Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition - PLAR
Is your incomplete high school education holding you back?
You're closer to graduating than you think!
The Greater Essex County District School Board has the power to grant secondary school credits for learning and skills you have acquired at home, at work, in training programs, and volunteer work.
You can get your Ontario Secondary School Diploma in as little as six months.
Contact us and ask about PLAR for Mature Students.
We'll help you map out your unique path to high school graduation, and beyond.
PLAR for Mature Students - Where your life experiences count.
1. Who is Eligible for PLAR?
The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition for Mature Student process, or PLAR for short, is a formal evaluation and credit granting process. The school principal or a designate will determine if a student is eligible to apply for PLAR, during the student intake or registration process. A 'designate' is usually a guidance counsellor or program coordinator.
First, the principal or a designate would determine if the student meets the 'Mature Student' definition, as outlined by Policy and Program Memorandum No. 132: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition for Mature Students: Implementation in Ontario Schools.
- A Mature Student is at least eighteen years of age on or before December 31st of the school year in which he or she registers in an Ontario secondary school program
- A Mature Student must not have been enrolled as a regular day school student for a period of at least one school year immediately preceding his or her registration in a secondary program
- And, the student must be enrolled in a secondary program for the purpose of obtaining an OSSD.
Taking a course through Continuing Education day school, e-learning, correspondence, night school, or summer school is not considered "regular day school". The Ministry of Education considers 1 year being equal to 10 consecutive months. If the student meets the 'Mature Student' definition, set the Mature Student “Flag” in the student information system.
If the student is deemed to be a Mature Student, and, has fewer than 26 credits then the student is eligible for the PLAR process
- if the student has never attended high school in Ontario, or
- if the student attended high school in Ontario in 1999 or later
If the student is deemed to be a Mature Student, has fewer than 26 credits, and attended high school in Ontario prior to 1999, they may choose to apply for
- PLAR for Mature Students or
- Opt for the Mature Credit Assessment.
Further considerations for advising these HS1 and OSIS students in selecting the best maturity assessment process, are addressed in the video entitled "Maturity Credits vs. PLAR".
2. Maturity Credit vs PLAR
Maturity Credits vs PLAR: Advising PLAR-eligible students who attended high school before September 1999. PPM 132 allows students who are eligible for HS1 or OSIS diploma requirements (and the accompanying mature student policy) to choose to have their prior learning assessed under PLAR for Mature Students. The most important consideration is the student's individual academic pathway plan which takes into account any diagnostic assessments completed during the intake process.
For students working towards the HS1 or OSIS diploma requirements, it is also important to determine how many equivalent credits might be granted through the ‘Equivalency Standing for Mature Student Process', and how many equivalent credits the student is likely to earn through PLAR for Mature Student process. If the student can be brought to within their final four credits using the older maturity assessment process, the student may be counselled to continue working towards their original diploma requirements.
However, PLAR may be a consideration if the HS1 or OSIS student cannot be brought to within their final four credits using the Equivalent Standing for Mature Student Process. Students, who opt for PLAR must fulfill OSS diploma requirements to qualify for an OSSD, including the completion of the literacy requirement and the community involvement hours.
In review, when counselling a student's choice to have their prior learning assessed under PLAR for mature students rather than the older maturity credit assessment process, the counsellor should consider:
- The student's individual academic pathway plan;
- Whether the student will be able to successfully complete the more prescriptive set of compulsory credits associated with PLAR;
- Whether the student will qualify for more equivalent credits under PLAR compared to OSIS/HS1 equivalent credit opportunities;
- Will the student be likely to pass the literacy test or be able to take the literacy course in a timely fashion; And
- Will the student be likely to complete the required community involvement hours along with their remaining credits?
The decision to have prior learning assessed using the PLAR process rather than the Equivalency Standing for Mature Student Process, does not have to be made upon intake. The student may defer this decision indefinitely. The decision though should be made sooner than later since diploma requirements impact course selection. It may be helpful to confer with the student's teacher to ascertain their level of literacy, after some course work has been completed, to help the student make the right decision.