UWW's Cynthia Suopis advocates for prior learning assessment

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

UMass Amherst UWW senior lecturer, Cynthia Suopis was quoted in a Center for Digital Education article, focusing on the growing popularity of granting prior learning credit (aka credit for experience) in higher education.

“Students are bringing something to the table, and why not find a way to give college credit for it, as long as there is an approved standard – with a rubric with a process that fits into a college setting?” said Suopis.  When evaluating prior learning credit, she says, “We’re looking for that deep level of analysis and that deep level of reflection.”

Prior learning assessment gives students an opportunity to earn academic credit for experiences they have had outside of the classroom.  A study by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning helped to change opinions about this method of obtaining college credit.  “This study – covering more than 62,000 students across 48 institutions – helped legitimize college credit for outside learning in the eyes of the general higher education world,” according to the article.

Granting credit for life and work experience increases graduation rates, and students who complete prior learning assessment have a greater tendency to finish their postsecondary degrees more quickly than students who do not receive credit for experience.