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Prior Learning Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What departments offer Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

A. Most departments offer the option of challenging courses; however, not all courses are challengeable. At Edmonds CC, credit for prior learning is awarded on a "course "equivalency" model. That means that if your learning meets the specific outcomes of an Edmonds CC course, you have the opportunity to "challenge" the course. Learning that does not meet the outcomes of a specific Edmonds CC course, may be validated through a Special Project that may result in elective credit.

Q. How will I earn college credit?

A. You will be assessed through the course challenge process that will determine the degree to which you have met the learning outcomes of the course challenged. This could be a test but it could also be a demonstration, written documentation, oral interview or other appropriate method by which the faculty assessor determines your understanding of the subject matter. Your grade and credits will be transcripted the quarter in which they were earned. All credits will be counted toward Edmonds CC's residency requirement.

Q. What kind of learning is appropriate?

A. Knowledge that is current and corresponds to courses taught at the college may be assessed for college credit. Your level of competence should be comparable to that of students in regular courses, including both theoretical and practical knowledge of the subject. It must be possible to evaluate what you know and can do.

Q. What are the benefits of PLA?

A. You will build on what you already know and can do thus avoiding duplicating coursework already completed outside of the traditional classroom. Often, the time to degree completion is shortened and expenses are reduced. And, the combination of prior or experiential learning with classroom learning provides a more coordinated overall program of study.

Q. How many credits can I earn?

A. Current accreditation standards suggest that no more than 25% of the credits earned through PLA processes may be earned toward degrees or certificates. Departments may have their own guidelines.

Q. Will the credits transfer to other colleges?

A. Many colleges and universities accept credits earned through course challenges. To avoid disappointment, it is recommended that you check with the receiving institution before beginning the Course Challenge or Special Project processes.

Q. What will this cost?

A. At the present time, Course Challenges and Special Projects are not state-funded. A self-supporting fee of $225 is charged for each Course Challenge. There is no refund for unsuccessful challenges and those would not have any transcript entry. The fee for a Special Project is $350 and there is no refund for incomplete projects. Payment by credit card can be made over the phone (425.640.1563 or 425.640.1186); by mailing a check payable to Edmonds CC to the Cashiers' Department (at Edmonds CC 20000 68th Ave West, Lynnwood WA 98036); or paying in person at the Cashiers' Department (located on the first floor of Lynnwood Hall on the main campus). For all payment options, you will be asked to provide your Student Identification (SID) number.

Q. Who can I contact for more information or help?

A. You will work with an assigned faculty member and the PLA Director is available to assist you throughout this process. See the Contact Us link for specific names, emails, and phone numbers.