2011-2013 Undergraduate Catalog

Prior Learning Assessment Policies and Procedures

At Montana State University Billings, students may earn credit through a variety of methods including work experience and challenge tests. Our University will work with the student to determine which type of experience can be translated into credit. Several options are as follows:

  1. Challenge tests, such as CLEP and DANTES, allow the student to study for and test out of equivalent college-level courses.  Tests can be scheduled at City College at MSU Billings (406-247-3025).

  2. Students may have already earned credit through work-site training or government-sponsored workshops or military experience.  If students have certificates or documentation which state that the American Council on Education (ACE) or the National CCRS (National College Credit Recommendation Service) assesses that training, credit may be available for coursework for which there are equivalencies in MSU Billings’ curriculum.  Military credit is assessed from the DD214, DD295, or military transcript.  Questions about this type of training or military credit may be directed to the Advising Center at (406) 657-2240.

  3. In addition to the methods listed above, our University also offers students the opportunity to earn credit through Prior Learning Assessment.  This assessment will take into account work experience or other learning experiences, which do not fall into the categories described above, but which can be assessed through the development of a portfolio.  Up to 15 credits can be earned through Prior Learning Assessment, and this type of credit will be graded with “P” if credit is earned (Pass/No Pass credit guidelines can be found on page 53).  The University offers individual instruction for students throughout the process of preparing this portfolio.  For more information on Prior Learning Assessment, please call Admissions and Records at (406) 657-2158.

  4. Implementation of this policy needs to be consistent with existing departmental policies and consistent with accreditation policies and practices already in place in the various colleges (NCATE, AACSB, etc.).

Prior Learning Assessment Guidelines

  1. Prior to enrolling in this course, students must have successfully completed 12 credits of college-level coursework with a 2.50 GPA from an accredited institution within the past five years.  Prior credit must also include completion of WRIT 101 or its equivalent.

  2. The student will first select the MSU Billings course the student wishes to complete through Prior Learning Assessment.  Second, the student will contact the on-campus instructor for that course to determine whether the student can meet the course objectives through this method of assessment.  If the student receives a positive recommendation from the instructor or department chair or dean, the student may proceed with the portfolio process for that course; however, a positive recommendation does not guarantee the award of credit.

  3. The student’s completed portfolio is examined first by Admissions and Records for approval or returned back to the student for additional documentation.  If approved, the portfolio is forwarded to the chair of the department in which the students seek to receive credit and the faculty member from whom the student received the recommendation.  If approved by both the chair and the faculty of record, the portfolio goes to the Academic Standards and Scholastic Standing Committee which consists of faculty appointed annually.  Final action on the awarding of credit takes place in this committee.  Credit awarded may not be the same as the number of credits requested by the student’s portfolio.

  4. Credit recommendation and documentation for the coursework is forwarded to the Registrar if the assessment is successful.  Coursework is posted on student’s transcript using the course equivalent assigned by the portfolio assessment process.

  5. Up to 15 credits may be earned through this procedure and coursework will be graded Pass/ No Pass.  Students may submit subsequent requests to earn credit through prior learning assessment after initial completion of the seminar course.  Registration and program guidelines shall be those in force at the time of the subsequent request.

NEXT: Auditing Coursework

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