Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is the formal evaluation and credit-granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Students may have their knowledge and skills evaluated against the expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the secondary school diploma. The PLAR process involves two components: “challenge” and “equivalency”.

The “challenge” process is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a Grade 10, 11, or 12 course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document published in 1999 or later.

The “equivalency” process is the process of assessing credentials from other jurisdictions.

All credits granted through the PLAR process – that is, through either the challenge process or the equivalency process – must represent the same standards of achievement as credits granted to students who have taken the courses.

Procedure PR547 – Prior Learning Equivalent Credits outlines the process related to the granting of prior learning equivalent credits that is consistent with provincial policy. Details about the challenge process can be found in the PLAR Policy/Program Memorandum No. 129 on the Ministry of Education site.

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    What is the PLAR Challenge Process?

    The PLAR Challenge Process is a process whereby active Ontario High School Board Secondary or Continuing Education students may obtain credits toward the Ontario Secondary School Diploma for knowledge and skills that they have acquired outside of the classroom.

    Students may “challenge” and earn a maximum of four credits for prior learning, including a maximum of two credits in any one discipline.

    Students’ prior learning is assessed and evaluated to determine whether they have met the provincial curriculum expectations in a specific course.

    What can you challenge?

    Current Ontario High School Board Day school and Continuing Education students may challenge only Grades 10, 11 or 12 subjects that are currently being taught in Ontario secondary schools.

    What can you not challenge?

    • Credits granted through the International Baccalaureate Program as a result of the specialized nature of the additional curriculum and certification process
    • A Transfer course
    • Locally Developed courses
    • Interdisciplinary Studies courses (IDC)
    • Gifted option and course types
    • Cooperative Education courses
    • A subject where a higher level of credit has already been granted i.e. you have Grade 11 Science but not Grade 10, you may not challenge for the Grade 10 Science
    • You cannot challenge between course types for the same course for example: when a student earns Grade 10 English Applied, he/she cannot challenge the Grade 10 English Academic
    • Multi-credit Technology courses
    • English as a Second Language or English courses
    • French as a Second Language courses (core, extended, Immersion) if the student has earned one or more credits in Français (French as a First Language) from Français Le curriculum de l’Ontario 9e et 10e année or Français Le curriculum de l’Ontario 11e et 12e année

    NB: Extended/Immersion French students who challenge Core French will be removed from the Extended/Immersion Program.

    How do I apply for the PLAR challenge?

    Students are responsible for initiating the challenge process, and for independently satisfying all of the performance requirements associated with the specific course challenged.

    1. Attend the Information/Orientation session.
    2. Students must submit reasonable evidence of successfully meeting the provincial subject curriculum expectations, along with the challenge application, as proof that they are qualified to challenge for credit in a specific course, including a course prerequisite.
    3. Students whose submission of evidence is determined to be insufficient to move forward in the challenge are able to appeal the decision through the Learning Network Superintendent of their home school.

    What is considered reasonable evidence for the challenge application?

    • Samples of relevant work, in keeping with Ministry curriculum expectations
    • Proof of successful relevant experience or independent learning
    • Video (.mp4), audio (.mp3) or writing samples (.doc) of relevant work shared from the student’s TDSB Google Drive (create a new folder called FirstName Surname – PLAR)

    What if I take the challenge and am not successful?

    • If the application package is approved in April for the student to go through the challenge, chances are excellent that they will be successful in the challenge at the end of May.
    • Unsuccessful challenges will not be reported for Grade 10 courses. The policy for full disclosure that applies to all Grades 11 and 12 courses taken during the day also applies to Grades 11 and 12 courses challenged under PLAR.
    • Students can appeal the final mark to the Centrally Assigned Principal.

    The PLAR challenge process requires students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through assessment procedures that include formal tests, group work, and other activities. The challenge will take up to 20 hours of classroom/assessment time. There is no teaching component to this process and only one PLAR challenge is permitted at a time.

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