2021-2022 Student Handbook 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Student Handbook [Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Purpose of Policy

To recognize college-level learning students acquire outside of formal higher education, National Park College relies on the following policy and procedures to ensure practices consistent with academic integrity and responsive to nontraditional learners. Such learning may be derived from various life and work experiences, and the term “prior learning assessment” refers to all of the processes the college uses to review and evaluate evidence of learning and to award academic credit as indicated by academic and administrative standards. Adherence to this policy is also intended to support transparent transfer of prior learning assessment credit among institutions of higher education.


Policy and Procedures

National Park College may award college credit for prior learning using the policy and procedures stated herein.



Students who are currently enrolled in classes and/or are in good standing at NPC are eligible to seek credit for prior learning.


Number of Credits

The residency requirement for graduation is 18 hours for each degree earned, and this requirement cannot be satisfied with PLA credits. A student may receive credit for prior learning as long as the residency requirement is satisfied.  


Validation Methods

Prior learning credit may be awarded for current courses offered at NPC, and the following methods may be considered for credit evaluation:

  1. Credit recommendations listed in the American Council on Education
    (ACE) National Guide regarding military coursework, General Education Development (GED), or workforce training.
  2. Credit demonstrated by successfully passing national for-credit examination programs, such as Advanced Placement (AP), College Board College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Standardized Subject Test (DSST), and International Baccalaureate (IB). See the corresponding tables below for minimum score requirements.
  3. Individual portfolios using Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) guidelines and/or portfolio submissions evaluated by LearningCounts.org, the online prior learning assessment service provided by CAEL. Students may produce a portfolio including a narrative and supporting documentation in order to explain learning through life and work experiences.
  4. Institutional credit and examinations.  PLEASE NOTE:  Institutional validation procedures should be objective to the extent that external evaluators would reach the same conclusion given the material reviewed, consistent with CAEL guidelines.
  5. Credit for NPTC Industrial Training - High School students who enroll in the National Park Technology Center in Machine Tool Technology (Industrial Technologies) or Wood Technology (Furniture Manufacturing) are afforded the opportunity to earn the National Center for Construction Education (NCCER) Core Curriculum Certification. This certification is the main component of INDT 1014 Industrial Fundamentals, a required course in the NPC Industrial Technology and Welding Technology programs. Upon receipt of the NCCER Core Curriculum certification card or completion certificate, National Park College will award credit for prior learning for INDT 1014 Industrial Fundamentals to eligible students. Criteria for eligibility - student must be a former NPTC Machine Tool Technology (Industrial Technologies) or Wood Technology (Furniture Manufacturing) student who has enrolled in the Industrial Technology or Welding Technology program at NPC and successfully completed the NCCER Core Curriculum Certification. The student must enroll at NPC within five years of enrollment with NPTC to receive credit.
  6. GED College Ready and GED College Ready + Credit - National Park College may consider college placement and course credit recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) regarding GED test scores. Regarding placement, test takers who score in the GED College Ready range (165-174) will be allowed to enroll in college-level courses without developmental education or placement test requirements. Test takers who score in the GED College Ready + Credit range (175-200) may be eligible for up to three credits in Math (College Algebra).



Credits for prior learning will be applied to the student’s NPC transcript, and the method used will be noted. A grade of CR will be applied and will not be calculated in the student’s grade point average (GPA).



NPC cannot guarantee transfer of credit for prior learning to other institutions. It is the decision of the receiving institution to accept such credit in transfer, and students are advised to check on the transferability of credit prior to applying for credit.



National Park College charges a fee for a portfolio assessment to earn credit through PLA. The fee is $125 for the first 12 credits reviewed (it is not a per-credit fee-it covers up to 12 credits), and then $25 for each additional 6 credits reviewed. This fee is not dependent on the results of the assessment.


Students choosing to earn credit demonstrated by successfully passing national for-credit examination programs, such as Advanced Placement (AP), College Board College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DANTES Standardized Subject Test (DSST), International Baccalaureate (IB), or the OPAC Challenge, are subject to the corresponding fee structure. The OPAC Challenge is free to all NPC students who wish to use it as a prerequisite for Information Systems I or any other course with a prerequisite of Intro to Computing. Students who wish to complete the exam for credit will pay a fee equivalent to the cost of tuition for three credit hours upon successful completion, which will then be applied to the NPC transcript.


Since Portfolio Assessment credit and credit by examination do not receive a letter grade (A, B, C, D), they are not usually eligible for financial aid.


Portfolio Preparation Support

Students who wish to earn credit through Portfolio Assessment should visit with the Director of Career Services to learn how to assemble and present their work. Interested students should visit with the Career Center prior to paying the assessment fee to learn expectations and work involved with earning credits through PLA.



The College’s Registrar will be responsible for tracking the number of students who earn credits through PLA and the resulting credits awarded in each category.  A master list of PLA awardees, number of participates in the PLA process, retention and degree completion as they progress through the programs, and-if possible-job placement will be made available to the College on an annual basis.



The College reviews and updates all of its college policies annually to reflect student concerns, federal and state compliance changes and to ensure the policy is still relevant.  As such, the PLA policy will be reviewed each year and updated to reflect the current climate of the institution.

Score Charts for Credit by Examination