Adult Degree Completion: The Role of Prior Learning Assessment

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1 Adult Degree Completion: The Role of Prior Learning Assessment Boston Adult Degree Completion Summit June 10, 2013 Presenter: Pamela Tate, President & CEO Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

2 CAEL s Overarching Goal: Meaningful Learning, Credentials, and Work for Every Adult CAEL links learning and work for nearly 40 years

3 CAEL s Unique Integrator Role Colleges & universities Public Policymakers Corporations Government, community and philanthropic entities Labor unions

4 CAEL s Work Aligning workforce development and higher education with economic development Employer Engagement and Link to Learning and Development Opportunities Leveraging the value of learning and the learning ecosystem to support and spur economic growth Leadership in Prior Learning Assessment and Competency-Based Assessment Adult Learning-Friendly Institution Assessment 4

5 What We All Want Engaged, Skilled Workers Educated Citizens 5

6 Why are Degrees Important? The U.S. Skills Gap U.S. on a collision course with the future By 2018, our economy will have jobs for 22 million with college degrees, but a shortage of nearly 8 million people with degrees By 2018, 63% of jobs will require postsecondary training 6

7 Another Look at the Degree Completion Gap Degrees* Produced from 2005 to 2025 with Current Rate of Production plus Population Growth 41,860,914 Degrees Needed to Meet Best Performance** (55%) 63,127, Millions We need to increase the rate of degree production in the U.S. by 50.8%. 7 * Degrees includes both Associates and 4-year degrees. ** Best performance is the average of the top three states.

8 Why Adult Degree Completion Matters Adult learners are integral to achieving goals in Vision Project at MA Dept. of Higher Ed As baby boomers retire from current jobs, knowledge and skills gaps grow Pipeline of young college graduates not enough to meet workforce skills demands 8

9 Massachusetts Degree Attainment Goals Data Point Massachusetts Current % of Adults with College Degrees 49.6% Trend Projected for % Lumina Foundation Goal for % Gap 1.2% Additional Annual Increase Needed 3.3% Additional Number of Degrees Needed by ,193 9

10 Target Population for Boston Only a high school diploma (includes equivalency) 89,373 Some college, but no degree 54,274 10

11 To Remedy the Shortfall Reach adults with some college but no degree Reach adults with high school diplomas but no college Adopt adult learner-friendly practices, like Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), in colleges Increase employer investment in employee learning and tuition Better pathways from adult literacy and GED programs, and workforce system, to PSE

12 What is Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)? Prior Learning Assessment is a term educators use to refer to a process for evaluating knowledge and skills to award college credit for learning from: On-the-job learning Corporate training Independent study e.g., MOOCs Military service Volunteer service 12

13 Key CAEL Standards Credit is for LEARNING, not for experience Subject matter experts make credit recommendations Any fees are for assessment, not for the amount of credit awarded 13

14 The Variety of PLA Methods Evaluated Non- College Training Student Portfolio Standardized Tests College Credit, College Completion Industry Recognized Certificates 14

15 Graduation and Completion Baccalaureate students are 2½ times more likely to persist to graduation.

16 What Do Working Adults Need from Colleges? Have prior learning recognized for college credit where appropriate Career and educational advising for changing job market Expanded online options and other flexible programs and services Affordable options for PSE 16

17 How to Better Recruit, Retain & Graduate Adults Implement adult friendly policies and practices Follow the nine principles of CAEL s Adult Learning Focused Institution (ALFI) or work with CAEL to use ALFI Tools Implement and market robust PLA program or join CAEL s LearningCounts.org Partner Network and send students for PLA online Several colleges in Massachusetts already partnering with LearningCounts 17

18 LearningCounts for Consistent Assessment LearningCounts launched in January 2011 by CAEL as on-line service Support from eight foundations Helps adults prepare documentation and receive faculty assessment of learning

19 Why LearningCounts? Need to accelerate adult degree completion Not enough colleges granting credit for prior learning at scale Need for consistent quality standards Adult learners not aware of PLA so they too often repeat what they already know wastes time and money Need for a national, online approach with easy access Ability to use faculty experts nationwide to review learning portfolios using CAEL portfolio assessment framework for high quality assessment 19 19

20 How Learning Counts Works College Credit Predictor tool College Credit Specialist Credit or Non-credit portfolio prep course Student submits portfolio 20

21 How LearningCounts Works Portfolios sent for review to CAELtrained faculty subject matter experts We transcript the credit recommendations Colleges accept the transcript in transfer 21

22 What Can Employers Do? Help employees make better choices Promote learning important to your skills needs Link employees to career and education advising Recognize and reward educational attainment Align tuition program with business strategy and talent development Include PLA in Tuition Assistance program Evaluate company training for college credit Build strategic partnerships with educational institutions 22

23 What Can States Do? State-level focus on PLA as tool for increased adult degree attainment Supports: Example: Tennessee Legislative mandate to increase college completion (Complete College Act of 2010) Grant from Complete College America to support PLA efforts 23

24 The State as a Leader Tennessee s goal: statewide PLA accessibility, transparency, and consistency. Engage all community colleges and 4-year institutions Engage employers/stakeholders outside of higher education Promote PLA with marketing and information for students 24 Tennessee Higher Education Commission

25 To Implement PLA in Your State 1. Investigate the status of PLA in your state 2. Benchmark what s happening in other states? 3. Convene state/regional stakeholders 4. Create a PLA task force with clear goals 5. Expect a comprehensive, consistent state PLA policy 6. Communicate to current and prospective students, to workforce boards and to employers 7. Monitor require regular PLA reports 8. Consider LearningCounts for PLA 25

26 Next Steps CAEL hopes to undertake on-theground Adult Degree Completion and PLA Initiative in Commonwealth, with NEBHE, BSU, employers and other local partners CAEL has implemented similar initiatives in other cities/states Let s move forward together! 26

27 Additional CAEL References (Research and Publications)

28 Questions? Pamela Tate President and CEO Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

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