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Pima County Community College District Standard Practice Guide

SPG Title: Assessment of Prior Learning
SPG Number: SPG-3101/AA
Effective Date: 5/16/00
Approval Date: 5/16/00
Review Date(s): 3/12/14
Revision Date(s): 3/12/14
Schedule for Review & Update:   Annually
Unit Responsible for Review & Update:    Office of the Provost
Sponsoring Unit/Department: Office of the Provost
Regulation Title & No.: Assessment of Prior Learning, RG-3101/A
Board Policy Title & No.: Assessment of Credit for Prior Learning, BP-3101
Legal Reference: State Board R7-1-701
Cross Reference: 


I. Purpose

The purpose of this standard practice guide is to implement the regulation on assessment of prior learning as demonstrated through national standardized tests(College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB));  challenge exams; military service; professional certifications; and portfolio evaluation.

II.  Acceptance and Articulation of Prior Learning

Pima Community College may accept based on faculty recommendations, credit earned through College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores, challenge exams taken at the College, American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations for military service or professional certifications/training based on American Council on Education (ACE), and the evaluation of prior learning through portfolio work.  A student must have completed a minimum of 6 credits at the College for any prior learning credits to be evaluated, articulated, and/or applied toward a degree or certificate conferred by the College.

A.      Credit equivalency for CLEP, AP and IB scores is reviewed and recommended by the appropriate College Discipline Area Committee (CDAC), per the equivalencies agreed upon by the state wide Articulation Task Force.  The recommendations are given to the Vice Provost and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Services.  Credit will not be given for a course that is equivalent to, at a level below, or substantially overlaps, another course in which a student is enrolled or has already earned credit.  Tables in the College catalog (PDF version) identify the Pima equivalents for CLEP, AP and IB scores.

B.      Challenge exams may be offered for individual courses as the discretion of department/discipline faculty.  Students must register and pay for the course they wish to challenge prior to taking the challenge exam.  Upon successful completion of the exam, students will receive credit for the course.  Credit will not be given for a course that is equivalent to, at a level below, or substantially overlaps, another course in which a student is enrolled or has already earned credit unless the course is a specific requirement, rather than an elective, for his/her program.  Credits earned through challenge exam are not applicable toward completion of the AGEC.

C.      Credits from properly transcripted military service and professional certifications/training are accepted, at the discretion of the department/discipline faculty, utilizing ACE recommended equivalencies.  Credits earned through military service or professional certifications/training are not applicable toward completion of the AGEC.

D.      Acceptance of credit earned through portfolio evaluation is at the discretion of the departments/discipline faculty and/or CDAC.  Any accepted portfolio must offer detailed evidence of learning outcomes and supporting documentation, and should include descriptions of professional experience if appropriate.  Credit will not be given for a course that is equivalent to, at a level below, or substantially overlaps, another course in which a student is enrolled or has already earned credit unless the course is a specific requirement, rather than an elective, for his/her program.  Credits earned through portfolio evaluation are not applicable toward completion of the AGEC.

III.    Transferability of Prior Learning and Applicability toward General Education

Many colleges and universities do not accept transfer credit awarded for prior learning, with the exception of CLEP, AP and IB exams which are accepted at most institutions.  Therefore, CLEP, AP, and IB are the only prior learning credits allowable in the AGEC.  Other universities do re-evaluate CLEP, AP and IB scores based on their own policies, so while courses which Pima Community College applies toward the AGEC will fulfill general education requirements at the public Arizona universities, they are not guaranteed to meet requirements toward universities’ major, minor or other degree requirements. 

Credits earned through assessment of prior learning which are equivalent to courses on the occupational general education list will meet occupational general education requirements.

IV.    Grades Awarded for Prior Learning

Credits awarded for CLEP, AP, and IB exam scores will be designated on a student transcript as TP (Transfer Pass) grades, rather than letter grades.  Credits are not awarded for scores below the minimum indicated in the catalog.

Credit earned via challenge exam will be indicated on the student transcript by placing an “X” to the left of the assigned grade. 

Credit earned via portfolio evaluation, military service and professional training will be indicated on the student transcript by placing an “O” to the left of the assigned grade.

V.      Maximum Allowance of Prior Learning Credits Toward Degree or Certificate Completion

The College will allow a maximum of 67% of a program’s credits to be earned through prior learning assessment.  Prior learning credits do not apply toward the minimum credits required to be earned at Pima Community College toward degrees and certificates.