2020-2022 Catalog and Student Handbook

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior learning, sometimes called experiential learning, is knowledge that is obtained outside the college setting prior to entering or returning to college.

This nontraditional learning is generally acquired through work experience, travel, workshop or conference participation, advanced high school courses, volunteer work, in-service training, military training, adult or continuing education, recreational activities or hobbies, self-initiated reading and study, and involvement in professional organizations. In other words, prior learning describes the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired while living your life that may earn you credits towards your degree or diploma at Mitchell Tech.

Mitchell Tech does not award credit for experience alone. Credit for prior learning is awarded for verifiable skills and learning gained through the experience. Achievements can be evaluated by completing standardized tests, challenging courses or completing a prior learning portfolio with accompanying documentation.

Credit for Prior Learning Policies

  • Students must complete a minimum of 25% of their coursework credits at Mitchell Tech to earn a degree, diploma, or certificate. Credits earned through any combination of transfer college credit or any type of prior learning may not exceed 75% of the program’s total requirements.
  • Academic credit may only be awarded for those courses directly applicable to curriculum requirements in the student’s declared certificate, diploma, or degree program as outlined in the Mitchell Tech catalog and website.
  • All credit awarded for prior learning will be given a grade of CR on the student’s academic record (transcript). Prior learning credits do not count toward a cumulative GPA at Mitchell Tech.
  • Academic credit may only be awarded for learning directly related to the course identified and publicized learning outcomes.
  • All work assessed for prior learning credit must meet a minimum proficiency for all of the course competencies.
  • Credits awarded for prior learning satisfy prerequisite requirements in the same manner that their course equivalencies do.
  • Students requesting credit for prior learning must be enrolled in a specific degree, diploma, or certificate program at Mitchell Tech.
  • All documentation, including portfolio materials, challenge examinations, or other materials utilized in the credit for prior learning process become property of, and are maintained, by Mitchell Tech. The documentation will become part of the student’s academic record.
  • The credit for prior learning process must be initiated by the student requesting credit.
  • A student may not request credit for prior learning past the add/drop date for a course in which they are currently enrolled.
  • A student may not request credit for prior learning for a course that they have audited.
  • Partial credit may be awarded if prior learning meets some, but not all, of the course learning outcomes. In such cases, students will be required to enroll in and complete the full course. However, tuition and fees will only be charged for the remaining credits not awarded through the credit for prior learning process.
  • To receive prior learning credit for Student Success (SSS100), a student must have

    1. completed any degree program, associates or higher, OR
    2. Served Active Duty in the military, OR
    3.  Have previously attended college and meet all the following criteria
    • GPA of 3.0 or higher at previous college
    • Completed a minimum of 12 credits
    • C or better in a “Freshman Experience” course
    • Coursework must be completed within the last 5 years
    • Courses must be taken after graduating from high school
  • Students may appeal the decision on awarding credit for prior learning. To appeal a decision regarding credit for prior learning, students should follow Mitchell Tech’s standard formal appeal process as outlined in Mitchell Tech Policy 1045 and Policy 1046.

Advanced Placement (AP) Examination

Advanced Placement Exams are administered primarily in the high schools. Mitchell Tech does not administer AP exams. However, credit may be awarded to students who achieve a minimum score on an AP exam. A credit type of PL will be used to transcribe credit earned through AP exams.

Students must provide proof of a minimum score on the AP test in the form of an official AP score report or ACE transcript.

Mitchell Tech does not charge fees to students for the credits they earn through AP exams.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Mitchell Tech does not administer the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). However, CLEP credits earned for courses may be accepted by Mitchell Tech. Before taking any CLEP examination, students should consult with their academic advisor and the registrar to assure transfer of the CLEP credit. A credit type of PL will be used to transcribe credit earned through CLEP exams.

Students must provide proof of a minimum score on the CLEP test in the form of an official CLEP score report or ACE transcript.

Mitchell Tech does not charge fees to students for the credits they earn through CLEP exams.

DSST/Prometric Exam

The nationally recognized DSST Program allows students to receive college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom. Information on taking DSST tests is available at http://getcollegecredit.com/test_takers/

A credit type of PL will be used to transcribe credit earned through DSST exams.

A DSST transcript may be requested online at www.getcollegecredit.com. Transcripts should be sent to Mitchell Technical College Registrar’s Office, 1800 E Spruce Street, Mitchell, SD 57301. Mitchell Tech does not charge fees to students for the credits they earn through DSST exams.

Professional Certifications

Mitchell Tech awards credit for professional certifications on a case-by-case basis. A credit type of PL will be used to transcribe credit earned for certifications. The registrar and department will determine specific credit awards. Mitchell Tech awards credit for prior learning if:

  • There is adequate proof of the certification and its currency.
  • The certification is equivalent to the learning outcomes in the appropriate Mitchell Tech course(s).

There is no fee to the student to receive credit for applicable certifications earned prior to attending Mitchell Tech.

Military Experience

You may receive credit for selected military training or experience. To do so, you must furnish Mitchell Tech with a copy of your Joint Services transcript or similar official documents. ACE has evaluated many courses and schools completed within military service. Mitchell Tech follows the credit recommendation of ACE found in the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services to award academic credit for these courses and schools. A credit type of PL (prior learning) will be used to transcribe credit earned for military training.

A student can receive prior learning credit for Student Success (SSS100) with proof of active duty service.

For Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard military experience, students should submit an online request at https://jst.doded.mil/smart/signIn.do to send Mitchell Tech a Joint Services transcript.

For Air Force experience, students should order an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force to be sent to Mitchell Tech. Order transcripts online at http://www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf/transcripts.asp#trans or call (334) 649-5000.

Mitchell Tech does not charge fees to students for the credits they earn through military experience.

American Council on Education (ACE)

Courses and programs offered through many organizations (AT&T, GE, AIB, Police Academy, etc.), including CLEP, AP, DSST, and military training, have been evaluated for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). Mitchell Tech accepts the recommended ACE credits when applicable to general education and technical courses offered at Mitchell Tech. A credit type of PL will be used to transcribe all credit transcribed from an ACE transcript.

If you have more than one type of prior learning (CLEP, AP, and military, for example), you may be able to save money by ordering a consolidated ACE transcript with all of your test scores.

To order an ACE transcript, see https://www2.acenet.edu/credit/?fuseaction=transcripts.main

Mitchell Tech does not charge fees to students for the credits they earn through ACE transcripts.

Established Mitchell Tech Tests for Credit

Students may be allowed to receive credit by taking an exam (“test out”) for specifically identified courses. Within the first ten days of class, an instructor will notify students if a test out option is available for the course. A Test for Credit Form is available in the Center for Student Success and must be filed in the CSS with a receipt documenting the test out fee paid to the Business Office prior to the student taking the test.

The non-refundable testing fee is $50 for up to three credits, plus $10 for each additional credit.

Students must score 80% or higher on the exam to receive credit for the course. A credit type of EX will be used to transcribe the credit earned from a test out and does not count toward a student’s cumulative GPA. A test out may not be repeated.

Students considering testing out of a class should check with Financial Aid to determine how the test out might affect financial aid or scholarship status.

Prerequisite Waiver

Depending on background or experience, you may be allowed to take some courses without first taking a prerequisite course. To take a course without first taking the prerequisite, you must obtain the approval of the head of the appropriate academic department.

Complete the Prerequisite Waiver Request Form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office. A $20 per course fee will be charged to apply for waiver of prerequisites not taken.

Individualized Prior Learning Portfolios

Credit for prior learning experience may also be awarded in some cases to students with verifiable work experience, including military experience and training, when no formal transcript, certification, or exam score is available. A portfolio may be submitted to demonstrate that your knowledge is equivalent to what you would have learned in a comparable Mitchell Tech course. The written component of the portfolio provides an opportunity for you to highlight your personal experience and to affirm that your skills and learning equate to the course you are challenging.

A prior learning portfolio is a detailed narrative and documentation illustrating college-level learning. The documentation provided will vary by course and may include samples of your work; awards and honors; employer letters of endorsement; certificates showing completion of workshops or seminars offered by business and industry; and any other relevant evidence of what you have learned. Preparation and content of the portfolio are the responsibility of the student and must be of sufficient breadth and depth to validate the student’s stated learning.

The portfolio must include the following sections:

  1. Course syllabus (available from the instructor or the registrar), including course description and learning objectives
  2. Credit for Prior Learning Portfolio Form signed by student and business office staff
  3. Academic Honesty Statement signed by student
  4. Current resumé
  5. Course specific prior learning narrative detailing your personal experience and learning that equates to the course learning objectives
  6. Documentation to demonstrate learning of course objectives (work samples, awards, employer letters, etc.)

Once the portfolio is submitted, it is evaluated to determine if the student has submitted sufficient documentation to demonstrate attainment and mastery of the specific course learning outcomes and/or technical competencies. A personal interview or hands-on demonstration of skills may be requested by the instructor as part of the evaluation.

More than one prior learning portfolio may be submitted by the student if more than one course is appropriate to their knowledge and skills.

A credit type of 'PL' will be used to transcribe credit earned through submitted portfolios.