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Departmental Exams/Assessment of Prior Learning

Prior Learning Credit

Indiana State University offers opportunities for non-traditional adult students to earn credit toward a degree for knowledge they have acquired outside of the college classroom that is equal to college-level learning. Credit may or may not be awarded, dependent upon the outcome.

Through these opportunities, students can earn up to 63 credit hours towards the baccalaureate degree and 25 percent of an undergraduate certificate. Students should discuss the applicability of the options below with their advisor. 

  • Departmental Exams/Assessment of Prior Learning
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Dantes Standardized Subject Tests (DSST)
  • Dual Credit
  • Excelisior College Examinations
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Non-Native (Foreign) Language Placement

Credit earned this way counts toward graduation requirements, but does not count towards resident credit. Students cannot receive credit of this type for courses for which they have already received credit.

Departmental Exams and Prior Learning Assessments charge 25%  of the Undergraduate or Graduate Resident Fees in effect at the time of the exam/assessment (except for Non-Native (Foreign) Languare Placement). Prior Learning Credit may be awarded using a variety of criteria which may be different for each department.

Guidelines for Credit Transfer

  • Students must obtain their academic advisor's approval prior to registering for any examination to ensure departmental standards are satisfied.
  • Credit earned through the Credit by Exam Program may apply toward graduation or degree requirements or elective hours within individual programs.
  • Students do not receive a grade for credit earned through the examinations (assessments).
  • No credit is awarded in a general examination/assessment area if the student has completed two or more college-level courses in that general examination/assessment area.
  • No credit is awarded in a subject examination/assessment area if the student has already earned college-level credit in that subject area.
  • Students cannot receive duplicate credit. Therefore, it is important for students to plan their academic schedule with an academic advisor.

Prior Learning Assessment

Indiana State awards both graduate and undergraduate credit for prior learning through the following assessments methods:

  • American Council of Education (ACE) credit recommendations for military and industry training
  • Departmental challenge exam
  • Portfolio Assessment
  • Assessment of certificates and licensures 

Get Started

  • Contact your advisor as well as your department to find out if a Prior Learning Assessment is right for you.
  • Complete the Prior Learning Assessment Form and follow the instructions on the form.
  • Prepare for your department’s method of assessment.

Examples of Prior Learning documentation

Depending on the type of Prior Learning Assessment your department requires, the following examples of Prior Learning documentation may be useful to gather for Portfolio assessment or assessment of certificates and licensures:

  • Completion of recognized academic programs
  • Certificates and other credentials with their fulfillment criteria
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Documentation of project management skills
  • Documentation of skills consistent with those expected in the course being reviewed (e.g., an animated short film, a mobile application, an e-commerce website)
  • Job descriptions
  • Passing a comprehensive examination on the contents of the course
  • Service to a nongovernmental organization or the government (e.g., a volunteer organization, the military, diplomatic corps)
  • Report on funded and unfunded research projects
  • Syllabi of courses covering similar content
  • Testimonials of course-related knowledge and skills acquisition
  • Documentation of professional activities clarifying acquired knowledge and skills concerning the course’s contents, such as developing a website for a community service organization, contributing to IT fair projects, mentorship, performance reviews, presenting or publishing scholarship, and producing a video


University Testing
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