Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

James Sottile

Second Advisor

Teresa Eagle

Third Advisor

Ronald Childress

Fourth Advisor

Steven Banks

Fifth Advisor

Steven L. Brown


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of prior learning assessment (PLA) in postsecondary degree completion for adult community college students at Mountwest Community and Technical College (MCTC). The study group consisted of 339 MCTC graduates, who applied PLA credits toward degree completion between the academic year 2006 and 2011. A comparison group was comprised of 321 MCTC graduates from the same time period, who did not apply PLA toward degree completion. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis found statistically significant relationships between time to degree completion and the application of PLA from military credits and institutional or state credit evaluations, but did not find statistically significant relationships between time to degree completion and standardized examination. Too few participants were identified from graduates applying PLA from portfolio and ACE evaluated corporate training for accurate analysis. In addition, statistically significant relationships were found between application of PLA credits and age at admission and the application of PLA and biological sex, but no significant relationship was found between the application of PLA and race/ethnicity. This study generated a profile of the categories of PLA most frequently used at MCTC, as well as the student characteristics that correlated with successful degree completion through the application of PLA. Results may be used to develop new administrative policies and procedures that guide advisors, faculty and staff in recruiting and retaining adult students.


Adult education.

Community college students.