Provost Office Special Initiatives

MSU Program on Credit by Assessment Incentive (CBA)

Overview, Application, and Development

The Provost Office is providing a new incentive program to encourage departments to offer academic credit for existing courses through assessment and to support the revision of existing assessments that are used to award course credit. The overall goal of the program is to expand the number of courses that can be completed through assessment and to support departments on an ongoing basis for their participation in credit by assessment (CBA). During 2015–16, and again in 2016–17, up to six departments may be funded for developing an assessment.

Departments are eligible to receive $2,400 from the Provost’s Office for developing a CBA procedure whereby students demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes and receive credit for a specified course. Departments currently utilizing a CBA procedure that wish to review and update their process are eligible for the same level of funding.

A common fee of $100 will be charged to students for taking an assessment. These fees will be allocated to the departments (or possibly other units involved such as the Assessment Center, Registrar, etc.) and are intended to ensure the sustainability of CBA procedures by supporting faculty who do the work of administering the actual assessment of students seeking credit by assessment.

All credit hours awarded through CBA procedures will be credited to the relevant department. If no mechanism exists to capture credits awarded through CBA procedures, the Provost’s Office will work with the Registrar and Institutional Research to develop processes to ensure they are included in departmental student credit hour reports (i.e. in Bear Intelligence reports, the AIM Dashboard, etc.). 

Visit the Prior Learning Assessment website for more information.

General Guidelines

  • Departments do not require curricular approval to offer existing or new courses for credit by assessment; they already have this authority.
  • Priority for support under this pilot CBA program will be given to higher demand General Education courses and be contingent on available funding.
  • Departments do not have to apply for the Provost’s $2,400 incentive in order to develop new credit by assessment procedures or to revise an existing credit by assessment mechanism; they may develop and implement CBA procedures on their own.
  • Departments may receive ongoing per-student CBA fees and any associated credit hours whether or not they submit proposals to develop or revise CBA policies.

CBA Application and Development Process

  1. To develop or revise CBA procedures, departments should follow these steps:
  2. Departmental faculty identify a course for which a CBA procedure would benefit students and the department.
  3. The department completes and submits a Credit by Assessment Incentive Proposal.
  4. The proposal is reviewed by the Credit by Assessment Committee, which is appointed by the Provost. Upon approval of the CBA procedure, the department receives half of the incentive funding and begins to develop or review the CBA procedure.
  5. After 12 months, the department submits a brief report detailing the results of the steps outlined in the proposal and the readiness or use of the CBA plan.
  6. The department receives the second half of the incentive funding.
  7. Send the completed application to It will be forwarded to the committee for consideration.

Download Credit by Assessment Proposal Form

Preparing the Completion Report

Within 12 months of the approval of a proposal, a department must submit a final completion report to the Office of the Provost. The report should document the work that was done to develop a new credit by assessment course or to revise an existing credit by assessment procedure.

It must contain a copy of all material necessary to implement and administer the CBA plan, including all relevant assessment instruments or measures that have been or will be used, materials (if any) that have been or will be made available to students for assessment preparation, and a finalized description of how the assessment has been or will be administered by the department. If students have already taken advantage of using the CBA process that the department developed, the report should make note of the outcomes.

Evaluation of Departmental Proposals

A committee appointed by the Provost will evaluate proposal incentive forms in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Impact/Benefit – the proposed CBA assessment procedure has the potential to benefit a large number of students.
  • Relevance/Need – the proposed CBA procedure targets SLOs that are commonly acquired through extra-institutional learning (e.g., life or professional experience, military service, open online courses, etc.) and that CBA does not violate any relevant accreditation standards.
  • Assessment Plan – the department has documented a viable plan for administering the assessment, evaluating the results, notifying students of scores, and awarding credit.
    • Instrument Quality – the assessment mechanism proposed by the department is a valid and reliable means of assessing mastery of the course SLOs.
    • Administration, Scoring, Notification – the plan contains specific information about who will administer, proctor, and score the results. Information regarding site of assessment, frequency of administration, and sustainability are included.
    • Awarding Credit – plan indicates type of award (credit or waiver) and outlines procedures for following MSU processes with registrar, Banner, etc.
  • Responsible Personnel – the application specifies who will work on the project, timeline for completion, and steps for review and renewal.
  • Marketing and Communication Plan – the department describes how it intends to market and publicize the proposed CBA. Information for potential students including eligibility requirements or other prerequisites, whether assessment preparation materials are available, etc.
  • Funding Use – the department has identified appropriate uses of the requested incentive funding.
  • Approvals – the department has secured the support and approval of the department head and college dean.