Associate in Applied Science degree in Technical and Trade Studies. They may be awarded a block of up to 24 credits, including credits that fall outside of the YCCC curriculum.

Portfolio Credit may only be sought only when other forms of Prior Learning Assessment do not exist to evaluate the college-level learning you possess. All prior learning credit is subject to the residency maximum.

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How soon should the portfolio be completed?

Portfolios can be submitted after a student has matriculated into a degree program and has earned at least six YCCC credits, three of which must include ENG101 College Composition or the equivalency. The earlier the portfolio is submitted, the more beneficial to the student and the academic advising process.

Many students who have been awarded credits have received them for introductory courses, which are the prerequisites for advanced courses. All prerequisites must be followed; credit will not be awarded for a course that has not had its prerequisite met. Students may not take advanced courses without having fulfilled the prerequisites, even if a portfolio is in the review process. The portfolio credits need to be transcripted before they can be considered earned. Therefore, completing a portfolio in a timely fashion ensures the maximum benefits to a student as they complete degree requirements.

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How do I get help while working on this project?

Consider treating your portfolio as though it is an “independent study course.” This handbook is your main resource; however, if you have questions or concerns, please contact the PLA Portfolio Advisor.

While you do not receive credit for the time it takes to complete your portfolio, it helps to consider it to be a college project. Schedule days and times that you will dedicate to working on the tasks outlined. Deadlines will help you stay focused, and completing tasks will help you stay motivated!

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How does the portfolio review process work?

Portfolios received by October 1st will be evaluated before the start of the January semester and those received by March 1st will be evaluated before the start of the September semester. Two copies of each portfolio must be submitted to Academic Affairs. The College will return one copy of the portfolio and keep the second on file.

Each student may present only one Portfolio for review and each portfolio will be reviewed only once. The college will notify you by mail as to their decision on whether or not to award credits, and may request minor revisions to be resubmitted within 15 business days.

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How would credits awarded for a Portfolio appear on my transcript?

Credits awarded for portfolios are listed on transcripts under Prior Learning and assigned a “P” grade notation. Portfolio credits will not be calculated as part of your GPA and do not count towards the YCCC residency requirement. Portfolio credits are transferrable within the Maine Community College System, but are generally non-transferable to other colleges.

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