Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a formal process of evaluation and accreditation which allows students to earn high school credits. Prior learning is knowledge and skills that a student has acquired outside the traditional classroom. These learning experiences may meet the expectations and/or outcomes for a credit as outlined in the curriculum. Current Ontario secondary school students may challenge certain credits.

How PLAR Works
PLAR for mature students video
Mature students
 Definition of a Mature Student

A mature student is defined as a student who is turning 18 years of age or older in the current school year.

Adults who return to earn secondary school credits toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma may have their previous education and life experience evaluated. Depending on their age and where they received their original education the evaluation would be completed as either a Mature Student Evaluation (MSE) or a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).

Mature Student Evaluation (MSE) 
If the student was enrolled in an Ontario secondary school before September 1999, he/she is eligible to receive maturity credits to recognize life and work experiences up to a maximum of 12 credits. These credits are granted after the student has completed at least one credit as a mature student and has arranged for an evaluation appointment. The number of maturity credits granted is based on the student's age and ​number of years out of school after the age of 18.
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) 
If the student entered an Ontario secondary school in September 1999 or later, under new curriculum and diploma guidelines, or if the student is from out-of-province and was not registered in an Ontario secondary school by February 2004, when the student returns to school as a mature student he/she will be evaluated under the PLAR process. This process involves the opportunity to write grade 9/10 Assessments to earn up to 16 grade 9/10 credits as well as the opportunity to present documentation of education, training, work and life experiences that meet Ontario curriculum expectations for grade 11 and 12 credits.   

Students must earn a Grade 11 and 12 credit in English and a Senior Math to be eligible for an Ontario diploma.  The Ontario Literacy Requirement and Community Hours requirement apply to mature students under PLAR.​ 
Secondary students 

Students interested in obtaining credits through the PLAR Challenge Process, and who are currently registered in Durham School Board secondary schools should seek information from the Guidance department of their home school. After meeting with the home school counsellor, if students wish to proceed with the PLAR Challenge Process they can:

  • Attend a Challenge Orientation Appointment at the Credential Centre, 120 Centre St. South, Oshawa by calling Durham Continuing Education at 905-436-3211
  • Complete a Challenge Application package as directed at the orientation appointment and meet all deadlines
  • Proceed with the Challenge if approved