Students often come to CCV with learning acquired from workplace training, community or military service, or other experiences. The VSC’s Assessment of Prior Learning program (APL), housed at CCV, is nationally recognized as a trailblazer for offering an integrated APL course to students pursuing post-secondary degrees, saving students both time and money.
On September 28, 2011, President Joyce Judy was a panelist at “Prior Learning Assessment: College Strategies for 21st Century Students,” a forum sponsored by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Center for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), in Washington D.C. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s article on the conference, “Education Leaders Stress Need to Give Credit for Life Experience,” includes quotes from her presentation.
Also in September, APL Coordinator of Assessment Services Gabrielle Dietzel hosted three visitors from Leeward Community College and the University of Hawaii. The group spent a week in Vermont interviewing students and staff, visiting an APL class, and learning about Vermont’s APL program as they prepare a similar APL program for Leeward Community College in Hawaii.
Students enrolled in the 3-credit, 15-week APL course build portfolios that articulate and document the college-level learning they have acquired through work and other experience. Established in 1976, it is one of the oldest APL programs in the country. More than 7,000 Vermonters have participated in the APL portfolio process. “There is a difference between experience and learning gained through experience,” says Dietzel. “This course helps students make this distinction, and to translate life and career learning into the language of higher education.”
Between fall 2006 and fall 2010, 68 percent of students who successfully completed APL continued to enroll in courses at CCV, and 24 percent continued their education at other VSC institutions. A major benefit for most APL students is that they can complete their degree in less time. Of the 2009-2010 APL student cohort, 13 percent had received an associate degree by 2011, and 11 percent had received a B.A./S.