Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the process through which students can earn college credit by identifying and documenting college-level learning that has been acquired through life experiences such as military, and/or work experience, training, professional certification, independent study, volunteer activities, and hobbies.

A variety of practices exist for awarding credit for learning which has taken place outside of higher educational institutions. These include:

  • Portfolio-Based Assessment
  • Credit by Examination
  • College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB): College Level Examinations Programs (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP).
  • Non-Collegiate Sponsored Education including: Military (e.g., AARTS, SMAART), American Council on Education (ACE), College Credit Recommendation Service and Professional Licenses or Industry Certifications.

Portfolio-Based Assessment

For Portfolio Based Assessment the student will most likely need to submit the following:

  • Resume
  • Self reflection
  • Academic plan
  • Area of study which identifies specific Student Learning Outcomes
    • Write short narrative on how SLOs are met
    • Match SLOs with evidence
  • Primary evidence (letters for supervisors)
  • Secondary evidence (current industry valid certificates, official transcripts)

Requirements may be different so please fill out the form via the link below and someone will be in contact.

Follow this link for more information on eligibility regarding portfolio-based assessment.

If you have questions, contact Trude Pang at trude@hawaii.edu.

Credit by Examination

Credit by Examination assesses previous learning. Credits earned through this process are equivalent to passing a cumulative, end-of-the semester exam. Examinations vary depending on the course being challenged and may only be challenged once. Credit by Examination is not an option for courses in which a person is currently enrolled as a regular student. Tuition and fees for these classes are the same as for other classes.

  • Eligibility
    • Students may apply for Credit by Examination if they can present evidence of having attained, through experience or training, the equivalent competencies of a course offered at KCC.
    • Each department will decide if a course is eligible. For specific course information, contact the instructional department offering the course.
    • Application and registration must be completed within the first six weeks of the semester or within the first two weeks of special term or summer classes. Registration must be completed at the Kekaulike Information and Service Center. The instructor administering the examination will arrange the test date and time.

College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB): College Level Examination Programs (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP)

Credits may be awarded for AP and CLEP exams. The specific credit you are granted depends on the exam and score you receive. Please visit our Factsheet for AP exams for more information on credits awarded for AP and CLEP exams.

To receive credit(s) as outlined on our factsheets, official AP and CLEP exam results must be sent from College Board to KCC and a completed Transcript Evaluation Request form must be submitted. We will not grant credit(s) for AP scores reported on high school or other college transcripts.

  • To have your AP and/or CLEP scores sent to KCC, please contact College Board at (888)CALL-4-AP or go to www.collegeboard.org. KCC’s College Board code is 4377.
  • Paper or electronic copies of scores submitted by institutions or persons other than College Board will not be accepted
  • It is recommended to have your scores evaluated when you start KCC.

Letter grades are not granted. Instead, “CE” (credit by exam) is used and will not be calculated into your grade point average. Check with your program counselor to see how these credits may be used toward degree requirements.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

For information on credit(s) awarded for International Baccalaureate exams, please visit our International Baccalaureate factsheet.

To receive credit(s) as outlined in our factsheet, official exam results must be sent from the International Baccalaureate organization to KCC along with a completed Transcript Evaluation Request form.

  • To have your IB scores sent to KCC, please visit the International Baccalaureate organization website at http://ibo.org/iba/transcripts/.
  • Paper or electronic copies of scores submitted by institutions or persons other than the International Baccalaureate organization will not be accepted
  • KCC will not grant credit for IB scores reported on high school or other college transcripts.

Letter grades are not granted. Instead, “CE” (credit by exam) is used and will not be calculated into your grade point average. Check with your program counselor to see how these credits may be used toward degree requirements.

Military Service or Schooling

Coursework taken through military schools may be considered for credit with the consent of the appropriate KCC department. Academic credit may be awarded for coursework taken at one of the regionally accredited US military academies upon receipt of official transcript and submission of Transcript Evaluation Request form. It is the student’s responsibility to provide official Joint Services Transcript (JST), Army ACE Registry Transcript System (AARTS) and/or Sailor Marine ACE Registry Transcript (SMART) to have their courses evaluated. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mandates that all transcripts be evaluated by KCC for prior credit within two semesters, including transcripts for military training, even if credit may not be granted.

  • Military Service Transcripts. To request official military transcripts, please visit the following websites.
    • Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard transcripts can all be requested through Joint Services Transcripts (JST): https://jst.doded.mil/smart/dodMandatoryBanner.do.
    • Air Force or Community College of the Air Force or Air University Transcripts: http://www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf/transcripts.asp (Officers may have to contact the Office of the Academic Dean at the University at 334-953-4543).
    • Paper or electronic copies of coursework submitted by institutions or persons other than the Military organization will not be accepted
  • American Council on Education (ACE).The ACE program is a way to assess previous learning outside the traditional college setting to determine if it provides college-level competency. A student may earn credit for a course, test, certificate, licensure or training in an academic subject area when a review demonstrates that the competency requirements of a KCC course have been met.
    • Each KCC department makes its own decision regarding the awarding of ACE credit for its courses. Please check with your program counselor for eligibility.
    • These credits may not be used to meet the 12-credit residency requirement for the major, unless the requirement is waived by the departmental dean.
    • Letter grades are not granted for credits awarded through ACE. Instead, “CR” will be used and will not be calculated into your grade point average.
    • There is no charge for ACE.
    • Credits enrolled or earned through ACE are not counted in determining full- or part-time status.

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