What is P.L.A.R.?


What is PLAR

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (P.L.A.R.) recognizes an individual’s acquired skills and knowledge; no matter how, when or where the learning occurred. The person’s skills and knowledge are assessed against approved occupational standards. Full or partial qualification can be achieved, where necessary further training in specific areas are identified and addressed.

Prior learning assessment (PLA) is a process that involves the identification, documentation and assessment of learning acquired through formal, non-formal and informal learning. This may include work and life experience, training, independent study, volunteering, travel, hobbies, and family experiences.

Recognition (R) is the award of a trade/occupational and/or professional certification (TTNVQ or CVQ) PLAR can be used to demonstrate competencies in all three learning venues:- formal, non-formal & informal.

Formal learning
Refers to a learning activity that takes place in an organized way, that by its very nature leads to certification. This is assessment of educational documents

Non-formal learning 
Refers to organized activities that take place within or outside the workplace which are not explicitly identified as learning activities, and do not lead to qualifications or certification,but have a major learning component. (e.g. workplace training).

Informal learning 
Consists of learning activities that occur by chance or through everyday activities. e.g. reading, self-directed research, community and volunteer activities).

To apply for PLAR check http://ntatvetcentre.org 

Trinidad and Tobago is experiencing a demand for trained,  competent and certified workers.  The use of the PLAR system will make available to industries  certified workers who meet required occupational standards. Participants will be awarded the CVQ (Caribbean  Vocational Qualification) upon successful completion.

The Assessors will work with the National Training Agency to conduct the assessment of candidates.  The P.L.A.R. Assessors will: 

  •  Screen and orient candidates
  •  Assess candidates competence against required standards
  •  Make recommendations for certification

PLAR is used to identify and define a broader range of skills and knowledge,identify new career options and choices, and to help employers understand what you know and can do.


The Benefits of PLAR includes:

  • Formal ‘paper’ certification
  • Better job opportunities
  • Job reclassification/promotion
  • Reduced certification time, eliminates duplication of learning
  • Accommodates for working people
  • Validates learning gained through work and life experience

It could also help individuals;

- Identify education and training goals
- Identify personal strengths and interests
- Identify skills and knowledge gaps
- Make a personal education and training plan

The PLAR Assessment is Thorough, Transparent, Fair, and Flexible.

It uses the principles of sound and flexible assessment;

  • Clear learning outcomes/expectations
  • Technical requirements:
    • Validity – Does the evidence relate to the learning outcome?
    • Sufficiency - Is there enough evidence to provide conclusive proof?
    • Authenticity – Did the learner/individual produce the work?
    • Currency – Are knowledge and skills up to date?
    • Reliability - How consistent is the assessment outcome?
  • Systematic process

Examples of flexible assessment:

  • Projects, assignments, case studies
  • Product assessments
  • Essays, reports, diaries, logs, journals
  • Tests/examinations (written, oral)
  • Role playing
  • Skill demonstrations/performance assessments
  • Interviews, oral exams, panels, oral presentations
  • Portfolio review/evidence collection

There are three forms of evidence for PLAR; 

  • Direct Evidence – anything produced by the learner/individual
  • Indirect Evidence - information about the learner/individual from another source
  • Self-Assessment/Narrative – results of the learner/individual’s reflection on “what” they have learned and can do