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Westfield State receives PIF grant of $99,000 to develop an enhanced portfolio assessment system

Westfield State University has received a Performance Incentive Fund grant of $99,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to develop an enhanced prior learning portfolio assessment system to potentially enable qualified community college transfer students to complete a bachelor’s degree within one calendar year.

“We are committed to making an accessible and affordable education at Westfield State University,” said President Ramon Torrecilha, Ph.D. “In addition to our streamlined transfer policy with our community college partners and our increase to 79 acceptable credits in a variety of disciplines, this endeavor creates another pathway to success for community college students.”

With the National Center for Education Statistics predicting the enrollment of adult learners to grow by 20 percent from 2012 to 2023 a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) has shown to be an effective method to provide students with college credit for lessons learned outside the classroom. Under the program, a comprehensive PLA Portfolio will allow students to earn 15 credits at the cost of three credits. The University will partner with the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL), a national expert in PLA, for technical support and training.

“By focusing specifically on the needs of adult learners, Westfield State and the entire educational system will benefit through accelerated degree completion, reduced overall costs for students, improved graduation rates and a more efficient entry of graduates into the workforce,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Diane T. Prusank, Ph.D.

The University plans to pilot the updated PLA portfolio students with up to five business students in the spring 2019 semester, leading to an official launch of the new protocols in fall 2019.