Jul 15, 2024  
2022-2023 NOVA Catalog 
2022-2023 NOVA Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

CPL: Definitions

Credit for Prior Learning is a practice institutions use to award college credit for demonstrated competency and mastery through non-traditional learning. Students may be assessed using various methods to determine the degree to which the learning outcomes of a particular course or courses has been met; this could be through an industry standardized certification test, written assessments, oral interview, a project, performance, or other methods by which an appropriate qualified faculty member determines. At NOVA there are four broad categories where students earn credit for prior learning. The following section provides definitions of some of the commonly accepted CPL assessment methods.

  • Advance Placement (AP) Exams- Advanced Placement examinations are offered by the College Board. The tests are the culmination of year-long university level academic learning in Advanced Placement courses offered in high school. Exams are scored on scale of 1-5, with a 5 on the exam representing extremely well qualified and 1 signaling no recommendation for college credit. According to VCCS policy, Virginia community colleges are required to accept AP scores of 3 or higher.
  • Cambridge International Exams - Cambridge International, Cambridge Advanced Courses offer an opportunity for students to complete college level course work in secondary schools. Cambridge A-Level Courses typically refer to a two-year course, and Cambridge AS-Level Courses typically refer to a one-year course.
  • College Level Examination Program -Administered by the College Board, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers an opportunity for students to earn college credit based on their performance on certain exams that cover introductory level college course material.  Generally, CLEP exams are computer-based and contain multiple choice questions about the subject area. CLEP exams take 90-120 minutes to complete.
  • Challenge Exams (Institutional Administered) - Customized subject exams developed by an institution’s faculty in the content area to verify learning achievement. At NOVA, this is called an Assessment by Local Examination (ABLE).
  • Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) - CCAF was established to meet educational the needs of airmen. CCAF is regionally accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Since it is accredited, it comes in as transfer college credit.
  • Competency Based Learning (CBE) - Learning designed to ensure students are becoming proficient by advancing on demonstrated mastery of specific competencies rather than learning through a time-based system. This is not offered at NOVA; however students who have taken credits from another school should refer to a different method for credit for prior learning.
  • Defense Language Inst. (DLPT) - The Defense Language Proficiency Test (or DLPT) is a battery of foreign language tests produced by the Defense Language Institute and used by the United States Department of Defense (DoD).
  • DSST/DANTES - DSST (formerly DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) are credit-by-examination tests originated by the United States Department of Defense’s Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams - IB Diploma Program offers students’ opportunities to enhance learning in subjects through three core components: theory of knowledge, extended essay, and CAS (creativity, activity, and services). IB courses, syllabi and exams can exist for two different levels of accomplishment. The Higher Level (HL) generally 240 hours of instruction, requires two years of coursework in the chosen subject area, includes a syllabus and exam material. The Standard/Subsidiary Level (SL) typically 150 hours of instruction, requires one year of coursework in the chosen subject area, includes a syllabus and exam material.  
  • Military JST- Military training, coursework, and education usually found in a Joint Services Transcript (JST) is translated into civilian language to describe work history. The JST covers the following military branches: Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. The Air Force training and coursework is documented by the Community College of the Air Force.
  • Military MOC- Military Occupation Code (MOC) is a set of characters use to identify the occupational specialty.
  • On the JOB Training/Cooperative Education- A structured method of synthesizing academic and career/technical instruction to produce documented learning of knowledge, skills, and competencies from hands on work experience for academic credit. At NOVA students would typically go through a portfolio process.
  • Professional Licenses/Certification- Industry-recognized credentials include: all occupational licenses and registries provided by state or national professional boards and industry certifications from a valid third party. At NOVA faculty evaluates these professional licenses or certifications and align them with a NOVA course’s learning objectives to determine which course(s) if any is equivalent to the certification.