The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) policy allows mature students to use their skills and knowledge acquired outside of school toward Ontario Secondary School Diploma credits.
The number and specific credits that a student may be granted is determined through formal testing and a demonstration of skills related to provincial course expectations.
In order to be eligible for PLAR, students must:
- Be at least 18 years of age or older
- Be out of high school for at least one year
- Be enrolled in a secondary school program
Equivalency Process (Grade 9 and 10 Credits)
The “equivalency” process for mature students involves (1) individual assessment3 for the purpose of granting Grade 9 or 10 credits, and/or (2) assessment of credentials and other appropriate documentation from jurisdictions within and outside Ontario for the purpose of granting credit for a Grade 11 or 12 course developed from an Ontario curriculum policy document published in 2000 or later.
Up to 16 Grade 9 and 10 credits may be granted to a mature student at the discretion of the principal following individual assessment. These Grade 9 and 10 credits must meet the diploma requirements that would usually be met through successful completion of the Grade 9 and 10 program.
Each mature student who does not have transcripts indicating successful completion of the first two years of secondary school in the Ontario education system – or in an education system outside Ontario or Canada that is comparable to the Ontario system – will be required to successfully complete an individual assessment before being granted any Grade 9 and 10 credits. This will consist of assessment in English, mathematics, science, and Canadian history and Canadian geography. The principal may grant up to 4 Grade 9 and 10 credits for demonstrated achievement in each of these 4 subject areas. If the principal grants fewer than 4 credits for any of these subject areas, he or she will determine how the student will obtain the remaining credits.
Challenge Process (Grade 11 and 12 Credits)
The “challenge” process for mature students is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a Grade 11 or 12 course developed from an Ontario curriculum policy document published in 2000 or later.
Mature students may challenge for credit for up to 10 Grade 11 and 12 courses in provincial curriculum policy documents. However, they may obtain no more than 10 Grade 11 and 12 credits through the challenge and equivalency processes combined.
A student cannot be granted credits through the challenge process for any of the following courses:
- a course previously failed
- a course for which the student has already earned a credit but for which he or she wishes to improve the mark
- a course in any subject if a credit has already been granted for a course in that subject in a later grade
- a course for which there is significant overlap with a course for which credit has been granted
- a transfer course
- a locally developed course
- a cooperative education course
- a course in English as a second language (ESL), English literacy development (ELD), or Anglais pour débutants (APD), if the student has one or more credits in English from the curriculum policy documents for English for Grades 9 to 12 under OSS (i.e., the documents for English-language schools or the documents for French-language schools) or from the curriculum guidelines for English or Anglais/English for Grades 9 to 12/OACs under OSIS
- a course in French as a second language (FSL), Actualisation linguistique en français (ALF), or Perfectionnement du français (PDF), if the student has one or more credits in Français from the curriculum policy documents for Français for Grades 9 to 12 under OSS or the curriculum guideline for Français for Grades 9 to 12/OACs under OSIS
- the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course
A student will be permitted to challenge for credit for a specific course a second time after a reasonable interval, if the student can provide reasonable evidence to the principal that he or she is likely to be successful after having benefited from additional study and experience during the interval.
For more information regarding Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition for Mature Students, click here.