What It Is:
Charter Oak recognizes many different ways of getting academic credit for prior learning.
One way is by tests such as CLEP, DANTES and GRE examinations. The American Council
on Education (ACE), Charter Oak, and other accrediting bodies have conducted evaluations
of various training programs in business and industry for college credit. Your Military
Occupational Specialty (MOS) training, for example, may be a source of college credit.
All of these are forms of Assessment of Prior Learning (APL). Portfolio Assessment
is another APL way to acquire credit for learning that occurs outside of the classroom.
To request credit for a course, you must present an approved course description, a
narrative essay that demonstrates your knowledge of the subject, and documentary evidence
that supports your claim for credit. You must provide a separate course description
and write a separate narrative for each course credit request.
Note that credit is awarded for the knowledge gained, not for the experience itself,
which is no guarantee of learning. Attending a 4-week training program doesn't ensure
that you will learn what is taught in the classes, so we can't award credit on the
basis of your attendance certificate alone. Just as students who sit in a classroom
are asked to provide evidence of their learning through term papers and tests, you
are asked to provide proof that you really do have the knowledge you claim. Being
able to show evidence that you were there and that college-level material was being
presented is a step in the right direction. But such evidence must be bolstered by
demonstration of the knowledge you've gained. The portfolio process is your opportunity
to demonstrate that knowledge.
What it isn't:
- Portfolio Assessment isn't a fast or easy way to get credits without work.
- Portfolio Assessment is NOT a way to submit your personal resume or other documents
to be evaluated for college credits. It's important to realize that the portfolio
process requires your active participation by writing a narrative and compiling supporting
evidence that is clearly linked to each course requested. We can't award course credits
just on the basis of documents, even the very best of references.
- Portfolio Assessment is NOT a way to get credit for experience alone. Experience is
what happens to you. Learning is the result of thinking about what happened, analyzing
and interpreting it, and using your interpretation to make decisions that affect how
you perceive and deal with the world around you. You must be able to show that you
have learned from your experience.
- Portfolio Assessment cannot be substituted for existing CLEP, DANTES or other standardized
tests. You may not write a portfolio to obtain credit in a subject for which a test
- Portfolio Assessment cannot be used for courses such as practica, internships and
field schools whose intent is to apply knowledge learned in other courses.
- Portfolio Assessment cannot be used for courses that duplicate credits you already
- Portfolio Assessment cannot be used for English Composition, Physical Education (except
theory-based), graduate level courses, or student teaching.
What it can do for you:
- The portfolio process is a convenient and flexible way to earn credit for courses
without participating in an online or traditional class.
- Portfolio credits are cost-effective.
- The portfolio adapts to your schedule and time constraints. Once you have successfully
completed our portfolio preparation course (IDS102), you are free to work when time
is available, and additional portfolios can be written and submitted at any time of
- Portfolio credits provide proof of your experiential learning.
- Research has shown that constructing a prior learning portfolio has educational benefits,
including enhancing your understanding of your own learning.