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Effectively Engaging Marginalized Students in Prior Learning Assessment: A Case Study

Rhianna C. Rogers, Michele Forte


In recent years, scholars and university administrators have contemplated making higher education more open, accessible and inclusive, particularly for those whom the college environment has historically excluded and/or marginalized. Arguably, one solution for rapid degree completion is the adoption of more culturally-inclusive prior learning assessment (PLA) methods (referred to internationally as recognition of prior learning). Recently, researchers have argued that the use of PLA can be helpful to the learning process and increase student degree completion and retention; however, the rate at which marginalized populations successfully use and complete PLAs varies greatly. This is especially true in educational or workplace settings, where diverse learners or workers’ skills and knowledge are measured against often invisible rules set forth by dominant culture(s). In this paper, we will offer a few practical examples for how this discrepancy could be addressed and/or resolved.

Keywords: PLA, marginalized students, college credentialing, experiential learning

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