Ministry of Advanced Education
Prior Learning Assessment
PLA allows students to earn credit toward a course or program offered by a post-secondary institution if they can demonstrate, through a systematic and valid assessment process, that the learning is equivalent to that which normally would be acquired through conventional study at the post-secondary level.
Resources for Students
All British Columbia public post-secondary institutions offer PLA services to their students, though not necessarily in every program. For further information, consult the institution's academic calendar, or contact individual departments or the Student Advising Centre at the institution.
Learning completed in foreign countries or the private sector can be used to gain advanced standing in a public post-secondary educational program, or to satisfy a credential requirement for employment. An important service in this area is the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES), operated by the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
ICES conducts Foreign Credential Assessment, the analysis of educational course work completed in other countries, for the purpose of determining its BC or Canadian equivalent and what educational credits should be granted. Individuals seeking employment in a provincially regulated occupation, admission to or advanced standing in an educational program or general employment can have their foreign education properly recognized through ICES. ICES also assists employers who were previously unable to evaluate international credentials for recruitment purposes.
Below are selected resources for instructors and practitioners.
PLA Theory, Practice, and Policy
- Credit for Prior Learning: Are You a Good Candidate?: A website offering a short questionnaire about PLA candidates.
- Prior Learning Assessment - A Suggested Policy Template for Undergraduates at British Columbia Universities [PDF 180kb]
A BC university PLA policy template, which can be customized by institutions, depending on the options they wish to implement.
- Overview of PLA : Prior Learning Assessment Benefits, Quality Assurance, and a six-step PLA process.
- Towards a Learning Province: Recognizing and Crediting Learning in British Columbia: A Vision for Prior Learning Assessment in the 21st Century : This document looks at proposed recommendations from key stakeholder groups to address the expansion and sustainability of PLA in BC.
- Sustainability and Efficiency of Prior Learning Assessment in British Columbia's Public Post-secondary Education System: Background Paper : This background paper provides the rationale and information necessary for developing recommendations for sustaining PLA in the province of British Columbia.
- PLA Coordinator Guide: Developing, Implementing and Evaluating PLA Services : Provides a detailed description of roles and responsibilities of PLA Coordinators.
- Prior Learning Assessment in British Columbia: 1999/2000 Annual Report : Prior Learning Assessment in British Columbia: 1999/2000 Annual Report (2000).
- Prior Learning Assessment Performance in British Columbia, 2000/2001 Annual Report [PDF 117kb]: A report that looks at data regarding PLA student numbers and FTEs for the 2000/2001 fiscal year.
- Prior Learning Assessment Practices in BC: 2000 - 2001 PLA Survey - Selected Results (PLA Annual Report 2000 - 2001): An in-depth look into current PLA practices among public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.
- PLA Learner Brochure : A brochure that introduces the concept of Prior Learning Assessment to Adult Learners.
- PLA Training Modules : Provide consistent quality education to those involved in implementation of PLA.
- Prior Learning Assessment and the Trades: 2001 Assessment Forum [PDF 294kb]: Representatives from the trades identified and analyzed issues relating to the expansion of PLA in their workplace.
- Applied Business Technology Office Administration - Prior Learning Assessment [PDF 508kb]: Assessment tools for PLA or program completion.
- Prior Learning Assessment for Hospitality Management in BC [PDF 203kb]: Website and guide. The BC Hospitality PLA Initiative helps bridge the gap between industry and education by increasing access to college hospitality programs.
- Prior Learning Assessment in Health and Human Services Programs in BC : Provides examples of institutes in BC in which PLA has been implemented in health and human services programs.
- Assessment of PLA Student Success [PDF 57kb]: A report that describes a study that assessed the academic success of students who received PLA credits.
- Quality Assurance Kit for the Practice of PLA in Public Post-secondary Education in BC [PDF 89kb]: Provides a resource for those who want to improve services associated with PLA.
- The Learners' Perspectives on Prior Learning Assessment