Cael’s Learningcounts.Org Service Teaming Up With Higher Education Institutions For Credit Transcription

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning

(Chicago) – The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has announced that it is now partnering with universities to directly award college credit based on its LearningCounts assessments of knowledge learned outside the classroom.

Alamo Colleges, Bellevue University, the Indiana Institute of Technology, the New England College of Business, North Iowa Area Community College, Roosevelt University and Southern New Hampshire University have already signed on to the new process, which will streamline the credit acceptance and reduce transcription costs for students.

“We are fortunate to have these schools as charter institutions for this partnership,” says Pamela Tate, CEO and president of CAEL. “We believe this direct transcription service reflects our mission to help adults reach their goals more efficiently and affordably.”

Southern New Hampshire University president Paul LeBlanc will be working with CAEL on the new venture, and noted the organization’s work on the development of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), a method for evaluating learning gained from experiences outside of a traditional academic environment.

“No one in the world of Prior Learning Assessment is more respected than CAEL and SNHU is happy to accept CAEL’s credit recommendations directly,” says LeBlanc. “They are the experts. They have unassailable integrity and an unmatched track record of almost 40 years in this area. They invented PLA.”

As president of the New England College of Business and Finance – where a majority of the students are adult learners – Howard Horton also decided to participate in the direct transcription service.

“At the New England College of Business and Finance, 95 percent of the student body are working adults, many of them with significant professional and experiential background through which they have attained competencies that would otherwise be accomplished through the traditional classroom experience,” he says.

By working with colleges to transcript credits directly, CAEL’s service allows students to save the expense of processing transcripts through a third-party organization. It also guarantees that students submitting portfolios through CAEL will, with faculty assessment and credit recommendations, have their outside-class learning accepted as course credit by these schools.

Chari Leader Kelley, vice president of LearningCounts at CAEL, explains, “The new process of transcripting recommendations directly is key to helping adult students find the most reasonable path towards degree completion.”

“Lumina Foundation continues to be impressed by the national leadership shown by CAEL in expanding opportunities for prior learning assessment,” noted Jamie Merisotis, Lumina Foundation’s President and CEO. “Streamlining the credit acceptance process and reducing transcription costs is an important next step in the development of LearningCounts.org. This supports what research tells us about the importance of PLA: that it motivates students to return to school, saves them money by accelerating progress to the degree, and improves persistence toward graduation.”

Along with the partnerships already in place, CAEL is committed to building similar agreements with additional institutions of higher learning. The six-week CAEL 100 course will become part of the new venture with colleges and universities, and will be transcripted directly by the institutions. For those students who attend an institution which still requires a third party to post the credit recommendations, LearningCounts has joined forces with the National College Credit Recommendation Service.

“As CAEL expands this service to incorporate other colleges and universities across the country, we are confident that we will lay the groundwork for more qualified adult students to achieve success in the careers they desire, and to do so to the benefit of our country’s economy,” says Leader Kelly. “We also believe that working with adult-focused schools on this direct transcription service gives us more freedom to explore alternative ways of measuring learning focused on outcomes and competencies. We’ve always known that many students attain college-level learning in diverse ways, but we want to ensure that their learning outcomes are clearly demonstrated and achieved.”

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Chicago, Illinois that assists adults with their educational endeavors, finding practical ways to transfer prior professional experiences and skills learned outside the classroom to college course credit and the completion of a postsecondary degree. CAEL works with the public sector, private sector industries and higher education institutions to ensure that adult students receive the most efficient training and education to occupy a meaningful professional place in a 21st century economy.

Since 1974, CAEL has assisted colleges and universities in providing PLA. CAEL is the recognized national expert on a PLA method known as portfolio assessment, and their Ten Standards for Assessing Learning are used by colleges and universities, as well as accrediting organizations, across the country.

LearningCounts.org is managed by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), and operates with support from Lumina Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the State Street Foundation, the Houston Endowment, USA Funds, and Brown Foundation. The Walmart Foundation is also providing support and funding scholarships for eligible users of LearningCounts.org.