Capstones Fall 2013 - page 11

T
hanks to some extra classes taken by some
Darton State College faculty members, some
students might soon be able to skip a few classes.
Wendy Kennedy, dean of the Social Science
Division, and Dr. Sarah Kuck, assistant professor
of social science, recently completed a series of
workshops through Chicago’s DePaul University,
each earning the Prior Learning Assessment
Certificate from the Council for Adult and
Experiential Learning.
“Wendy and I are both certified prior-
learning assessors, and we are certified in the
implementation process of prior learning,” Kuck
said, “meaning we have the ability to assess prior
learning, as well as the administrative knowledge
to implement a comprehensive prior learning
program at Darton.”
Like most other institutions of higher learning,
Darton has a long history of awarding credit to
students through means other than coursework,
to a limited degree. Some examples are challenge
tests, Advanced Placement test scores, and the
College-Level Equivalent Program. Sometimes,
students who have earned certifications can satisfy
some degree requirements by submitting their
credentials for evaluation.
Prior Learning Assessment incorporates all
these more-traditional assessments and expands
on them.
“PLA is an additional option for classes that
do not have challenge exams or CLEP options,”
Kennedy said.
Some coming options for students to earn
college credit might include submitting a portfolio
of earlier work or developing their own assessment
with the respective faculty. Though Kuck and
Kennedy will help train faculty and guide the
assessment process, the decision to award credit
will rest with the experts – Darton’s faculty.
“Dr. Kuck and I are not subject-matter experts
in most of the fields of study (nursing, accounting,
dental hygiene, etc.), so we will need to depend
on the expertise of faculty in those areas to assist
with reviewing the learning experiences and
determining if the experiences are worthy of
college credit,” Kennedy said.
Kuck and Kennedy say the PLA program will be
an important tool for recruiting and retaining
students, especially non-traditional learners such
as adults training for a second career. It is also a
vital component of Darton’s plan to comply with
Gov. Nathan Deal’s Complete College Georgia
Initiative, which aims to “rapidly increase the
proportion of young adults with a certificate
or degree, while maintaining a commitment to
quality.”
Kuck is excited to get the program started in just
the next few semesters.
“We hope to have a comprehensive program
implemented by fall of 2014.”
-WAYNE PARTRIDGE
Darton Moves to Give
Credit for Prior Learning
Fall 2013
ACADEMICS
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