Prior Learning and Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a formal evaluation and accreditation process. Students obtain credits towards the secondary school diploma (OSSD) for knowledge and skills that they have acquired outside of secondary school. This prior learning is evaluated to see if the student has met provincial course expectations. A student may “challenge” a specific course for credit or obtain credits through the “equivalency” process if they have credentials from schools outside Ontario.
How do I start?
All students and parents of students under 18 who want to challenge a course for credit must see the
PLAR Orientation Presentation. In it is a
form to indicate your interest to challenge a course for credit to the PLAR Challenge committee. It provides information on the challenge process including:
- Application package requirements
- Process of a completing a PLAR challenge
- Expectations of students, schools, and HDSB
- Reporting of results
- Appeal procedures
- Withdrawal policy
- Contact information
Once the form is completed, you will receive an email from the PLAR challenge committee with details about the PLAR process, timelines, and links to the application documentation.
In order to qualify as a challenge candidate:
Your answers need to be ‘NO’ to all questions below:
Have you earned a credit in the course you plan to challenge?
Have you earned a credit in a course similar to the one you plan to challenge? (ex: challenging for ENG 2D, when you have ENG 2P)?
Did you get this credit as part of a block of equivalency credits for the course you plan to challenge?
Did you fail the course you plan to challenge?
Did you already earn an English credit and plan to challenge an English as a second language (ESL), or Anglais pour debutants (APD)?
Did you already earn a French credit and plan to challenge French as a second language (FSL), or Actualization Linguistique en Francais (AFL), or Perfectionnement du Francais (PDF)?
Your answers need to be ‘YES’ to all questions below:
Do you plan to challenge the whole course for credit?
Have you met the prerequisite requirements for the course you plan to challenge?
Does a successful challenge for credit meet educational goals outlined in your Pathways plan?
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible to challenge a course for credit?
Secondary school students enrolled in a regular day school program in an Ontario secondary school can challenge a course for credit. Students who are 18 or older and who have been away from day school for one full year should go to the Gary Allan High School PLAR page for mature students.
What courses can I challenge for credit?
Students can challenge Grade 10, 11 or 12 courses found in a provincial policy document (1999 or later) and offered in the Halton District School Board.
How many courses can be challenged?
Students may earn up to 4 credits through the challenge process to a maximum of 2 credits in any 1 discipline.
Is parental permission needed to challenge for credit?
Students 18 and under must have parental approval before applying to challenge a course for credit.
Can I get a head start while waiting for my challenge confirmation?
Students begin by gathering evidence that demonstrates knowledge and skills acquired that are to do with the course being challenged.
Ontario Ministry of Education course information is in French and English. Course codes can be searched by subject or grade. Please read the overall and specific expectations for the course you are planning to challenge. If you have questions about where to find the curriculum, please see your school guidance department for support.
What are examples of evidence that demonstrated prior learning?
Reference letters from teachers or community leaders, certificates, sample assignments, original work samples, portfolio, program descriptions, courses or experiences are used to support your application. Specific information and evidence provided with the challenge application will assist the PLAR committee in determining whether reasonable evidence for success exists and whether the challenge should occur.
My PLAR challenge application was turned down, can I resubmit another PLAR challenge for the same course?
In the email you received stating the reasons why your challenge was not accepted. Please meet with your school guidance counsellor to discuss next steps.
Is there an appeal process?
If there is disagreement with the PLAR challenge committee or school about a whether a student should challenge for credit, the school area superintendent can review the matter.
Can I repeat a PLAR challenge if I was unsuccessful?
A student can re-submit a challenge for a course after a reasonable amount of time, if there is evidence of additional knowledge, skills, and experience.
How will I be evaluated?
Evaluation strategies are based on curriculum expectations and achievement charts in the Ontario curriculum policy. Your mark will be determined 70% term work and 30% final evaluation.
I have decided not to continue to pursue the PLAR challenge, is there a withdrawal policy?
To withdraw, please meet with your school guidance counsellor to discuss withdrawing. Once a decision has been made to withdraw, they will send the PLAR coordinator an email. A student may withdraw from the challenge process before the final test, without a notation on their Ontario Student Transcript (OST) or the Cumulative Tracking Record (CTR). Once students have entered the final test and withdraw, a mark for Grade 11 and 12 courses will be entered in the PLAR Cumulative Tracking Record.
Passing grades for Grade 10 are entered on OST similar to achievement in other courses without reference to PLAR.
Passing/failing grades for Grade 11 and 12 are entered in OST similar to achievement in other courses without reference to PLAR.
What must be included in the PLAR application package?
These items must be completed and submitted to School Programs through the Principal so it may be reviewed by the PLAR challenge committee:
What are the timelines for submitting a PLAR Challenge?
- 2nd Thursday of September: Intent to Challenge PLAR opens
- Last Thursday of April: Intent to Challenge PLAR closes
- 1st Thursday of May: PLAR Application Packages must be received
- First day of Exams: PLAR challenge must be complete
In order to facilitate Pathways Planning, appropriate timetabling, and to be responsive to student need, an intent to challenge a course for credit may be submitted at any time between the second Thursday of school in September and the last Thursday of April in any given school year. This is done by completing the form on the last slide of this presentation.
All challenges must be completed by June of the same school year. Specific dates will be shared by email if a PLAR challenge is approved.
For more information contact:
Contact your secondary school guidance department
Instructional Program Leader
905-631-6120, ext. 448