What is a Prior Learning Assessment?

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning refers to prior learning assessment (PLA) as the process of earning college credit for college-level learning acquired from other sources, such as work experience, professional certification, or military training. 

As the American Council on Education explains, "PLA awards credit for learning, not credit just for your experience. What is being evaluated for college credit is not your learning experience, but the knowledge you acquired and how that knowledge translates into specific college-level courses" (ACE, Adult Learners Guide to PLA).

The Kennesaw State University Department of Information Technology offers prior learning assessment options to enrolled students who can demonstrate college-level learning. 


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Advanced Placement (AP) - High School Students

Computer Science A 3 - 5 IT1324 5


DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)

Introduction to Computing 45; Effective 2008: 400 CSE IT00* 2


NOTE: "1T00" means that the course has come in and your credit still counts on your account, but could not be evaluated as a direct one-to-one equivalent for a KSU course and therefore is not being used in your degree requirements. If you would like to utilize this credit toward one of your degree requirements you should obtain a course syllabus (preferably) or a course description and bring it to your advisor for the next steps in getting a course substitution."

Departmental Challenge Exams for Advanced Standing


Follow these instuctions for Advanced Standing Exams:

  1. Meet with the Department Chair (Dr. Shaoen Wu) for the course in which testing is desired. The Department Chair will evaluate your qualifications to take an Advanced Standing examination.
  2. Take the signed application (by the Department Chair) to the Office of the Registrar for an official review of your eligibility to take an Advanced Standing examination - you will leave the form in the Registrar's Office. You will be contacted once a decision is reached.
  3. Go to the Bursar's Office and pay the appropriate fee.
  4. Return the form to the Department Chair and make arrangements for testing. The Department Chair will report your examination grade to the Registrar and you will receive official notification from that office.

Advanced Standing exams are available for the following courses:

  • IT 1113 - Programming Principles (Python)

  • IT 1323  - Advanced Programming Principles (Java)

  • CSE 3153 -  Database Systems

  • IT 3203 - Introduction to Web Development

  • IT 3123 - Hardware/Software Concepts


Dr. Shaoen Wu,  Department Chair