PLA for a Lewis Course

Students at Lewis may earn credit for a course offered by Lewis University through a challenge exam or by preparing a portfolio for the course. Not all departments at Lewis accept this form of PLA and the applicant must be able to demonstrate that s/he has met the student learning outcomes for the course.

The challenge exam

A Challenge Exam is a comprehensive test developed by faculty for certain courses to evaluate a student’s proficiency in a course. The Challenge Exam will cover information as outlined in the course module, course outline or syllabus, and the required textbook(s). Students interested in taking a Challenge Exam should obtain these course materials to prepare for the exam. The student may make arrangements for an exam date by contacting the PLA Coordinator in the School of Graduate, Professional & Continuing Education. A Challenge Exam may be taken only once by a student.

The prior learning portfolio for a course

A Prior Learning Portfolio is a formal, multi-part document that demonstrates the student’s college equivalent learning resulting from a previous non-collegiate experience. Students can earn credit for up to one course per portfolio submitted. Content include:

  • a resume
  • an essay which describes the knowledge and skills gained through prior learning experiences and how they directly relate to a Lewis University course
  • letters, certificates, work samples and other documentation which are appropriate evidence of college-level learning.

Once a student registers to develop a PLA Portfolio, the timeline for completing the individual portfolio (by subject area) is one calendar year. Similar to all other PLA methods, the portfolio must be completed by the student and evaluated by the faculty member prior to the student’s last semester at the University. The portfolio is a measure of previous learning and is not to be equated with an Independent Study.

Students interested in writing a PLA Portfolio for a course in the Lewis University Undergraduate Catalog must attend a free, 1 hour PLA Orientation. To obtain further information contact Dr. Cynthia Stevens at (815) 834-6938.