Prior Learning Assessment

Pathways to Success


Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Alvin Community College recognizes the benefits of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) in helping students reach their goals in a more efficient way. Additionally, the College is cognizant of the diverse ways in which students obtain knowledge and skills outside of the traditional classroom setting. The primary goal of PLA is to evaluate a student's knowledge and skill-set to be awarded college credit through alternative pathways such as national and local examinations, industry certifications and work experience, military training, articulation agreements and non-credit mirror course conversion. In addition, the PLA pathway accelerates certificate and degree completion for students that have met the learning objectives prior to entry into their program of choice.


Prior Learning Assessment Criteria (PLA)

  1. Student has successfully completed a minimum of 3 hours of ACC course work and is currently enrolled after the census date of the requesting semester.
  2. PLA credit will only be awarded as it applies to a current ACC program of study. 
  3. PLA is noted with a grade of "S" for the semester hour value and is not calculated in the institution's grade point average (GPA). Credit by Departmental Exam can be noted with a grade of A, B, or C on the transcript, but will not be calculated in the ACC GPA.
  4. A maximum of 24 hours can be awarded for prior learning. These hours will not be counted toward residency credit, with the exception of ACC Continuing Education Mirror courses.
  5. Award of PLA at ACC does not guarantee transfer of such credit to other colleges and universities. 

There is no charge for the transcription of AP, CLEP, IBD, DSST or Military PLA credit. There is a $10 per credit hour charge for all other forms of PLA assessments and/or $100 charge for skills exams.


PLA Opportunities 

Prior Learning Assessment opportunities are available through six (6) avenues: 

  1. Advanced Placement - Academic PLA offered through exams sponsored by CollegeBoard-AP
  2. CLEP Exams - Academic PLA through CollegeBoard-CLEP $87 per exam plus CLEP Proctoring offered through ACC for $20.
  3. Industry Certifications - Technical PLA offered by certifications earned on the job can be assessed for credit.
  4. Department Exams - available for any academic course where an AP or CLEP exam is not offered; available for many ACC Technical programs.
  5. Continuing Education Mirror Courses - courses taken through continuing education to be assessed for college credit.
  6. Career Portfolio's - presentation of knowledge and skills through a career portfolio (can be academic or technical).

PLA opportunities via Departmental Exam and Industry Certification have been identified in the following areas (please visit review PLA opportunities in the current ACC Catalog):

Requesting PLA Credit

To get started:

  1. Visit with an ACC Advisor or Department Chair to discuss PLA opportunities. 
  2. Select the appropriate form to download and complete.
  3. Submit completed form to the respective office to approve criteria.

Click here to review the ACC PLA Manual.

All PLA forms are now fillable with electronic signature capabilities.  Please complete the electronic form and submit directly via email.

If you have any questions about Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), visit with an ACC Pathways Advisor or the College and Career Pathways Office, A227.