Credit By Exam Or Prior Learning

Credit by Examination

Bentley University recognizes that there are many avenues to learning and gives the following opportunities for students to earn credit outside of the classroom experience.

Proficiency Examinations are offered through individual departments based on Bentley-specific courses. CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) and Excelsior examinations are accepted for a wide range of courses. Information on which courses may be completed by exam and area test centers is available here

Credit by Prior Learning

What is assessment of prior learning?

Assessment of prior learning enables qualified students to demonstrate, through portfolio development, learning accomplished through non-classroom settings. This may include, but is not limited to, professional development, corporate training programs, seminars, and certification programs. It is important to remember that credit is based on learning that has been obtained through work or other experience—it is not the experience itself which is creditable. It is, therefore, critical to be able to demonstrate not only that you know how to perform a particular function, but that you understand why an action is taken.

Who may apply for credit through assessment?

This program is designed specifically for adult students, as defined by work and life experience, who have been formally admitted to either a bachelor degree or certificate program. Students must have a minimum of five years business experience which demonstrates professional growth. If credit is sought for an advanced course, any prerequisite courses must be completed prior to application for credit.

What courses may be satisfied by prior learning credit?

Any course in which learning objectives may be demonstrated through portfolio development may be pursued. As a first step toward identifying courses which would be suitable for credit, read through the course descriptions printed in the most recent Undergraduate Bulletin. Credit for prior learning is based on demonstrating that the learning outcomes of a particular course have already been mastered. Some courses lend themselves more readily to other forms of credit verification. (See information about additional sources of prior learning credit listed below.) In addition, other courses are considered “capstone” courses, such as GB 401, Strategic Management, and therefore are not suitable for prior learning credit.

How do I know what information to present?

In some cases, we have already established learning outcomes and criteria for awarding credit. Once you submit your application indicating which courses you wish to pursue for Assessment of Prior Learning credit, we will provide you with either

  • information already on record specifying criteria for that particular course; or
  • the name of the appropriate department evaluator for you to work with, or the Office of Academic Services will work with the appropriate department chair to obtain written criteria.

Your portfolio may include a business or project plan, verification of corporate training, certification by examination, a personal essay integrating your practical experience with classroom theory.  The content of your portfolio will vary, depending on the course for which credit is sought.  When appropriate, the faculty evaluator may request an interview.

Is there a tuition charge for Assessment of Prior Learning Credit?

Yes. Tuition is $75 per credit.  Most courses carry three credits.

How does this appear on my transcript? Do I receive a grade?

The course will appear on your transcript with a grade of “PC”—Proficiency Credit. There is no letter or numerical grade, so it does not factor into your grade point average.

Is there a limit to the number of credits which can be satisfied through Assessment of Prior Learning?

The limit on all non-classroom credit is 30 credits. This includes portfolio development, CLEP or Excelsior examinations, departmental proficiency examinations, and ACE/CREDIT. In addition, only 6 credits may be applied to your major or concentration. In the six-course certificate programs, only one 3 credit course may be satisfied through assessment of prior learning.

What are the other methods of obtaining Prior Learning credit?

There are three other avenues to obtaining academic credit through alternative means: 

  • CLEP and Excelsior Examinations are standardized tests available through the College Board and Regents College. Bentley University will award credit for a number of courses. A listing of courses and the minimum grade required for awarding credit is available in Lindsay 21.
  • Proficiency Examinations are course-specific, designed by Bentley faculty to verify learning equivalency for an exact Bentley course. Proficiency examinations are not available for all courses. Students may contact the academic department directly for proficiency examination options.
  • ACE/CREDIT is a national program within the American Council on Education’s Center for Adult Learning and Educational Credentials which provides academic credit recommendations for training programs. Bentley University recognizes ACE evaluations and will make every effort to award credit when appropriate.

Is there someone I can talk with to get further information?

Yes. Academic Advisors in the Office of Academic Services, Lindsay 21, would be happy to meet with you to discuss all of our credit options.  To schedule an appointment, call 781/891-2803.

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