Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process for assessing learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. This could be learning acquired through military service, employer training programs, independent study, non-credit courses, open courseware, or volunteer or community service. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a means of evaluating what a student already knows at the college-level derived from these experiences for college credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training.
To be eligible to earn PLA credit, a student must be currently or previously enrolled at ACC and meet all ACC admissions requirements. They should not have previously taken or attempted the course that is the same as the PLA credit for which they are applying. PLA credit is only awarded when it applies to ACC programs of study. Credit for prior learning will be administered by the
Associate Registrar in the Office of Admissions and Records.
Sources of credit for prior learning
- Coursework completed at a regionally accredited institution – ACC accepts college level credit in transfer from colleges and universities accredited by any of the six regional accreditation bodies (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, New England Commission of Higher Education, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, and Western Association of Colleges and Schools). Students shall submit an official transcript. ACC evaluates undergraduate courses for appropriate transfer credit. A grade of “C” or above must be earned to receive transfer credit. Approved transfer credits appear on the official ACC transcript.
Coursework completed at a nationally accredited institution – ACC may accept college level credit in transfer from colleges and universities accredited by national accreditors recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. (e.g., Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, Council on Occupational Education, Distance Education Accrediting Commissions). Credits accepted from institutions accredited nationally apply to technical programs aligned with the transferring institution. Students shall submit an official transcript. ACC evaluates the courses for alignment with ACC programs and possible transfer credit. A grade of “C” or above must be earned to receive transfer credit. Approved transfer credits appear on the official ACC transcript.
- International Coursework – Students will generally need one of two types of foreign evaluations (not a translation) for US equivalency for any education obtained outside of the United States if that institution is not accredited by a recognized US accreditor. Students should submit original transcripts in native language and original evaluations to ACC’s Evaluation Office.
- ACCTech Program – High School Articulated Credit (ACCTech) – Students may receive credit for selected high school programs not offered as Dual Credit courses. To receive credit, the student must be enrolled in ACC, complete at least one college course, and request their ACCTech credit within 24 months of high school graduation.
- Military Credit – Credit may be received for military training and education. Students will supply ACC with a Joint Services Transcript (JST) for evaluation. ACC uses the American Council on Education (ACE) reference guide “Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services” to award credit for military training. If a course equivalency is not listed by ACE, the applicant may contact ACE directly to request a review (visit acenet.edu for contact information.)
Credit by exam:
ACC awards credit for qualified scores on nationally standardized examinations for the following instruments, as well as ACC Department Challenge Exams:
- AP (Advanced Placement)
- IB (International Baccalaureate) Exam
- DANTES Exams
- ACC Department Challenge Exams
Official test scores must be sent from the testing agency to the Office of Admissions and Records. Statutory and other restrictions apply to credit granted by exam. These restrictions are listed in ACC’s Catalog.
- Advanced Placement (AP) Credit – Students who score a minimum of 3 on the AP exam may receive credit for the appropriate course. A listing of course equivalencies is included in ACC’s Catalog.
- CLEP Credit – Students may receive credit by taking subject CLEP exams at ACC’s testing centers, or other authorized testing centers. CLEP testing may include an assessment of any relevant skills. A listing of course equivalencies and required scores is included in ACC’s Catalog.
- International Baccalaureate (IB) – Students may receive credit for courses completed through the International Baccalaureate. A listing of course equivalencies and required scores is included in ACC’s Catalog.
- Defense Activity for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES) – Students may receive credit for courses completed through DANTES. A listing of course equivalencies and required scores is included in ACC’s Catalog.
- Departmental Challenge Exam – Students who believe that they have prior knowledge in a subject matter area may request a challenge exam. Departments offering challenge exams are listed in the ACC Catalog, with courses available for challenge credit. Departmental challenge exams are developed by the relevant programs and administered by the campus testing centers or academic departments. A student must petition the College to receive credit by departmental examination. Students may only attempt internal (departmental) challenge exams once.
- CE to Credit Conversions – Non-credit coursework may be converted to credit in some circumstances. Credit conversion is governed by the current, internal articulation agreement between Continuing Education and the appropriate instructional department.
Students must have successfully completed the non-credit course.
- Industry Recognized Certifications – Students may receive credit for attainment of state or national licensure or certifications as listed in the ACC Catalog. Course credit is based on competencies demonstrated through successful completion of the professional certification, or Texas state or national licensure examinations. Eligible equivalent course credit for professional certificates and state or national licensure is listed in the ACC Catalog. Students must provide evidence of an official, current Texas or national licensure or professional certificate to receive credit. Credit is generally awarded for introductory level courses only and will not be awarded for core curriculum or general education courses. Credit for industry certifications must be approved by the respective Program Advisory Committee.
- Credit from Community Based Organizations (CBO) – Students may receive credit for training from a Community Based organization that has worked with Continuing Education to align its training hours and learning outcomes to corresponding Texas Higher Education
Coordinating Board recognized courses. Conversion to college credit may then be completed as prescribed in “CE to Credit Conversions.”
- Credit from Department of Labor (DOL) Recognized Industry Apprenticeship Training Programs – Students may receive credit for certain apprenticeship programs that align with ACC technical programs. Articulation agreements must be created between individual regional DOL registered apprenticeship training programs utilizing crosswalks listed on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s website under “Apprenticeship Crosswalks Project.”
- Portfolio Assessment – Certain ACC instructional departments employ portfolios as a program/course assessment. Students may receive credit for courses in such programs upon review by the appropriate instructional department.
- Advanced course placement without Credit – Departments may permit advanced course placement without college credit. Students should contact the Department Chair for information.