Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Where such learning has occurred outside Ontario classrooms, students enrolled in Ontario secondary schools and inspected private schools may have their skills and knowledge evaluated against the expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the secondary school diploma. PLAR procedures are carried out under the direction of the school principal, who grants credits in accordance with PPM129: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition: Implementation in Ontario Secondary Schools.
The PLAR process involves two components: “challenge” and equivalency. The “challenge process” refers to the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document. Assessment instruments for this process must include formal tests (70 percent of the final mark) and a variety of other assessment strategies appropriate to the particular course (30 percent of the final mark). Such strategies may include the evaluation of student work, including written assignments and laboratory work, and observation of student performance. Determining equivalency involves the assessment of credentials from other jurisdictions.
If a student wishes to be granted equivalent credits for work done in other jurisdictions, the follow procedure is to be followed:
- Verbal or written request to the Principal.
- Presentation of documentation on which to assess the validity of prior learning. Eg. report cards, transcripts, course descriptions and syllabi, etc.
- Once all the required material has been supplied, it will be evaluated by the Principal.
- A record of the process will be made on the student’s Credit Equivalency and Accumulation Form under “Transfer Credits”. A record of these credits will also be made on the Ontario Student Transcript.
If a student wishes to challenge a credit, the following procedure is to be followed:
- Verbal or written request by the parent and/or student to the Principal
- Presentation of documentation on which to assess the validity of the challenge.
- The Principal would meet with the appropriate faculty member before a decision is made on the validity of the challenge.
- A course teacher would prepare a variety of assessment instruments and strategies .
- This material would be presented to the student along with a schedule for its completion.
- Once all required work and material has been completed it will be evaluated by the course teacher and a final mark submitted to the Principal.