Colorado Colleges are Creating a Common Set of Standards for Accepting Prior Learning

On May 8, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education approved a policy which will standardize how all state public colleges accept prior learning for credit.  This has far ranging implications given 700,000 Colorado citizens without college degrees have some form of prior learning which could be eligible for credit.

Prior learning areas addressed in the new policy include:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exams
  • DSST Credit by Exam Program
  • Course Challenge Exams
  • American Council of Education (ACE) credit for workforce learning
  • ACE Military credit
  • Individual Portfolio based assessments

Currently, not all colleges accept each of the above and if they do, it is inconsistent across colleges – for example, the AP score required for credit for a given major.

Currently there are 12 other states in process with similar initiatives.  Expected outcomes include:

  • Prospective students will have fewer barriers to entry for college due to consistent evaluation of prior learning.
  • Prospective students will be able to more fully utilize prior learning, thus eliminating some cost for college classes.
  • When a student transfers, they can be confident that credits achieved through any of the above methods will also transfer and be accepted by the new college.
  • This will help push Colorado towards its goal of 66% of 25 – 64 year olds having a college degree by 2025.  Currently, Colorado is on a path towards 53%.

The new standards for acceptance of prior learning are expected to be in place by March, 2016.

A link to the policy document is here.


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