ERIC Number: EJ1030633
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Reference Count: 7
PLA Binaries in the Context of Competency-Based Assessment
Popova, Viktoria; Clougherty, R. J., Jr.
Journal of Continuing Higher Education, v62 n1 p56-58 2014
In this article, the authors report that, as the importance of competency-based learning (CBL) in higher education discourse surges, it not only further validates prior learning assessment (PLA), but it demonstrates PLA's essential nature as an important framework for assessing learning that has been acquired outside of traditional academia. Popova and Clougherty assert that one of the major binaries in PLA is between course-matching (CM) and non-course-matching (NCM) assessment. PLA-practicing institutions that base their practices on course-matching modules require that students who apply for PLA credits "match" their learning to specific courses or course outcomes. In some instances, an institution will allow the match to be to a course outside its own curriculum, but the match must be to an existing course in an accredited institution. Non-course-matching approaches do not require that the student's learning match any prescribed outcomes but, instead, assess learning descriptively. As competency-based learning (CBL) moves away from both the course and the credit hour, this key binary begins to lose significance. As those who work with PLA know, courses and credits can make the designation of learning more challenging. When institutions adopt PLA practices, they are often faced with having to choose between course-match and non-course-match models. Popova and Clougherty suggest that using a CBL-based PLA approach brings the advantages of both, and the disadvantages of neither. Likewise, as institutions begin to migrate toward competency-based learning, it is important to remember that it does not contradict or challenge PLA; rather, it enhances it.
Descriptors: Prior Learning, Competency Based Education, Student Evaluation, Higher Education, College Curriculum, Courses, College Students
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A