A 48-Institution Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes. Prior Learning Assessment, or PLA, is an important and often overlooked strategy for helping adults progress towards a [college] degree. PLA is the process by which many colleges evaluate for academic credit the college-level knowledge and skills an individual has gained outside of the classroom, including employment, military training/service, travel, hobbies, civic activities, and volunteer service.\n\nThe data from 62,475 students at the 48 postsecondary institutions in our study show that PLA students had better academic outcomes, particularly in terms of graduation rates and persistence, than other adult students. Many PLA students also shortened the time required to earn a degree, depending on the number of PLA credits earned.
From the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (February 2010): http://www.cael.org/pdfs/PLA_Executive-Summary.pdf