EFFECTIVE DATE: 10/01/1990
REVISED DATE: 03/28/2024
  1. Purpose:

    To describe college policy for awarding academic credit for previous experiences.

  2. Definitions:

    Credit for Prior Learning is a practice institutions use to award college credit for demonstrated competency and mastery through learning that has taken place outside their institution. Students may be assessed using various methods to determine the degree to which the learning outcomes of a particular course or courses has been met; this could be through an industry standardized certification test, written assessments, oral interview, a project, performance, or other methods by which an appropriate qualified faculty member determines.

    At Reynolds Community College there are four broad categories where students earn credit for prior learning:

    1. Credits from Post-Secondary Institutions (e.g., Transfer Credit);
    2. Credit by Exam (AP, IB, CLEP, or Other Exams);
    3. Credits Earned from Non-Traditional Program Completion (e.g., Certifications, Professional Licensure, etc.);
    4. Credit for Learning Obtained Through Professional Work and Other Experiences (e.g., via Experiential Learning Portfolio Course).

    Advanced Placement (AP) Exams - Administered by the College Board, AP Exams are the culmination of year-long, university-level academic learning through courses offered in high school. Exams are scored on a scale of 1-5, with a 5 on the exam representing extremely well qualified and 1 representing no recommendation for college credit. According to VCCS policy, Virginia community colleges are required to accept AP scores of 3 or higher.

    Assessment by Local Exam (ABLE) - Institutionally administered, these are customized subject exams developed by an institution’s faculty in the content area to verify learning achievement. ABLE is also known as a “challenge exam.”

    College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams - Administered by the College Board, CLEP Exams offer an opportunity for students to earn college credit based on assessments of introductory level college course material. Generally, CLEP exams are computer-based and contain multiple choice questions about the subject area. CLEP exams take 90-120 minutes to complete.

    Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) - CCAF was established to meet the educational needs of airmen. CCAF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Since it is accredited, credits come in as college transfer credits.

    Competency-Based Education (CBE) - Instruction designed to demonstrate proficiency in a subject through mastery of specific competencies rather than learning through a time-based system. This is not offered at Reynolds Community College; however, students who have taken credits from another school should refer to a different method of eligibility for credit for prior learning.

    Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) - Produced by the Defense Language Institute and used by the United States Department of Defense (DOD), this is a battery of foreign language tests.

    DSST (formerly, DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) - Originated by the United States Department of Defense’s Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program, these are credit-by-examination tests.

    Experiential Learning to Academic Credit Portfolio Development - The credit for prior learning portfolio method may award college credit to a student who has acquired significant knowledge outside of a traditional classroom setting. A student may be eligible to earn college credit if the student’s educational background, occupational background, and/or life experience parallels the completion of objectives required by a given Reynolds course.

    International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams - IB Diploma Program offers students opportunities to enhance learning in subjects through three core components: theory of knowledge, extended essay, and CAS (creativity, activity, and services). IB courses, syllabi, and exams can offer two different levels of accomplishment. The Higher Level (HL), generally 240 hours of instruction, requires two years of coursework in the chosen subject area and includes a syllabus and exam material. The Standard/Subsidiary Level (SL), typically 150 hours of instruction, requires one year of coursework in the chosen subject area and includes a syllabus and exam material.

    Military Joint Services Transcript (JST) - Military training, coursework, and education usually found in a Joint Services Transcript (JST) is translated into civilian language to describe work history. The JST covers the following military branches: Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Air Force training and coursework are documented through Community College of the Air Force transcripts.

    Military Occupation Code (MOC) - MOC is a set of characters to identify a military service member’s occupational specialty.

    On-the-Job Training/Cooperative Education - A structured method of synthesizing academic and career/technical instruction to produce documented learning of knowledge, skills, and competencies from hands-on work experience for academic credit. The experiential learning portfolio method may fulfill this requirement for some programs.

    Professional Licenses/Certification - Industry-recognized credentials include: all occupational licenses and registries provided by state or national professional boards and industry certifications from a valid third party. At Reynolds Community College faculty evaluate these professional licenses or certifications and align them with a Reynolds Community College course’s learning objectives to determine which course(s) if any is equivalent to the certification.

  3. Policy:

    Refer to VCCS policy – Credit for Prior Learning

  4. Procedures:

    Credit for prior learning procedures can be located in the college catalog (2024-2025 College Catalog CPL Manual). Before considering CPL, students who are interested in transferring to four-year institutions are advised to review the transfer institution’s policies and guidelines on the acceptance and awarding of CPL credits from Reynolds Community College. Please note that the manner in which credit is accepted and/or applied varies by institution.

  5. Other Information: