System Procedure 3.35.2 Credit for Prior Learning – Internal College/University Assessments

System Procedures
Chapter 3 - Educational Policies

Access a PDF copy of this procedure

for Board Policy 3.35

Part 1. Purpose
To establish consistent practices and procedures among colleges and universities regarding credit for prior learning internal assessments, evaluations, and the award of undergraduate or graduate credit to students admitted to a college or university.

Part 2. Definitions

Learning outcomes that demonstrate knowledge and/or skills proficiency in a standardized or individualized subject.

Competence-to-credit comparability

Comparison of competence-based learning outcomes to the scope and levels of credit-hour-based learning outcomes to establish credit measures or equivalencies.

CPL Xchange
A cooperative arrangement of shared CPL assessors (and resources) that offers students approved to use the CPL Xchange the opportunity to register for assessment of prior learning when their home college or university does not have the subject matter expertise or assessment methods. Students do not go through the admission process at the other institution. Credits earned via the CPL Xchange are resident credits of the student's home college or university.

Credit for prior learning (CPL)
Academic credit awarded for demonstrated competence at the college- and university-level gained through learning experiences outside college or university credit-bearing courses and assessed by academically sound and rigorous methods and processes.

Credit for prior learning (CPL) - internal college/university assessments

College or university assessment types developed by Minnesota State faculty to assess student learning not previously assessed. Such assessments determine course-equivalency, individualized subject status, and degree applicability. See CPL internal assessment types defined below.

Internal Assessment Types - Apply to all levels (lower, upper, and graduate).

Assessment of learning outcomes described and demonstrated in terms of skill or proficiency (competence). Competence may be assessed for comparable college/university level credit.

Assessment of learning outcomes that substantially demonstrate comparable outcomes expected in or required for a specific course, as described in the official course outline.

Credit by exam
Credit awarded through assessment using an examination developed by college or university faculty, commonly for, but not limited to, course-specific learning equivalency.

Group or seminar
Assessment conducted in a group or seminar, typically including but not limited to, assessment of standardized learning outcomes. Assessment seminars may also include instruction to prepare for assessment.

A combination of internal assessment types used to evaluate college-level competencies.

Individualized subject-area
Assessment of a subject area that is not equivalent to any course offered at the college or university.

A structured set of questions developed by faculty assessor to evaluate college-level competencies.

A method of documentation of college-level learning gained from learning experiences outside of the college or university credit-bearing course, in which a student assembles materials demonstrating evidence of learning outcomes into a portfolio. Portfolios may assess individual subjects or a range of subjects.

Research paper/project
A college-level research paper/project on the CPL topic demonstrating that the student has both theory and practical elements that are current. Students demonstrate in-depth understanding and insight into the issue(s) under discussion, through careful analysis and reflection. Scholarly/peer reviewed literature may be used as evidence to support that the learning is current and at the college-level.

Skills demonstration
Assessment of a task or hands-on activity being performed to demonstrate competencies equivalent to college-level learning outcomes.

Prior learning
Learning gained in life, community and/or work-based settings, and through experiences outside of the college or university credit-bearing course, including but not limited to independent study, relevant experience and reflection, non-credit study programs, career education, continuing education, online learning or instruction and training or certificate programs.

Part 3. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) - Internal College/University Assessments
Colleges and universities shall offer students the opportunity to demonstrate college-level learning for CPL internal college/university assessment options.

Subpart A. Types of CPL internal college/university assessment
CPL internal assessments at the undergraduate and graduate levels may include, but are not limited to, research paper/project, credit by exam, course-equivalency assessment, individualized-subject assessment, portfolio assessment, group or seminar assessment, competency-based assessment, skills demonstration, interview, and hybrid methods.

Subpart B. Credit award for CPL college/university assessments
CPL internal college/university assessments of student learning outcomes and competence must be conducted by college or university faculty with related subject-area expertise. College or university faculty evaluate student learning and determine a credit award based on learning outcomes comparable to college/university level learning outcomes.

Subpart C. CPL credit award
Colleges and universities may assess prior learning in a single-subject process, or a process that reviews multiple subjects in one documentation and assessment process.

Colleges and universities may assess prior learning outcomes for credit at lower division, upper-division, or graduate level, and shall communicate to students the expectations for the learning outcomes at each credit level. Colleges and universities shall award credit for CPL internal college/university assessments as a course offered by the college or university or as an individualized subject area. Credit awarded for prior learning may fulfill general, technical, Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC), program/major/minor and/or elective courses.

Subpart D. Residency credit for CPL internal college/university assessment
Colleges and universities shall award credit for CPL internal college/university assessments consistent with the residency and graduation requirements in Board Policy 3.36 and System Procedure 3.36.1 Academic Programs. Credit awarded through CPL internal college/university assessments must apply toward residency credit requirements at the college or university awarding the degree.

Subpart E. Recording of CPL internal college/university assessment credit awarded
See System Procedure 3.29.1 College and University Transcripts and Operating Instructions Coding Credit for Prior Learning – Internal Assessments.

Subpart F. Credit limit for CPL internal college/university assessment
Colleges and universities shall not limit the total number of credits students may be awarded for CPL internal assessments.

Subpart G. Tuition and fees for CPL internal college/university assessment
Colleges or universities may charge tuition and/or fees to students for CPL internal college/university assessments through per-credit tuition structure and/or per-credit or flat-charge fee structure. Tuition may be charged for credit-bearing instruction related to prior learning assessment principles, methods, and processes, such as for a portfolio development course. Fees may be charged for CPL internal assessment services, such as credit by exam, evaluating portfolios and documentation, or using the CPL Xchange.

Colleges or universities that charge tuition and/or fees for CPL internal assessments shall clearly publish and communicate all CPL internal assessment tuition and/or fees to students. Tuition and/or fees charged for CPL internal college/university assessments or assessment services is independent of the results of the CPL internal assessments.

Part 4. Transfer of Credit Awarded for CPL Internal College/University Assessment
A student who is awarded credits based on CPL internal college/university assessments and transfers to another college or university within Minnesota State must have their credits evaluated in the same manner as course credits that have been successfully completed pursuant to System Procedure 3.21.1 Transfer of Undergraduate Courses, Credit, Associate Degrees, and the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. When a course equivalency has been designated by the sending institution, a receiving college or university should honor the original course equivalency to the greatest extent possible.

Part 5. Implementation

Subpart A. College or university responsibility
Colleges and universities shall establish processes for implementation that will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Each college or university shall publish information on the opportunities for CPL internal college/university assessments in its electronic resources and related publications. Published information must include the following:
    1. CPL internal college/university assessment methods,
    2. CPL internal college/university assessments processes,
    3. Applicable CPL policies, procedures, and fees,
    4. Impact that credit awarded for prior learning may have on financial aid eligibility,
    5. Eligible courses and content areas, and
    6. CPL appeal process.
  2. Colleges or universities shall provide a petition or proposal process that enables students to request consideration of opportunities for prior learning assessment that do not appear on the list of identified courses or content areas.
  3. Colleges and universities that do not offer CPL internal college/university assessment options will contact C-PLAN for approved students to determine the CPL opportunity and apply it at their home college or university.  Proposed credit awards are submitted to the home college or university's advising processes. 

Subpart B. Student responsibility

  1. A student must be admitted to the college or university to be eligible for the award of credit for prior learning through CPL internal college/university assessments.
  2. Students seeking credit for prior learning through CPL internal college/university assessments are responsible for seeking information and advice on the use of that credit in college or university programs, including understanding processes, expectations, and assessment criteria; academic and financial aid implications; and any applicable pre-requisites or limitations based on degree program, major, minor, MnTC criteria, etc.
  3. Students seeking credit for prior learning through CPL internal college/university assessments shall provide official documents and/or supporting information as specified by the college or university policies, procedures, and processes.
  4. Students shall adhere to college or university policies, procedures, and processes for the award of credit through CPL internal college/university assessments.

Part 6. Appeals
Students may appeal CPL internal college/university decisions using the CPL appeal process. When the CPL decision is communicated, colleges and universities shall provide information about a student’s right to appeal and the various steps in the appeal process. College or university established processes, such as the academic appeals process, may be used as the CPL appeals process.

Related Documents:

System Procedure History:

Date of Adoption: 10/01/18
Date of Implementation: 10/01/18
Date of Last Review: 06/26/23

Date & Subject of Amendments:

06/26/23 – Full review, the changes consisted of (a) deleting unnecessary language to streamline the procedure, (b) updating the definitions, adding definitions for CPL Xchange and the following internal assessment types – Group, Hybrid, Individualized Subject Area, Interview, Portfolio, Research Paper/Project, and Skills Demonstration, (c) adding “graduate” to increase awareness of graduate CPL, (d) adding CPL Xchange language, (e) adding language honoring a sending institution’s course equivalency determination during transfer to Part 4. (f) relocating college/university responsibilities ahead of student responsibilities and updating the language in Part 5, and (g) updating the appeals language in Part 6.

12/06/19 – Amendment relocates credit for prior learning transcription information to System Procedure 3.29.1 College and University Transcripts. Replaced the deleted language with the following sentence in Part 3, Subpart E “See System Procedure 3.29.1 College and University Transcripts, Part 5”.

Additional HISTORY.