Skip to main content

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

FAQ for Students

What is PLAR?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)is a process that provides an opportunity to receive credit for what you already know and can do. Faculty assess the skills and knowledge acquired outside UFV courses against learning outcomes of UFV courses or programs.

Prior learning assessments can be direct evaluation through a course examination or other evaluation process (called course challenge) or evaluation of a portfolio of evidence compiled by the student.

What kind of experiential learning does PLAR address?

  • Industry or workplace training
  • Independent study or non-credit courses
  • Travel and residency or teaching in foreign countries
  • Volunteer and community activity
  • Military training and service

How does the PLAR process work?

In our PLAR process, you work with an advisor and an assessor to:

  • Set expectations about what PLAR can do for you and how your prior learning can be proven
  • Identify possible courses for PLAR
  • Receive approval from the department head or director to pursue PLAR
  • Gather evidence on your past experiences and accomplishments
  • Prove your learning through a variety of means including practical demonstrations, interviews, portfolio development and/or formal examination

How can I identify potential courses for PLAR?

The first step is to identify the academic program you intend to complete. While your skills, knowledge and abilities may reflect different courses than your program requires or accepts, you will need to focus on program requirements to create an initial list of potential courses for PLAR. You can then do an initial self-assessment and review course outlines to guage whether you could meet learning outcomes of individual courses. To see more information on initial PLAR steps please see the Student PLAR Steps.

What type of credit can I receive through PLAR?

Grading is usually on a Credit (CR)/No Credit (NCR). Letter grades may be possible with the agreement of both the student and the evaluator. The grade assigned (whether the assessment is passed or not) will be recorded on your transcript, however, grades do not apply to the UFV grade point average.

Is there a way to get "general" PLAR credit rather than credit for specific courses?

In some areas, a program-based assessment may be available as well as the opportunity to pursue credit for specific courses. Information about program based assessments would be available either on the department’s web page or through the program advisor. The BA in Adult Education offers program PLAR for students in the BA ADED program.

What is the difference between transfer credit and PLAR credit?

Transfer credit is given based on successful completion of studies at a post-secondary institution. In order to grant transfer credit, UFV& evaluates the academic standards of Canadian or international post-secondary institutions and the learning outcomes of courses and programs. Please refer to the Office of the Registrar for further information. To determine whether a BC course or program may be transferable to UFV please refer to the BC Transfer Guide.

Under PLAR, an individual’s learning is assessed as opposed to an institution’s course or program learning outcomes. Students who have attended other post-secondary institutions must have their transfer credit evaluated before pursuing PLAR.

How much credit can I receive?

Programs have residency requirements (the number of courses that must be completed at UFV) and credits awarded through PLAR do not necessarily count towards residency.

What is the cost?

You will normally pay 75% of the cost of a UFV credit course. Students in the Program PLAR process, in the Adult Education department, pay a flat fee of 75% of 12 credits regardless of how much program PLAR credit they receive.

How long does PLAR take?

It depends on your learning and the course you are pursuing for PLAR. The assessment method will determine the length of the process. For example, preparing for a challenge exam will require less time than developing a portfolio.

Why should I pursue PLAR?

  • Gain academic credits
  • Save time and money
  • Identify personal strengths and goals
  • Attain occupational licensing or certification
  • Identify training gaps

When should I pursue PLAR?

You should plan your PLAR one semester in advance to pursuing it. Beginning the PLAR process in the earlier stages of your credential will help you plan your academic program more effectively.

Who can I talk to about the PLAR process?

To make the PLAR process as smooth as possible, it is important you seek the help of the Educational Advisors in Student Services or your program advisor. We will help you make choices as you plan your academic program and help you access resources at UFV, including resources for prior learning assessment and recognition.

Can I get additional resources to help me through the PLAR process?

Students can access PLAR reference material through our resource section, your faculty, and the UFV Library.

Who will assesses my prior learning?

The UFV faculty member who has relevant expertise in the area of your prior learning will assess your PLAR.

What departments and programs at UFV participate in PLAR?

Many departments and academic programs across campus have already conducted PLAR assessments. Please take time to review the published course outlines for UFV courses in order to see which PLAR options are available within departments/faculties you would like PLAR credit.

How do I know that portfolio development would be a good option for me?

People returning to learning and current UFV students bring a variety of prior learning with them into the university. Adult learners tend to misjudge the quality and underestimate the quantity of their prior learning. Therefore, it is reasonable to claim that almost every incoming UFV student can benefit from developing a portfolio.

Can I use portfolio assessment with two or more faculties or courses?

Portfolio assessment will allow you to pursue credit for more than one course, sometimes in more than one discipline, however, students can only be assessed for credit applicable to their program goal at UFV.