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FAQs About Portfolio Assessment of Prior Learning

Here are responses to some frequently asked questions about portfolio assessment of prior learning.


What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a device in which you use a variety of tools to help you reflect on, identify, articulate and demonstrate past college-level learning which you may have acquired through study, work, and other life experiences gained outside the classroom.  

How do you qualify?

In order to be eligible for the portfolio assessment of prior learning program, you should:

  • Be a degree or a certificate seeking student at AACC
  • Be eligible for ENG111
  • Be currently registered for classes at AACC
  • Have excellent writing skills
  • Have at least five years of prior learning experience beyond high school in your applicable field of study.
  • Be able to clearly document the learning gained from your experience

How do you prepare a portfolio?

A user-friendly, self-paced  online tutorial will guide you throughout the process of portfolio preparation.  A portfolio usually contains:

  • A petition for credit for learning that has occurred outside a formal classroom setting
  • A statement of educational, personal and career goals
  • An outline of the most significant events in a student’s life as they relate to the stated goals
  • A chronological record of college-level learning experiences since graduating from high school
  • An explanation of your knowledge in specific fields and the connection between that knowledge and stated learning objectives for specific courses offered at AACC
  • Documentation including the materials relating to the learning claimed
  • Other supporting materials such as reference letters, transcripts, recognitions, and certificates

What tool does AACC use for portfolio assessment?

AACC uses, an innovative online service that helps students earn college credit for what they already know. Students enroll in an online, self-paced, noncredit course called Developing Your Portfolio for College Credit. After you have completed the course and created your portfolio, you submit it to a certified evaluator who determines if it demonstrates the college-level equivalency of the course(s) that you are petitioning. If the results are satisfactory, you request a transcript to be sent to AACC for credit to be posted to your transcript.

How much does it cost?

  • The cost of the noncredit course is $149
  • There is no textbook as all required reading is included in the course.  However, a book is available should you need additional support.
  • An assessment fee of $125 per portfolio evaluation. You submit one portfolio for each course that you are requesting credit.
  • There is a $15 fee for requesting a transcript

How long does it take to develop a portfolio and have it evaluated?

The actual course can be completed in 4-6 hours, however, additional time will be required to develop materials for the portfolio including 8-10 page papers per course request. You can take up to six months from the original date of registration to complete and submit a portfolio.  The evaluation of the portfolio(s) will take from 3-6 weeks depending on the number of courses and subjects.

How is credit for portfolio of prior learning determined and documented?

  • Credit for portfolio is not considered resident credit so it will be recorded on your AACC transcript as “Prior Learning Assessment" credit.
  • A maximum of 15 credits earned through portfolio assessment and credit by departmental exam can be used towards an associate degree at Maryland Community Colleges per State guidelines. 
  • The transferability of credits for portfolio assessment to other colleges is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Before beginning a portfolio, please check with the institution to which you want to transfer if they will accept portfolio assessment credits.
Who should you contact about the portfolio assessment of prior learning program?

Contact Fran Turcott at 410-777-2340 concerning your eligibility for the program and to determine your next steps.