Credit for Prior Learning

In accordance with Minnesota State Board Policy 3.35 and Minnesota State System Procedure 3.35.1, Credit for Prior Learning students at Normandale may earn academic credit for college level learning gained through learning experiences outside of college or university credit-bearing courses as assessed by academically sound and rigorous methods and processes. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) includes both external and internal assessments. External assessments that could result in credit for prior learning (CPL) include those achieved and assessed through a nationally recognized third-party assessment agency or organization, regionally or nationally accredited postsecondary institution, military training or noncredit instruction.  CPL external assessment types may include but or not limited to AP, IB, CLEP, and other national standardized assessments as described in the following sections of this catalog: world language seals and certificates; industry recognized credentials, licenses and certifications; and noncredit instruction in programs such as registered apprenticeships, continuing education, and customized training.

Credits earned through external assessment methods are not resident credits and may not be used to satisfy resident credit requirements for graduation. Credits earned through alternative methods are noted on the student's transcript as transfer credit, with no letter grade.

Internal assessments are those assessments through which college faculty assess evidence of students' demonstrated leearning.  Internal assessments that could result in CPL include prior learning portfolio assessments, course test out, and assessment of military experience.  Credits earned through internal assessment methods count towards the residency requirement.  Credits earned through internal assessment methods receive a grade of Pass (P) and count toward the residency requirement.

External Assessments

Advanced Placement Program

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program of the College Board allows high school students to complete college-level courses and later earn college credit by demonstrating proficiency on culminating examinations. Students who feel prepared by independent study or other means can also take AP examinations.

Students who earn a score of 3 or higher on the examinations are awarded credit upon submission of an official AP score report to the Office of Admissions.

Students interested in possible waivers from placement testing must submit their AP score report to the Office of Admissions at the time of application to the college.

Score reports are available for a fee by calling 888-308-0013 or 609-771-7366, or by writing to AP Services at PO Box 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541-6671. Visit the AP website at

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an internationally recognized program through which secondary students complete a comprehensive curriculum of rigorous study and demonstrate performance on culminating examinations.

The examination for the IB diploma covers 6 subjects, 3 or 4 of which must be at the higher level, with others at the standard level. Students may present a full IB diploma or a certificate recognizing specific subject examinations and be considered for credit based on the examination level and result.

Students shall be granted 6 semester credits for scores of 4 or higher on each higher level examination, plus 2 credits for each standard level examination with a score of 4 or higher. Where test material is substantially similar to the content of an existing Normandale course, credit for that course will be awarded.

Where test material is considered to be college level but not substantially similar to the content of a Normandale course, elective credit will be awarded.

College Level Examination Program

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) of the College Board allows students of all ages to earn college credit for the knowledge and skills they have obtained both inside and outside of the classroom. CLEP offers examinations for subjects normally covered during the first two years of college. Upon completion of testing, students must submit an official score report to the Office of Admissions for consideration of credit.

For examinations completed July 2001 or later, the minimum CLEP score for acceptance of credit is 50, with higher scores required in level 2 foreign language examinations.

There is no limit to the number of credits a student may earn for CLEP examinations; however, students who are seeking a degree or certificate must meet the college residency requirement.

Students interested in possible waivers from placement testing must submit an official CLEP score report to the Office of Admissions at the time of application to the college.

For information about CLEP, visit or, for information specific to Normandale, visit

Military Training

Faculty have reviewed military training and assigned college credit for courses and experiences related to a number of military occupations.  Information about academic credit based on military occupation can be found in the Veterans Education Transfer System (VETS) at

Other Evaluations

Admitted students may also demonstrate college level learning through other nationally recognized examinations such as:     

  • Thomas Edison College Examination Program (TECEP)     
  • The New York University Foreign Language Proficiency examination (NYUFLP)     
  • National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) 
  • DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) 
  • Project Lead the WayTM (PLTW) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Examinations (must submit within 3 years of high school graduation)

Internal Assessments

Portfolio Assessment

Students who wish to have their prior learning assessed may do so through the creation of a portfolio that demonstrates college-level learning that has occurred outside the college or university classroom. Portfolios show evidence of the achievement of course learning outcomes by documenting work experience, professional development, continuing education, and personal study. Portfolios are then assessed by faculty who assign credit. Assessments may also include an interview or skill demonstration depending on the course outcomes. Students interested in portfolio assessment should talk to an academic advisor.