Fort Hays State adds portfolio method of granting course credits for experience

HAYS, Kan. - Students at Fort Hays State University have a new method of receiving credit for prior learning beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year - the portfolio method, which allows students an opportunity to demonstrate they have obtained the content of a course without taking the course.

"The strength of the portfolio is inviting the student to show they have met the outcomes of a course," said Dr. Marcus Porter, who was hired this summer as the credit for prior leaning (CPL) coordinator.

"By using experiential learning," he said, "FHSU students integrate personal experiences with what they learn. This integration results in increased application of materials and provides a pattern to continue learning throughout life."

The portfolio method is designed with adult learners in mind.

"Potential students are saying to us, 'I have been in my field for a number of years. Is there any way to receive credit for what I have learned?,' " said Kathleen Cook, assistant director of the Virtual College.

"The portfolio is a means to document their learning and allow these students to receive credit for what they know," she said.

Most students completing a portfolio are expected to have five years or more experience related to the course they will challenge with a portfolio. However, since departments may recommend the method anytime there is reason to believe a student has met or can meet the course objectives, the addition of the portfolio will serve all students.

"Fort Hays State University is committed to student success through continuous quality improvement of our credit-for-prior-learning process and operations," said Dr. Tim Crowley, associate provost for academic affairs.

"Prospective students often inquire about this method, and we now join other institutions in providing this process to meet their needs," he said.

FHSU has been developing the portfolio process for several years as the university works to meet the Kansas Board of Regents' strategic plan goal to have 60 percent of all Kansans earn a certificate or associate or bachelor's degree by 2020.

Students benefit from CPL by saving money and time working on their degrees. FHSU also benefits. Students who receive credit for prior learning continue in courses and graduate at higher rates.

FHSU accepts many forms of credit for prior learning. In addition to the portfolio method, FHSU continues to accept tests such as those in the College Board's College Level Examination Program, Prometric's DSST exams, or local-challenge exams.

FHSU also accepts documentation of completion for certifications and training conducted by partners. Military personnel may obtain credit for military training as recommended by the American Council on Education.

Students interested in learning more about CPL should speak with their advisors or contact Porter at More information is also available at

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