Listening Topic: Education – Conversation about college credit for life experience


1. Listen to a radio commercial for a college. What will Westside College give you credit for?

2. Listen to the conversation about the commercial. Check the three topics that Ben and Mona mention. Do they have the same opinion on the subject?

___ a   Ways to evaluate life experience

___ b   Standards for testing and evaluation

___ c   Kinds of teachers in college

___ d   Discipline needed to attend college

___ e   College sports

B. Listen to the commercial and the conversation again. For each item, write T for true or F for false in the bank. Correct the false statements. Listen again if necessary.

 Westside College has three different methods to evaluate previous learning and experience.

 Ben says schools have different systems to evaluate previous learning.

 Both Ben and Mona are worried that students could falsify documentation of previous learning.

 Mona thinks it could be difficult to evaluate extremely different experiences.

 Ben feels that the standards for evaluation in college are not completely objective.

 Mona feels that life experience takes more discipline than going to college.

 Ben says that he started learning more after he finished college.

 Ben is thinking about going back to college.




Life experience


a ✓   b ✓   d

Ben and Mona do not have the same opinion.


1 F   2 T   3 F   4 T   5 T   6 F   7 T   8 F


Part 1

Do you want to learn something new and improve your job possibilities? Are you looking for a degree program that will recognize all your unique life experience? Consider Westside College. We design programs around your busy life, and, more importantly, give you credit for your life experience, because you shouldn’t have to waste precious time and money in unnecessary classes. We’ll use our “Life and Learning Assessment” to evaluate your experience. Based on this assessment, we’ll be able to see how you can apply you experience to the requirements for your course of study. Call today and make an appointment to meet with one of our advisors. You won’t regret it. Our number is …

Part 2

A = Mona, B = Ben

A:   Do they really do that now?

B:   What?

A:   Give you credit in college for life experience?

B:   Yes, they do. Not all colleges and universities do, of course, but more and more are starting to do it. I think it makes a lot of sense.

A:   Really?

B:   Yes, don’t you?

A:   Well, maybe, but I think there are a lot of issues around it. For example, how can they really evaluate your life experience?

B:   Like they said, they have an assessment. I think there are different ways they assess. Students often have to take a test to prove they have a certain level of knowledge. Some places also use something like a portfolio of previous learning. That’s something that a student has to put together with examples and documentation to show that he or she has learned certain things.

A:   But couldn’t something like that be falsified. It seems like it would be pretty easy to make some things up.

B:   Maybe, but I don’t think it’s as easy as you’d think. My aunt works at the community college. They accept life experience for credit, and she says that they’re really strict in deciding who gets credit. The students have to put a lot into these portfolios of previous learning. It seems like it would be a lot of work to falsify something like that. It could be almost as much work as doing the class!

A:   I don’t agree. It seems so subjective. How can you compare and evaluate different experiences. For example, what if one person has lots of work experience in computer programming and another person has a lot of experience in taking care of little children? Could you get credit for both experiences? And if so, would you get the same amount of credit, or what?

B:   Well, I doubt that two people like that would be trying to get the same amount of credit in exactly the same situation. You know, the standards for testing and evaluation for regular courses aren’t completely objective either. There is always some level of subjectivity when teachers mark and give grades and things like that.

A:   Yes, but the system itself is pretty objective. And it just seems a little unfair. It takes discipline to go to college. You have to attend, do the work, take exams, and pass classes in order to get credit – and then some people get around that will “life experience”? It seems like an easy way out to me.

B:   I don’t know. Think about how many people say they didn’t really learn anything in college. For many people, college is mainly social, and then they really start learning after they graduate from college. That was certainly true for me. And, if you have to consider that people who enroll in college later in life are in a different situation, they’ve often had a lot of work experience and they usually don’t have time to take every class from the beginning. That doesn’t seem fair.

A:   I see your point, but it still seems vague and subjective to evaluate something like life experience and then give credit.

B:   Well, I guess it’s a good thing neither one of us is considering going back to college.

A:   Yes, you’re probably right!

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