This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Effects of Prior Learning Assessment on Graduation Rates of Adult Students in an Online Degree Program




Barnett, William Lee

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Technological advances and changes to America’s workforce have created a need for adult workers to upskill their abilities. Many of these adults address this need by pursuing a college degree. While adult learners tend to excel in their coursework their graduation rates lag behind those of traditional undergraduates. Credit for prior learning or prior learning assessment (PLA) has the potential to improve graduation rates and decrease time to degree for adult students. The current study examined the relationship of PLA with graduation rates for adult students in online degree programs of a large, private, for-profit institution. This study found a statistically significant relationship between graduation rates and the use of credit for prior learning (PLA). The study also revealed a significant relationship between degree completion and the type of PLA credit employed.