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Prior Learning Assessment

English Language Program


The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition process at the University of Winnipeg’s ESL TCP helps you figure out what you already know and what you need to know to get where you're going. Through this process the University of Winnipeg’s ESL TCP offers to help you analyze your education and learning experience and determine what you need to reach your goal of teaching ESL. We take into account your education as a whole, including the knowledge and skills you have gained through your teaching career. Through demonstration of your knowledge and skills, you may be eligible to receive credit towards your ESL TCP certificate.

If you want to explore this option further, please contact the Coordinator of ESL TCP PLAR. The Coordinator will help you to evaluate your prior learning, discuss your educational goals, and identify courses you may wish to challenge for credit. 

What is ESL TCP PLAR?
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition is an educational initiative that provides learners with welcome opportunities to identify, demonstrate, and gain recognition for what they already know and can do. It allows learners to obtain ESL TCP credit for the knowledge and skills gained outside the classroom and/or through other educational programs. PLAR uses valid, rigorous assessment methods which follow university policies and procedures to ensure that learning worthy of credit has taken place.

Who should apply for ESL TCP PLAR?

PLAR is for experienced teachers who have significant learning through work and classroom experiences which may be equivalent to ESL TCP courses. Learners should be able to apply learning acquired in different situations and classrooms. The learning should be current, relevant to a particular course and of sufficient breadth and depth to ensure it equals what would have been gained in the classroom.

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What are the benefits of PLAR?

To the Learner:

  • encourages learners to pursue education by increasing access
  • validates appropriate learning gained through work and life experiences
  • decreases duplication of learning
  • identifies areas of competence and areas requiring further study
  • increases self-esteem
  • may reduce the time and expense to acquire a credential 

To the Faculty:

  • furthers the development of adult learning and teaching practices
  • broadens understanding of assessment and evaluation
  • increases knowledge of PLAR processes through professional development opportunities
  • maintains currency of theory 

To the University: 

  • increases student recruitment and retention
  • enhances the image of the institution (i.e. flexible and responsive to change)
  • allows for more appropriate learner placement in programs
  • increases accessibility to a broad range of learners
  • provides an important service for the community and business 

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What is the process?

A potential applicant for ESL TCP PLAR weighs his/her knowledge against ESL TCP course descriptions and learning outcomes to determine whether or not to challenge the course. Once completed, the Application for Challenge for Credit is sent to the ESL TCP Coordinator, Course Instructor and Director of the ELP Program. If the instructor is willing to become involved in the PLAR process, the student then meets with him/her to discuss whether or not it is feasible to continue. The Assessment Agreement form, which identifies assessment methods and time lines, is completed by both. (Methods of assessing prior learning may include one or more of the following: written/oral exams, projects, assignments, interviews, skill demonstration, or portfolio review. Some methods may be more suitable to a particular course than to others.) When the student completes all agreed-upon work, the instructor fills out an Assessment Evaluation form and grade register and forwards both to the Coordinator of the ESL TCP and the English Language Program (ELP) Director. For more information review the section below. 

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How do I apply for PLAR?

Contact the Coordinator of ESL TCP PLAR: s.poole@uwinnipeg.ca or 204.789.1484 

  • to discuss whether your learning/teaching experience matches any ESL TCP course description(s) found in the student handbook and whether you would like to continue with the PLAR process
  • to ensure that you are admitted to the University and the course you wish to PLAR counts toward your certificate

You need to put in writing your intent to pursue ESL TCP PLAR 

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Then what? 

  • the Coordinator of ESL TCP PLAR contacts both the Director and the course instructor to inform them of your request for PLAR
  • if the course instructor is able to proceed with your request, the Coordinator of ESL TCP PLAR will arrange for you to meet, call or email him/her to discuss the feasibility of PLAR
  • when you contact the course instructor you will describe in detail your relevant learning experience and the instructor will describe in more detail the course curriculum and his/her expectations 

If you and the instructor agree to proceed with PLAR: 

  • download and complete the ESLTCP Assessment Agreement Form [PDF] in consultation with the course instructor
  • the course instructor and the student agree on the method(s) of assessment that are expected and when the work is to be completed
  • you must sign the form and have the course instructor and Director sign as well
  • the completed form should be forwarded to the Coordinator of ESL TCP PLAR along with the course fee payment (1/2 the regular tuition fee, includes the registration fee) - for PLAR tuition payment options, please email the Coordinator of ESL TCP PLAR s.poole@uwinnipeg.ca 
  • you will be registered for the course by Student Records and a grade register will be sent to the course instructor 

Once you have completed the course work: 

  • and the assessment of the course material/exam is done, the course instructor will complete the Assessment Evaluation form, along with the grade register
  • the course instructor will submit the grade register and the Assessment Evaluation form to Student Records
  • the Assessment Evaluation form will be filed in your student file, a copy sent to you and a copy kept in the PLAR files 

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How many courses can I challenge through PLAR?

It is possible to apply for PLAR for all four courses within the ESL Teacher Certificate Program. However, the ESL Teacher Certificate Program has a residency requirement which includes the 20-hour practicum placement; therefore, students cannot request PLAR for this course.

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How is credit granted for PLAR?

  • if you are successful, a grade of 'S' (Standing) is assigned to the course and will appear on your transcript.
  • the course classification will be coded as 'PLAR'
  • if you are unsuccessful, a grade is not assigned to the course and it will not show up on your transcript

Please note that PLAR credits do not fulfill the University of Winnipeg residency requirements, they are included in the total number of credits that you can transfer into your degree. 

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If I am unsuccessful at obtaining credit can I try again?

  • you may attempt to PLAR one more time after a six month period but only if you can demonstrate additional learning
  • the course instructor may inform you of areas where learning is inadequate and may be able to recommend ways to acquire or demonstrate the additional learning 

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If I am successful at obtaining credit, what next?

Select courses to complete your ESL Teacher Certificate Program Certificate!