Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is the formal evaluation and credit-granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. This includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways. Students may have their knowledge and skills 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 during semester two under the direction of the school principal who grants credits. The PLAR process involves two components: “the challenge process” and “the equivalency process”.

 

THE CHALLENGE PROCESS

A Challenge Assessment is a series of evaluations whereby students demonstrate that they have already mastered the course expectations outlined in the provincial curriculum documents. A Challenge Assessment is NOT an independent study or the opportunity to learn guided by a teacher.

Students may challenge Grade 10, 11, or 12 courses, as indicated in provincial curriculum policy documents. (See OSS, section 6.6 and Policy/Program Memorandum No. 129, page 2). Students are able to successfully challenge up to four courses with a maximum of two in any one subject. In order to be accepted for the PLAR, students must provide strong evidence to the principal that they would be successful in the challenge process. The completed PLAR application and supporting materials must be submitted to the Principal by January.

Students cannot be granted credits through the challenge process for any of the following:

  • a course in any subject if a credit has already been granted for a course in that subject in a later grade
  • a transfer course
  • a locally developed course
  • a cooperative education course
  • a course in English as a second language if the student has one or more credits in English from the curriculum policy documents for English for grades 9 to 12 under OSS or from the curriculum guidelines for English for Grades 9 to 12/OAC under OSIS
  • a course in French as a second language (FSL), if the students has one or more credits in Français from the curriculum policy documents for Français for Grades 9 to 12 under OSS or the curriculum guideline for Français for Grades 9 to 12/OAC under OSIS.

Assessment and evaluation through the PLAR process will be based on the curriculum expectations and the achievement charts in the Ontario curriculum policy documents. Typically a student would have up to four weeks to complete the assigned evaluation tasks. A student’s level of achievement will be recorded as a percentage grade on the OST (Program Planning and Assessment, 2000).

 

The Equivalency Process

Equivalency credits are granted for placement only. Students who are eligible for equivalency credits are those who transfer to Ontario secondary schools from non-inspected private schools or schools outside Ontario. The principal of the receiving school will, in the process of deciding where the student should be placed, determine as equitably as possible the total credit equivalency of the student’s previous learning and the number of compulsory and optional credits still to be earned.

Please contact the Guidance Department if you need more information.

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