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Greater Essex County District School Board
Building Tomorrow Together
Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition - PLAR

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PLAR - Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition - 

Secondary School Challenge for Credit Process

Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired outside secondary school. Students enrolled in a regular day school program in Ontario secondary schools may have their knowledge and skills evaluated against the expectations outlined in the provincial curriculum documents in order to earn credits toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Students are responsible for initiating the challenge process and for satisfying all of the requirements. Students who are not adults (i.e., students who are under the age of 18) need parental approval before applying to challenge a course for credit. 

Preparing for the Challenge Process

  • make an appointment with your guidance counsellor
  • review the curriculum document 
  • review the expectations on the Ministry website  (
  • gather evidence of successful learning in support of your application (e.g., portfolio, certificates, original work samples, reference letters from teachers who can endorse subject competency)
  • prepare your rationale for the challenge


  • discuss your rationale  with your parents/guardians, guidance counsellor and principal 
  • decide, together, whether to proceed with the PLAR challenge        
  • students may challenge for credit only if they can provide reasonable evidence to the principal that they would likely be successful  

What Courses Can Be Challenged?

  • only grade 10, 11 and 12 courses as outlined in provincial curriculum documents
  • only courses that have not been attempted or completed previously 
  • only courses that are currently offered by the Greater Essex County District School Board
  • students may earn no more than 4 credits through the challenge process, including a maximum of 2 credits in any one discipline
  • parental permission must be granted if the student is under the age of 18

What Courses Cannot Be Challenged?

  • ​​courses in which you have already been granted a credit
  • similar courses in which you have already been granted a credit
  • transfer courses
  • locally-developed courses
  • co-operative education courses
  • ESL/ELD courses, if you have a secondary school English credit
  • Core French, if you have a secondary school francais credit


  • ​​a student may withdraw from the challenge process prior to final formal evaluation without a notation on the student's Ontario Student Transcript

Assessment and Evaluation

  • ​​a percentage grade will be determined for the student (70% from formal tests, 30% from a variety of other assessment strategies appropriate to the particular course)
  •  assessments, which may be in-person or virtual, may consist of written tests, portfolios, oral examinations, panel interviews, simulations, oral presentations, case studies, task demonstrations, observations, conversations and product assessments


  • ​​​the percentage grade of successful challenges of any Grade 10 credit will be recorded on the Ontario Student Transcript
  • the percentage grade of successful and unsuccessful challenges of any Grade 11 and 12 credit will be recorded on the Ontario Student Transcript (full disclosure)     

Here is the PLAR Challenge for Credit Tracking Record (filed in the student's OSR - Ontario Student Record):

Record for the OSR​

Please review the Greater Essex County District School Board's Policy and Regulations for PLAR here:

For questions about PLAR for current secondary school students, please contact the Teacher Consultant for Guidance and Student Success: Natalie Middleton Bondy, [email protected]