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 January 7, 2000 Volume 7, Number 8


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Viewpoint

Symposium focuses attention on Prior Learning and Assessment

By Eileen Herteis


On Oct. 29 and 30, 115 participants attended a provincial Symposium on Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) at Saskatoon's Centennial Auditorium.

"Building Capacity for PLAR in Saskatchewan" brought together a broad spectrum of stakeholders interested in the assessment and recognition of prior learning: faculty and administrators from the two provincial universities; teachers from SIAST (Sask. Institute of Applied Science and Technology) and the regional colleges; representatives from government, labor, the professions and community organizations; and representatives from other western Canadian universities.

The symposium began with "learners' voices": 12 panelists representing the accomplished, committed learners who want Saskatchewan universities to fairly and rigorously assess and recognize their learning through PLAR.

Presentations from the 10 ongoing PLAR pilot projects were also featured. Six projects are from the U of S: Agriculture, Commerce, Dietetics, Education, Nursing, and St. Thomas More College; four are from the U of Regina: Administration, ESL Centre, Police Studies, and Social Work.

Participants also engaged in lively discussion about some of the issues surrounding the acceptance and implementation of PLAR in Saskatchewan – such as assessment, access, and the establishment of a provincial PLAR centre.

The symposium was the culmination of the Saskatchewan Universities PLAR Project, a two-year study begun in October, 1997. At that time, the U of R and U of S jointly received a grant to investigate the implementation of PLAR at the university level. Dr. Angie Wong from the U of S Extension Division was named the lead investigator.

The discussions and presentations from the symposium are being summarized for inclusion on the Saskatchewan Universities PLAR Project website. For information visit: www.extension.usask.ca/go/PLAR

Eileen Herteis is Admin/Research Assistant in the PLAR Office, Extension Division


From left, PLAR Symposium Co-ordinator Angie Wong visits at the meeting’s opening with U of R Vice-Pres. (Academic) Katherine Heinrich and U of S Vice-Pres. (Academic) Michael Atkinson.

Photo courtesy of Eileen Herteis



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