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The unit offering the course determines whether credit by portfolio is available. If available, the procedure for credit by portfolio assessment is as follows.


  1. The matriculated, Penn State undergraduate student may pursue credit by portfolio for prior learning experiences, if they assess that the knowledge gained could be equated with the learning outcomes of a given course. The student may consult with an academic adviser as appropriate. The student should contact the Office for Prior Learning Assessment to indicate interest in initiating the process.

    If credit by portfolio assessment is available, the academic unit offering the course at the student's campus of enrollment will provide guidance on the steps necessary to construct a portfolio that demonstrates evidence of prior learning and meets academic quality expectations.
  1. The student submits a request for credit by portfolio assessment for a specific course through the prior learning assessment form in the student information system.
  1. Requests for courses not previously approved for credit by portfolio assessment will be sent to the Office for Prior Learning Assessment, which will contact the unit offering the course to see whether credit by portfolio assessment is available. All other requests will be routed to a designated approver in the college, school, or campus.
  2. Designated approver will send the request to a faculty subject matter expert on the student's campus of enrollment. If no faculty subject matter expert is available, approver sends request to the Office for Prior Learning Assessment, which will route the request to a faculty subject matter expert at another campus.
  3. Subject matter expert reviews the student's request and discusses the format and expectations for successful completion of the portfolio with the student.
  4. If the student decides to continue the process, the subject matter expert notifies the academic unit that the student is pursuing credit by portfolio assessment, the academic unit notifies the Bursar, and the Bursar bills the student's account.
  5. The student compiles the portfolio within the guidelines established by the academic unit and submits the portfolio to the subject matter expert for assessment.
  6. Subject matter expert assesses the portfolio and determines whether credit is to be awarded. Academic standards in assessing the amount and quality of learning demonstrated by a portfolio are to be equivalent to the learning expected in the course when credit is acquired via instruction. The subject matter expert determines whether the portfolio meets the standards of acceptable achievement equivalent to a grade of C or better. Whatever the outcome, the subject matter expert submits the results into the student information system (i.e., LionPath). Credit earned via portfolio assessment will be designated on the transcript in the same manner as transfer credit. No entry is made on the student's transcript when no credit is awarded.

    No grades are assigned to credits awarded by portfolio assessment. Accordingly, credits earned through this process cannot be used for grade forgiveness. Ordinarily, no partial credit for a course is to be awarded by portfolio assessment. Normally, the assessment is to be completed within thirty days of receipt of the portfolio.
  7. The student information system notifies all approvers and the student of the results of the portfolio assessment.
  8. In cases where subject matter expert has identified minor adjustments in the portfolio content or structure that, if made and the portfolio reassessed, the determination would likely be to award credits, this option may be communicated to the student. The student may elect to adjust the portfolio and resubmit it for reassessment. No additional fee is to be charged for such a reassessment.

If the original subject matter expert assessment is that the portfolio fails in major ways to exhibit sufficient evidence of learning at the level and of the quality expected for the course, the student may elect to start over by constructing a new portfolio, filing a new petition, paying the appropriate fees, and submitting the new portfolio for assessment.

Senate Policy:  42-97, Credit by Portfolio Assessment

Approved: ACUE (8-7-97)
Revised: Provost Brighton (6-99)
Revised: ACUE (3-14-13)
Updated: ACUE (10-1-2020)
Approved: ACUE (3-3-22)