Todd Siben By Todd Siben • October 7, 2014

Portfolio Assessment: How to Find Your Ideal Match

What’s the most important aspect of portfolio assessment? Is it earning credit for the college-level knowledge you already possess? Is it the ability to articulate that knowledge?  Or, is it your ability to strengthen your portfolio with convincing evidence of prior learning?

To be honest, every one of those are important. However, the entire portfolio assessment process starts with the identification and selection of a course title and description that truly matches and describes the knowledge you claim to have. If you’re able to do this, writing your portfolio becomes much easier when you discuss what you already know.

On the other hand, if your knowledge and background don’t match well with the description you’ve chosen, your portfolio might seem impossible. Here are some popular examples that will help you decode the PLA process and discover your best course match:

Principles of Management (MAN-301) vs. Principles of Supervision (MAN-201)

If you have a background only in supervision, and by coincidence have the title of “manager,” you might be better served looking at the Principles of Supervision DSST exam doc_pdf and comparing it to the Principles of Management CLEP exam before deciding which to pursue. Supervision is just one of a number of major topics covered under the concept of “management.”

Principles of Management (MAN-301) vs. Managing People at Work (MAN-307)

The Principles of Management course is more theoretical in content, and focuses more on “what is” a subject as opposed to answering “how to” a subject. If you’re well-read on management and management theory, perhaps Principles of Management (MAN-301) is a good match for you. Otherwise, if you have more hands-on experience, consider Managing People at Work (MAN-307) if you feel your knowledge is applied in the workplace but lacks a strong theoretical foundation.

Hospitality Management vs. Hospital Management and Administration

To clarify, because there has been some confusion on the subject, it bears mentioning that Hospitality Management is the study of hotels, restaurants and related topics. Often degrees in this area are referred to as “LRT” (lodging, restaurants and tourism). Students sometimes confuse this area of study with a completely different one: Hospital Management or Hospital Administration.

Portfolio assessment programs emphasize that the credit you can earn is not based on your experience but on the knowledge that came as a result of your experience! More So, on a certain level, this is credit for who you have become. It’s related to how you talk about yourself when you converse with someone, and it’s embedded in your personality. It’s verifiable experience that you can articulate at any time to anyone with complete confidence.

If you are still debating whether your managerial knowledge translates to credits, the Prior Learning Assessment Course Description Database takes a closer look at course descriptions that may fit under your area of expertise. Or, determine whether you can earn credit for what you already know with our PLA Self-Assessment Guide.

If this sounds like you, and you have more questions, you can contact me via email at

Todd Siben

Written by Todd Siben

Todd Siben is the former assistant director of the Office of Prior Learning Assessment and has been with the University for 28 years in a variety of roles. He earned a master's degree from Teachers College of Columbia University and a bachelor's degree from Ramapo College. He is a tireless student advocate and passionate about providing students with the best opportunities for degree completion. He is an author and presenter on many topics related to prior learning assessment and degree completion for adults. He has had a long and successful career as an ice hockey coach and now prefers watching ice hockey (Go New York Rangers!) and playing the piano or guitar.

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