Credit for Prior Learning | Western Technical College | La Crosse, WI

Credit for Prior Learning

Earn Credit for What You Already Know Through Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)!

We recognize you may have acquired valuable knowledge and skills outside of Western. This learning could have been attained through such sources as:

  • Work/volunteer experience
  • Military training and service
  • Workforce training and certifications
  • Examinations: CLEP, DSST, AP, and Institutional Challenge Exams
  • Credits earned at other institutions
  • Extensive self-instruction
  • Civic activities
  • Apprenticeships

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is a process of evaluating your learning and awarding college credit based on the demonstration of college-level learning gained through experiences.

Western Technical College evaluates learning based on course competencies and, through various methods of CPL assessment, you may not be required to take courses that you can show satisfactory college-level learning. CPL is awarded only for learning and not for experience.

You can earn credit through one of six methods or a combination of:

  1. National standard exams
  2. Institutional challenge exams
  3. Military training and service
  4. Workforce training and certifications
  5. Portfolio assessment
  6. Transfer credit

Standards for Awarding CPL at Western Technical College

  1. Academic credit will be awarded only for those courses directly applicable to curriculum requirements at the college and to the student’s declared certificate, diploma, or degree program.
  2. A student may use CPL to fulfill all certificate, diploma, or degree graduation requirements except for the mandatory 25 percent residency requirement.
  3. All work assessed for CPL must meet or exceed “C” level work. Minimum cut-off scores on exams are set at “C” level work.
  4. CPL credits are not eligible for financial aid.
  5. Western Technical College does not guarantee that another university or college will accept CPL credit in transfer.

10 Standards for Assessing Learning

Western Technical College follows the guidelines for Credit for Prior Learning established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

  1. Credit or its equivalent should be awarded only for learning, and not for experience.
  2. Assessment should be based on standards and criteria for the level of acceptable learning that are both agreed upon and made public.
  3. Assessment should be treated as an integral part of learning, not separate from it, and should be based on an understanding of learning processes.
  4. The determination of credit awards and competence levels must be made by appropriate subject matter and academic or credentialing experts.
  5. Credit or other credentialing should be appropriate to the context in which it is awarded and accepted.
  6. If awards are for credit, transcript entries should clearly describe what learning is being recognized and should be monitored to avoid giving credit twice for the same learning.
  7. Policies, procedures, and criteria applied to assessment, including provision for appeal, should be fully disclosed and prominently available to all parties involved in the assessment process.
  8. Fees charged for assessment should be based on the services performed in the process and not determined by the amount of credit awarded.
  9. All personnel involved in the assessment of learning should pursue and receive adequate training and continuing professional development for the functions they perform.
  10. Assessment programs should be regularly monitored, reviewed, evaluated, and revised as needed to reflect changes in the needs being served, the purposes being met, and the state of the assessment arts.

From: Assessing Learning: Standards, Principles, and Procedures (Second Edition) By Morry Fiddler, Catherine Marienau, and Urban Whitaker, 2006. Chicago, Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

Transferability of CPL Credit

If you are planning on transferring to another post-secondary college/university, your prior learning credits may transfer with you as long as the credits are applicable to the degree or certificate you declared. Please contact the receiving institution to determine the acceptability of transferring credit for prior learning.

Appeals Process

If you were not awarded credit for prior learning, you can have the decision reviewed by following these steps:

  • Submit a typewritten statement to the Credit for Prior Learning Specialist no later than 14 business days following the communication of the decision. The request must detail the basis for the allegation that the decision regarding credit for prior learning was arbitrary and capricious and must present the relevant evidence.
  • The division dean or designee will review the statement and may request to meet with you to gain further information.
  • The dean will make a final decision after full consideration of the information. Within one week of receiving the appeal, the dean will communicate the final decision regarding the request for credit for prior learning to you and the Credit for Prior Learning Specialist.
  • The decision of the division dean is final. You will be expected to abide by the final disposition of the review and may not seek further review of the matter under any procedure within Western Technical College.
Your Experience Counts

Contact Western to get credit for your prior learning.

Wondering where to start?

Visit the Welcome Center or call 608-785-9200. Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.. Western is closed Fridays in July.