Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

The PLAR process developed by a school board in compliance with ministry policy involves two components: challenge and equivalency.

  1. The challenge process is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document.
  2. The equivalency process involves the assessment of credentials from other jurisdictions.

PLAR for Regular Day School Students in Ontario:

Because young people benefit in many ways from the learning experiences offered in secondary school, PLAR has a specific, limited function in the Ontario secondary school program. For regular day school students, a maximum of 4 credits may be granted through the challenge process for Grade 10, 11, and 12 courses; or for Levels 1, 2, and 3 in classical languages courses; for Levels 2, 3, and 4 in international languages courses; and for Levels 3, 4, and 5 in Native languages courses. No more than 2 of these credits may be granted in one discipline.

PLAR for Home Schoolers and International Students:

For students who are transferring from home schooling, a non-inspected private school, or a school outside Ontario, principals will grant equivalency credits for placement purposes based on their evaluation of the student’s previous learning (see section 4.3.2 and Appendix 2 in OS).

PLAR for Mature Students:

A mature student is a student who is at least eighteen years of age on or before December 31 of the school year in which he or she registers in an Ontario secondary school program; who was not enrolled as a regular day school student for a period of at least one school year immediately preceding his or her registration in a secondary school program (for mature students, a school year is a period of no less than ten consecutive months immediately preceding the student’s return to school); and who is enrolled in a secondary program for the purpose of obtaining an OSSD.

Because of the broader life experience of mature students, the requirements concerning the application of PLAR procedures are different for them than for regular day school students. Principals will determine the number of credits, including compulsory credits, that a mature student needs in order to meet the credit requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). At the discretion of the principal, up to 16 Grade 9 and 10 equivalency credits may be granted to a mature student following an individual assessment.

Mature students may earn 10 of the 14 remaining Grade 11 and 12s needed to meet diploma requirements in three ways:

  • they may demonstrate achievement of the required secondary school curriculum expectations and receive credit through the challenge process
  • they may present education and/or training credentials for assessment through the equivalency process; or
  • they may take the course.

Mature students must earn a minimum of 4 Grade 11 and 12 credits by taking the course at a secondary school (or through any of the options outlined in section 10). Mature students who have previously accumulated 26 or more credits towards the diploma must successfully complete the required number of courses to bring their total number of credits up to 30 before they will be eligible to receive the OSSD. Mature students working towards the OSSD under OS/OSS must also satisfy the diploma requirements with regard to the provincial secondary school literacy requirement. Principals will determine the number of hours of community involvement activities that a mature student will have to complete (40 Hours).

Regular day school students who transfer to an Ontario secondary school from a school outside Ontario or from a non-inspected private school may be granted equivalent credits through the PLAR equivalency process for regular day school students based on the principal’s evaluation of their previous learning. The total number of equivalent credits and the corresponding number of compulsory credits are recorded on the OST. The equivalent credits should be entered as a total, and the required items of information should appear as follows: “Equivalent Credits” should be entered in the “Course Title” column; “PLE” in the “Course Code” column; “EQV” in the “Percentage Grade” column; the total number of credits in the “Credit” column; and the total number of compulsory credits in the “Compulsory” column.

Equivalent Credit Assessment

For regular day school students transferring from home-schooling, a non-inspected private school, or a school outside Ontario, the OES Principal will grant equivalency credits for placement purposes through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process. Determining equivalency involves the assessment of the student credentials from other jurisdictions, as shown on their transcripts and/or report cards.

The Principal of OES will determine the total credit equivalency, as well as the number of compulsory and optional credits remaining to be completed in accordance

with Ontario Schools, Appendix 2, Guide to Determining Diploma Requirements for Students Transferring into Ontario Secondary Schools.

If opted for, the fee for an equivalent credit assessment will be $150.

The Principal or staff of OES, who will determine if an equivalency (EQV) is granted under the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) procedures, will review the admission academic documents. PLAR is the formal evaluation and credit granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. Prior learning includes knowledge and skills that students have acquired in both formal and informal ways, in and outside of secondary school. This includes college, apprenticeships and work place experiences. PLAR is outlined in the document: , pg. 36-41, sec6.

  • The PLAR process involves two components: challenge and equivalency. OES offers the Equivalency portion. OES does not offer the Challenge opportunities for credit.
  • The Equivalency (EQV) portion of PLAR is the process and procedure the Principal uses to grant credits based on credentials from other non-Ontario jurisdictions for the process of awarding EQV credits. All EQV credits granted through the PLAR process must represent the same standards of achievement as have been established for students who have taken the comparative Ontario Secondary school courses/credits. Submissions should therefore not only include a transcript but also an English description and/or sometimes the Course Outline of each course of study. This may be requested prior to making an assessed decision.