Credit for Prior Learning


This procedure defines the requirements for the evaluation, conferral, and transcription of equivalent college credit for successful completion of prior college-level learning that occurred in non-credit and/or experiential settings. This type of credit may only be awarded to a student who has been admitted to and enrolled at Mountwest and who has declared a major.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) refers to any knowledge-building or skill-attaining that occurs prior to enrollment or outside of a post-secondary institution and that is determined to result in learning outcomes equivalent to college-level course learning outcomes. This type of learning is assessed for the purpose of awarding college credit.

  • Mountwest shall only award PLA to students who: have been admitted to the institution; have declared a major; and have enrolled in courses at Mountwest.
  • Mountwest may award up to, but no more than, 30 credits for associate degrees, and up to, but no more than, 15 hours for certificate programs. (Exceptions to this must be approved by the Chief Academic Officer in accordance with state guidelines and institutional accreditation criteria.
  • Credit awarded through PLA must be clearly identified as such on a student’s official transcript. Such credit shall not be used to determine a student’s grade point average, nor shall it be used in the calculation of graduation honors. The credit should be recorded as “Credit” only.
  • Students submitting a PLA request must initiate the process and must receive a written record of the decision to either approve or deny the conferral of credit. The student has the right to file an appeal under the Student Academic Grievance procedure outlined in the college catalog.
  • Mountwest will maintain records of: the number of students awarded credit for prior learning; the number of credits awarded for prior learning; and the methods used to assess the prior learning. Mountwest will follow all WVCTCS and WVHEPC reporting guidelines.
  • Prior Learning fees may be waived with approval of the President.
  • Mountwest will regularly review PLA polices to ensure they are consistent with PLA guidelines set by accrediting bodies as well as state, regional, and national practices.
  • The Registrar will maintain all approved PLA award records.

Methods of assessing credit for prior learning include:

  1. Advanced Placement Exams
  2. American Council on Education (ACE) guides
  3. College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams
  4. DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST).
  5. Excelsior College Examination Program (ECE).
  6. Institutional Course Challenge Examination Credit.
  7. International Baccalaureate Program (IB).
  8. Institutional Evaluation of Industry and Workforce Training such as apprenticeships, certifications, and licensure.
  9. Portfolio Assessment/Review Credit.
  10. Prior Military Training

Notes on PLA methods

  1. Advanced Placement Exams (AP Courses & Exams)
    1. High school students completing advanced placement examinations of the College Board with a minimum score of 3 will receive credit at any state college or university, as indicated in the list of advanced placement exams  offered  by  the  College  Board.  The Central Office of  the  Community  and  Technical College System of WV maintains a list of all College Board advanced placement exams and the minimum number of credits that each institution shall grant.  Credit is to be awarded solely on the basis of satisfactory performance of a score of 3 or higher on the advanced placement examinations.
  • American Council on Education (ACE
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams
    • Per 135 WV Code of State Rules 135-16-2

“This policy shall serve as a rule for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) of  the  College Entrance Examination Board in West Virginia state colleges and universities. Credit awarded by an institution in conformity with this policy shall be transferable to all West Virginia state colleges and universities. Further credit shall be awarded only once to recognize mastery of course content. Credit shall not be awarded for equivalent courses in which students have already earned such credit through course work, CLEP, institutional challenge examinations, life experience, or other mechanisms.”

  • §133-59-12.2 “It should be made clear to students that such credit in general education may not meet specific program requirements of the institution awarding the credit or of other institutions to which the student may later transfer.  The credit shall then be used as elective credit.  Students shall not receive CLEP General Examination credit for equivalent courses in which they have already earned credit.”
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST).
    • DANTES stands for Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. They offer military personnel an extensive series of examinations in college subjects that are comparable to final or end-of-course examination in undergraduate courses.
  • Excelsior College Examination Program (ECE).
    • Excelsior College provides students the opportunity to take subject specific exams to earn college credit. These tests have been evaluated and recommended for the awarding of college credit by the American Council on Education.  Excelsior offers non-nursing and nursing exams and although some tests have upper-level credit recommendations can only be accepted by MCTC as lower-level courses.
  • Institutional Course Challenge Examination Credit.
    • College Course Challenge Exams, or CCCEs,
      Mountwest course. Students successfully receiving passing scores on CCCEs are considered to have “tested out” of a Mountwest course. Credit only (CR), not a letter grade will be recorded on the transcript for successful completion; no transcript will record a failed attempt of the examination. To be eligible to take an exam, a student must be fully admitted. Students are responsible for paying the $40 proctoring fee per exam. A complete listing of available College Course Challenge To schedule and exam contact the MCTC Testing Center at 304.710.3395, or e-mail at
  • Institutional Evaluation of Industry and Workforce Training such as apprenticeships, certifications, and licensures.
  • Portfolio Assessment/Review Credit.
    • Portfolio college credit will only be awarded for college level learning experiences that have occurred after high school. Students are eligible to apply for portfolio credit two years after high school graduation or two years after their high school class has graduated. To earn this credit the student must provide evidence of possessing equivalent knowledge, theory, or industry skills demonstrated by the presentation of a portfolio.
  • Prior Military Training
    • Students having served in the military may request to have credit awarded for training and experiences gained while serving in the military, in accordance with evaluation of military training and experiences completed by the American Council on Education (ACE) . The preferred method for evaluating military will be the electronic military transcript that each service member can download from a secure website. The printed copy will be submitted to the official keeper of student records the Registrar. The Registrar will make a copy of the on-line transcript and send to the Military Programs Coordinator for a formal course by course review and course transcription recommendation. If a service member served prior to the development of an electronic data base of military training with appropriate college credit recommendation then a copy of the veteran’s DD-214 will be submitted to the Registrar’s office. The Military Program Coordinator will use the ACE electronic data to develop a college credit recommendation using the “The Military Online” found at This is the electronic version of the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Forces”.

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