The Catholic University of America



Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS)

Prior Learning Assessment Program


"Validating Lifelong Learning"

CUA's Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS) is dedicated to serving lifelong learners who bring a richness of life and work experience to the classroom. As such, MSPS's Prior Learning Assessment (MSPS PLA) program is a natural extension of this school-wide commitment. The MSPS PLA program is a relevant, timely, and pragmatic mechanism for evaluating the college-level learning students have gained from professional and other life experiences, and we are pleased to offer this opportunity.

What are the options available for assessing prior learning?

The MSPS PLA program provides several avenues for evaluation of this learning:


1. SAIL (Synthesis, Application and Integration of Learning) Program:

· Development and assessment of portfolio evidencing college-level learning

obtained through work/life experience. Students enroll in MID50/350 SAIL course.


2. National Examinations:

· CLEP (The College Level Examination Program): The CLEP consists of 33

content-based, standardized examinations, which may eligible for college credit.

· DSST (Dantes Subject Standardized Tests): The DSST program offers 39 content-

based, standardized examinations, which may eligible for college credit.


3. American Council on Education (ACE): Educational Credit for Professional and Continuing

Education Training Programs


4. Advanced Placement (AP): Exam Credit (as taken in high school)


Why is participating in the prior learning assessment program a good option?

The MSPS PLA program is appealing to students because it…

· Acknowledges the value of learning acquired from life and work experiences

· Connects academic theory and scholarship to students' rich life experiences

· Develops and enhances the quality of students' writing and research skills

· Minimizes the time needed for undergraduate degree completion

· Reduces the cost associated with an undergraduate degree


How do you know if prior learning assessment meets your needs?

Each student maintains a unique set of goals for his/her degree program and brings a variety of life experiences to the classroom. Accordingly, prior learning assessment may make more sense for some students than for others. At MSPS, we are dedicated to serving the whole student, and, in an effort to do so, strive to help you make the best decisions possible for your degree program. If you are wondering if the MCPLA program will meet your needs, we recommend you do the following:

· Meet with your academic advisor to determine which, if any, components of the MSPS PLA program will help you meet your degree completion goals.


· Assess the amount of time you can dedicate to pursuing a prior learning assessment.


· Whether you choose to take an exam or enroll in the MID50/350 SAIL portfolio development course, the ability to work independently and manage deadlines will be important.


· Evaluate the costs associated with each MSPS PLA option.


· Review the transfer credit policy as it relates to CLEP, AP, DSST, etc. and the eligibility requirements as they relate to the MID50/350 SAIL portfolio development course.

Don't see what you're looking for? Have more questions?

Contact the MSPS PLA Program Coordinator.