Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Candace Adams


Through prior learning assessment (PLA) programs, students' professional and life experiences are evaluated to determine if they equate to college program courses-removing the need for the student to complete traditional college courses to earn a postsecondary degree. The purpose of this study was to examine the perspectives of faculty at the study site on the academic preparedness of nontraditional students. Knowles' andragogy theory guided the research questions on the academic preparedness of students earning prior learning credits and what characteristics of PLA programs faculty believe contribute to the academic success of these students. Thirty-six participants completed a survey where they provided narratives that were coded to determine overarching themes. The findings of this case study suggested that faculty believed that nontraditional students who earned credits through PLA are independent, motivated, and knowledgeable, but whether or not they are academically prepared seemed to vary by academic program. The findings also suggested that, while PLA programs have limitations because of student perceptions that may conflict with reality and the limited usability of PLA across academic programs, PLA programs provide a time benefit to students by allowing a shorter time to degree. The study supports positive social change by providing a resource for future development and growth of PLA programs to expand student access and options in obtaining postsecondary credentials while also lowering postsecondary education cost.