A process by which individuals can claim and gain credit toward qualifications based on their prior learning and sometimes experience (often called experiential learning). Credit to be given where there is evidence that the experience or learning has resulted in the student achieving the appropriate and clearly expressed learning outcomes.

The legal basis in Mexico for recognition of non traditional individual prior learning is regulated by the ACUERDO NÚMERO 286, implementing the UNESCO Recommendations for Validation and Recognition of Prior Learning.

Universidad Azteca offers a number of assessment options that might be appropriate for students who have acquired college-level learning from prior study or experience. Universidad Azteca applies the university own standards, combining the following guidelines and frameworks: Acuerdo 286 (mentioned above), the French VAE: Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience, and the Irish HETAC Standards for PLA, countries allowing for the recognition of prior learning at all three academic levels including NVQ level 8.  

Degree requirements for the Master of Individual Studies: At least a professional qualification at level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework as entry requirement, plus an accepted portfolio validation of prior learning equal to 60 ECTS credits.


Earn credit through Portfolio Assessment

Portfolio assessment helps students define and demonstrate both their formal and informal learning in terms of college courses. Portfolio Assessment is a flexible, efficient way of earning college credits for what you have learned outside the classroom. Universidad Azteca has already helped applicants in earning credits based on their knowledge. Moreover, these credit awards are honored by our partner universities. Like all programmes offered by Universidad Azteca, Portfolio Assessment operates on the belief that college-level learning, no matter how it is gained, warrants credit. Therefore, nearly any area of learning can be converted into college credits as long as it is taught at a recognised or accredited college or university and you can prove your expertise in it. A portfolio is a compilation of data assembled in an approved format to demonstrate college-level knowledge for an award of credit. Often compiled like a notebook, each portfolio generally represents one course. The portfolio you submit to Universidad Azteca will serve as proof of your expertise and the value it has in the academic world. It can include knowledge or skills gained from a wide variety of sources, but these are some of the more common ones used for Portfolio Assessment:

  • Full or part-time jobs
  • independent reading and study
  • training programmes or in-service courses
  • volunteer work
  • cultural and artistic pursuits
  • hobbies and recreational pastimes
  • community or religious activities
  • military service
  • travel study
  • organization memberships

Putting your portfolio together is a simple, step-by-step process:

  1. Take inventory of your knowledge and skills.

Review your job history, hobbies, areas of study or special training, volunteer work and other activities noted above. Then make a list of all the areas of knowledge and skill you have acquired as a result of these experiences.

  1. Choose the areas for which you want to seek college credit.

Evaluate each area of your prior learning to determine which ones to select for Portfolio Assessment. Your decision about each subject area should be based on two factors: whether you can prove that your knowledge is equivalent to a college-level course and whether you need college credits in that subject. If you have partial knowledge of a subject, and wish to acquire more, the Portfolio Study option may be right for you.

  1. Find course descriptions to match your learning.

For each subject you have chosen, search a university course database to locate a description which best reflects your knowledge. Search through catalogues from accredited colleges and universities. The catalogue entries you select must represent courses taught in credit hours at accredited colleges or universities. Please note that if you select a course description from another institution’s catalogue, there is no guarantee that it will be assigned the same or a similar number by Universidad Azteca. With the exception of medicine and veterinary medicine, any college-level subject is eligible for Portfolio Assessment.

  1. Provide evidence of your knowledge.

Assemble a package of material that documents your knowledge of the subject. This may include samples of your work, a resume, notes taken in training courses, transcripts, an annotated bibliography, letters of verification from employers or others who have first-hand knowledge of your abilities, or any other material that offers proof. If solid evidence is lacking, you may request an examination. Exams are available on a limited basis and may be oral or written, depending on the subject matter or requirements of the faculty consultant.

The first stage in the assessment process is the determination of whether the learning has already been evaluated as part of an assessment of prior learning programme. If it is determined that credit has already been so evaluated, applicable credit is awarded based on the prior evaluations of the corresponding evaluators and no individual assessment is conducted. Universidad Azteca accepts any official validation of prior learning conducted in accordance with the laws of the country where the validation was issued, particularly the European Validation Framework, Canadian, Australian, US (California Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) Manual; Excelsior College Flexible Assessment; Thomas Edison State College Assessment of Prior Learning Handbook; Empire State College Credit by Evaluation; Ohio State University Portfolio Assessment; Charter Oak State College Portfolio Assessment), and similar standards based on CAEL recommendations are accepted.

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training is a non-profit association dedicated to quality continuing education and training programs. IACET authorizes education providers that meet strict continuing education guidelines created in 1968. IACET certification is the standard learners seek for quality. IACET’s Criteria and Guidelines are the core of thousands of educational programs worldwide. Universidad Azteca accepts IACET Continuous Education Units CEU´s. 


  1. Describe what you know and how you learned it.

Write a narrative that outlines your learning, explains how your knowledge was acquired and introduces the materials you are providing as evidence. This statement, which may be anywhere from three to ten pages in length depending on the type of course involved, is your forum for persuading the faculty consultant that you have accumulated enough knowledge to warrant credit for the subject. Portfolio advisors encourage students to submit a rough draft of the narrative, prior to final submission, so they can review it and provide useful advice.

  1. Put it all together.

After you have selected a course description, written an appropriate narrative and collected sufficient evidence to prove your knowledge to the faculty consultant, your portfolio is complete and ready for packaging. Each subject must be packaged in a separate folder or binder, since not all of your courses may be reviewed by the same faculty consultant. The exceptions are courses which are closely related, such as Social Science I and II. Foreign language courses in the same language, regardless of the number of credits represented, are packaged as one, single portfolio. The Portfolio Cover Sheet with the course description should be placed at the front of your portfolio, followed by the narrative and, finally, your evidence. A table of contents is required. If you are uncertain as to whether your courses are closely linked enough to be packaged together, check with a portfolio advisor.

All information in your portfolio should be typewritten and double spaced. Each page should be numbered. The materials in your portfolio should be arranged in the following sequence:

  • Portfolio Cover Sheet with a clear photocopy of the course description taped to the space provided on the form
  • Table of Contents listing all items included in the portfolio
  • Narrative written clearly and grammatically correct
  • Evidence organized in the sequence in which it is mentioned in the narrative and preferably numbered or otherwise labeled.
  1. Submit the portfolio.

Your portfolio should then be mailed to your portfolio advisor. He/she will review it and, if it appears to be complete, will forward it to a faculty consultant for assessment.

Once it is submitted, the portfolio will be considered an academic record which belongs to Universidad Azteca. At that point, it cannot be returned to you. Therefore, be sure to keep a copy of each item in the portfolio for your own records, and do not send any original documents which you may need in the future.

The Assessment of Your Portfolio

Each portfolio is assessed by a faculty consultant who has expertise in that particular subject. The faculty consultant will determine whether or not your knowledge of the subject is equal to a college-level grade of “pass” or better. If so, then he/she will recommend that you receive credit. You will not receive a letter grade. If your knowledge is judged to be insufficient, the faculty consultant will recommend that credit be denied. If the faculty consultant decides that more information is needed in order to make a determination, you may be asked to submit additional evidence, take an examination or be interviewed. The latter practices are often used in cases where students have acquired knowledge of a subject that cannot be documented.

There is no limit to the number of credits you may earn through portfolio assessment.

It is possible that students earn enough portfolio credits to meet their degree requirements.