Recognition or Accreditation of Prior Learning
CONTENTS
1
Introduction
2
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2.7
Terminology
Specific Credit
General Credit
Types of RPL
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Panel
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS)
National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC)
3
Advanced Standing
How Advanced Standing works…
4
Recognition of Prior Credited Learning (RPCL)
How RPCL works…
5
Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)
How APEL works….
Appendix 1 - RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING (RPL) PANEL
1
2
3
4
5
Purpose
Function
Frequency of the RPL Panel
Membership
Process for outcomes of the Panel
Appendix 2 – Forms
Advanced Standing (RPL-AS)
Recognition of Prior Credited Learning (RPL – RPCL)
Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (RPL-APEL)
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1
Introduction - Recognition or Accreditation of Prior Learning
The Recognition or Accreditation of Prior Learning encompasses the whole process whereby you can identify,
explore and claim credit for previous certificated and/or experiential learning.
Whether your prior learning has been given credit by another academic institution in the UK or overseas or
whether it is learning that has not previously accredited but which you have gained through experience, it may
be possible to use this toward your qualification at QMU. In order to ensure parity when considering credit for
prior learning, QMU follows the policy below.
2
Terminology
2.1
Specific Credit is credit which is recognised or awarded, specifically matched against a core module or
modules of a programme. Specific credit is used where a professional body or a QMU validation document
require specific criteria to be met and evidenced as being met for a student to gain accreditation with that
professional body or for a specific award.
2.2
General Credit is the term for credit points recognised or awarded at a particular level but not matched
to specific module outcomes. This would usually be where direct entry through advanced standing is granted
or where there are optional modules as part of the programme structure. General credit does grant exemption
from specific modules but not on the basis of directly matching prior credit to those modules.
2.3
Types of RPL
Advanced Standing: Credited learning or experiential learning which allows entry to a programme at a later
point than the usual admissions point (e.g. directly into level 2 of an undergraduate programme or directly to
the research methods and dissertation modules of a Masters degree where a student has a PG Diploma).
Recognition of Prior Credited Learning: a process by which we can recognise credit or a qualification which
has been awarded by another educational body.
Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning: a process by which we can assess and then award credit for
learning gained through experience which has not been previously given academic recognition.
2.4
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Panel
The RPL Panel has overarching responsibility for the recognition and accreditation of prior learning. Much of
the work of the Panel is devolved to Programme Leaders as the experts in their programme, but the assurance
of equity rests with the RPL Panel. The membership, function and process of the Panel are set out later in this
document.
The following credit frameworks are a useful way to enable universities and other educational bodies to
understand the equivalence of qualifications:
2.5
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
This is the credit framework used at QMU and across Scotland. It means that we can be confident that 30
level 7 (first year undergraduate) credits from another Scottish institution are equivalent to 30 level 7 (first year
undergraduate degree) credits here.
2.6
European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS)
This is the same principle as the SCQF but is Europe wide. 10 credits on the SCQF are equal to 5 credits on
the ECTS.
2.7
National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC)
NARIC is a group that matches international qualifications and UK qualifications. This enables us to be
confident that a UG Diploma in Singapore is broadly equivalent to completing level 9 (year 3) study in the UK.
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NARIC equivalence is usually ascertained by members of the Admissions department prior to a student being
admitted to a programme
3
Advanced Standing
Every degree programme (undergraduate and postgraduate) has a standard point of admission. To gain entry
at that point students will have to meet some entry criteria, e.g. for an Honours degree programme, entry to
level 1 may often entail a specific number of points gained through Highers, or A levels or a recognised access
course.
Where a student has progressed further than the standard entry point, they can apply for advanced standing.
Advanced standing is most usually based on learning which has been previously credited by another education
institution. Under this arrangement, QMU formally recognises the previously accredited learning and allows
entry to the programme at a more advanced stage than the standard point of admission. This can include
entry at a higher level than is standard (sometimes called ‘direct entry’) e.g. entry to level 2 of a programme, or
exemption from specific modules.
It should be noted that where a student is granted advanced standing to higher level of a programme than the
standard start point it is likely that they will be granted ‘general credit’ even against core modules. This is
because, even without formal matching at a modular level, the following approaches allow the University to be
confident of equivalence:


Using the credit frameworks outlined above, the University can usually be confident that the standard of
education (pegged to SCQF level 7- 12) and amount of student effort (pegged to number of credits 120 per level for UGs) is equivalent to QMU standards and student effort.
Where a degree is accredited by the Health and Care Professions Council and/or a specific
professional body (e.g. College of Occupational Therapists, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists) the
University can be confident that appropriate standards of professional practice have been met by
students seeking advanced standing based on credits awarded from another accredited degree.
However, it is likely that in order to fully support a student joining a programme later than the usual starting
point, some matching will be undertaken by the Programme Leader to assure the team that the student has
covered the appropriate material.
Occasionally, students will be admitted to a programme on the understanding that their prior experience has
included learning at a particular level. Students do then have to complete a ‘challenge assignment’ (which may
be an essay or viva) once they have started the programme to confirm their entry at a higher level than usual.
How Advanced Standing works…
If a student wishes to apply for Advanced Standing they must complete the relevant form (RPL – AS) and
present it, with their application, to the Admissions Office. Where the application is straightforward, a decision
to admit the student will be taken by the Admissions Officer (staff member from the Admissions Office) and the
Admissions Tutor (staff member from the degree programme). For some programmes, there may be
“recognised” qualifications that lead to “automatic” Advanced Standing (e.g. entry to level 3 of a programme
with a named HND). A list of recognised qualifications for Advanced Standing to named programmes should
be held by Admissions. A straightforward application may be one where a student has completed credits which
are recognised in the SCQF or where they are using a previously assessed and agreed route onto the
programme (for example, an articulation with an FE college or a previously matched route from a international
provider). This decision regarding Advanced Standing should be reported to the RPL Panel for homologation,
and updating of the student record.
If the application is not straight forward, it can be referred to the RPL Panel for advice, although the
Programme Leader or admissions tutor should brief their representative on the Panel as to any programme
specific issues with which the Panel may not be familiar.
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4
Recognition of Prior Credited Learning (RPCL)
Once a student has started a programme, it may transpire that they have prior learning which has been
credited by a recognised educational body which is relevant to the programme and could be used to grant the
student exemption from one or more modules or parts of modules. This learning may have been credited by
another body recognised by the SCQF or may be a body outwith the UK.
Non-UK credits or qualifications are checked through the NARIC system for academic equivalence by
Admissions. For all modules, the module content and learning outcomes are reviewed by the relevant
Programme Leader or module coordinator. This may be in order to ‘match’ the module to a QMU module but
this is not always the case if the previous credit is being claimed against general credit, for example, in place of
an elective module.
How RPCL works…
If a student wishes to apply for RPCL, they must complete the relevant form (RPL-RCPL) and present it with
evidence to their Programme Leader. Usually, the recognition of prior credited learning can be agreed by the
Programme Leader and is reported to the RPL Panel for approval. Programme Leaders may use the SCQF,
NARIC and an assessment of the module descriptor to reach a recommendation to the Panel. It would be
unusual for the RPL Panel to overturn a recommendation of the Programme Leader. If the application is not
straight forward it can be referred to the RPL Panel for advice although the Programme Leader or admissions
tutor should brief their representative on the Panel as to any programme specific issues about which the Panel
may not be familiar.
5
Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)
If a student has experience which is relevant to the programme, they may be able to have that learning
accredited. In this process, QMU is not recognising a qualification previously credited by another body, but
actually accrediting experiential learning which can be demonstrated to possess academic worth. The process
of APEL involves academic supervision and assessment, therefore there is an associated fee.
In order to evidence that the student has learnt from their prior experience, the student is asked to complete a
piece of work. In assessing what may be relevant students may wish to look at learning outcomes of the
programme or modules. It should be noted that, even on programmes leading to a specific professional award,
there may be modules whose primary learning outcomes are more generic, such as presentation skills,
research, analysis, critical thinking etc. Students can always discuss this informally with their Programme
Leader.
How APEL works….
So that students are not charged a fee unnecessarily this is a two stage process.






For Stage 1, students are usually advised to meet initially with the Programme Leader or RPL
representative from the subject area. In discussion, students should identify work that they feel could
be worthy of academic credit – e.g. writing a book chapter; leading a substantial service development.
Students are asked to identify learning outcomes relating to their experience that they will demonstrate
in their piece of work.
The RPL-APEL form is then submitted to the Programme Leader and subject area RPL representative.
Staff can then include comments or recommendations.
Stage 1 APEL claim is then submitted to the RPL Panel.
The Panel assesses the learning outcomes to determine whether the student should be permitted to
progress to Stage two. If the Panel feels that the proposal is at the correct SCQF level and that the
proposal could offer the right scope in terms of number of credits a supervisor and assessor are
allocated and a timescale agreed for completion.
On progression to Stage 2, an APEL fee is charged to the student (Secretary completes necessary
paperwork).
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


In Stage 2, the student completes the work with the support of the supervisor, and it is assessed by the
assessor.
If the work is deemed to be at the correct level and of the correct scope for the number of credits to be
awarded then the student is then awarded the credits. This is reported to the RPL Panel for noting.
If a student does not quite reach the level or scope, then they will receive feedback and will be
requested to resubmit the work (within an agreed timescale) on one further occasion.
QMU framework for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
To claim RPL you must be registered/or accepted onto a programme of study – for example the BSc
Professional Practice.
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ADVANCED STANDING
(AS)
for entry to programme
Complete RPL-AS form and present
with application to Admissions
RECOGNITION PRIOR
CERTIFICATED LEARNING
(RPCL) entry to programme or
module/credit exemption
Complete RPL-RPCL form. Present
with certificates and learning
outcomes to Programme Leader (or
designate)
RECOGNITION OF PRIOR
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING (RPEL)
module or credit exemption
Initial guidance on process (by RPL
panel subject area person or
designate)
Submit RPL-APEL form (Stage 1
only) to Programme Leader and RPL
Panel subject area rep
Documentation checked by
Admissions and Programme Leader
(or designate)
Match against SCQF, NARIC etc
Decision made
Decision made.
Report to RPL Panel for noting
Recommendation to RPL Panel for
noting
allocate a supporter and agreed
timeline for submission
Decision recorded in ISIS
Decision recorded in ISIS.
RPL FEE CHARGED
(if credit awarded)
Credit awarded
Reviewed by RPL Panel
RPL Panel agree claim
Submit RPL-APEL Stage 2 with
portfolio of evidence
Assessed
Recommendation to RPL Panel
Decision recorded in ISIS
Credit awarded
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Return to student with advice
RPL Panel disagree claim
Return to student with advice and
resubmission date
RPL Panel disagree claim
January 2015
APPENDIX 1
RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING (RPL) PANEL
1.
Purpose
The purpose of the RPL Panel is to assess applications made by prospective or
current students for the recognition or accreditation of prior learning.
2.
Function
The Panel will:




NOTE standard applications for Advanced Standing and APPROVE nonstandard applications for Advanced Standing.
APPROVE applications for the recognition of prior credited learning.
Standard applications will be presented with a recommendation from the
Programme Leader and it would be unusual for the Panel to over turn the
recommendation. Non-standard cases will be discussed and approved, or
not, by the Panel.
APPROVE or REFER Stage one applications for the accreditation of prior
experiential learning.
NOTE the outcomes of Stage two applications for the accreditation of prior
experiential learning.
When assessing any claim for credit the following criteria apply:
Criteria
Authenticity
Definition
That the applicant actually
completed what is claimed
Acceptability There is an appropriate match
between the learning outcomes
being demonstrated and the
credit being claimed
Evidence
original documents should be
shown to the Programme Leader
who can then copy them for
submission to the Panel if
necessary or can confirm that they
have seen them on the RPL form.
This may include a transcript
showing the SCQF level or a
module descriptor or programme
specification.
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January 2015
Currency
3.
Is the learning sufficiently recent
to enable confidence that the
knowledge and skills in the
learning outcomes are up to
date and/or has the student kept
up those knowledge and skills
over the intervening time?
As a general rule of thumb if the
qualification was gained within the
last 5 years it can be considered to
be current although for some
disciplines it may need to be
shorter. Equally, if a student has
been using the skills or knowledge
as part of their work or CPD in the
intervening years it could be
considered current.
Frequency of the RPL Panel
The RPL Panel will meet a maximum of five times per year.
4.
Membership (as of January 2015)
The RPL Panel will comprise of the Convener, a School Manager (Secretary) and a
representative from each subject area. Currently the roles are filled as follows:
Convener
Secretary
Gillian Baer
Jenny Ansett School Manager (Health Sciences)
(Reserve – Stacey Barnes, Divisional Project Manager)
Subject Area Reps
Linda Renton
Lindesay Irvine
Kavi Jagadamma
Elaine Bannerman
Gloria Dunlop
Kath MacDonald
Dora Meikle
Christine de Placido
Occupational/Art Therapies Representative
Nursing Representative
Physiotherapy Representative
DNBS Representative
Podiatry Representative
Nursing Representative
Radiography, Representative
Speech and Hearing Sciences Representative
Gordon Campbell
Graham Drysdale
Business Enterprise & Management
Media, Communication & Performing
Arts/Psychology & Sociology
Co-opted when necessary
Representative of
Collaborative Partner
The majority of applications will be straightforward and will be able to be presented
without additional comment. However, Programme Leaders who have applications
that they wish to be discussed by the Panel, which may be more difficult, should brief
their representative on the Panel ahead of the meeting.
5.
Process for outcomes of the Panel
Officially the RPL Panel then reports to the relevant Board of Examiners through the
student record and the profile presented to the Boards of Examiners, and the
exemption is finally ratified by the Boards on behalf of Senate
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January 2015
APPENDIX 2
Form: RPL - AS
Application for Advanced Standing
Name of Student
Programme
Insert below details of qualifications which you believe will contribute towards some
of the content of the programme.
Ref
No.
Name of MODULE
OR
QUALIFICATION
for which you have
been previously
granted credit
SCQF Level
of module or
qualification
SCQF
CREDITS
gained
Where
studied
Year of
completion
1
2
3
Please note you can only gain recognition for up to 50% of the total credits of the
QMU award.
Reference
number of
Module
previously
accredited
taken from
table above
1
2
3
QMU Level of
Study OR QMU
Module Code
QMU Module
Name
SCQF
Level
CREDITS
This form should be submitted with your application form.
ADMISSIONS DECISION
Student will be exempt from the following modules/level of study OR student
will be required to complete the following modules to gain the named award.
No further work needed from the student
Challenge Essay required – length, timescale, against how many credits.
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January 2015
Form: RPL-APCL
Application for Recognition of Prior Certificated Learning
Name of Student
Matriculation Number
Programme
Insert below details of qualifications which you believe will contribute towards some
of the content of the programme.
Ref
No.
Name of MODULE
OR
QUALIFICATION
for which you have
been previously
granted credit
SCQF Level
of module or
qualification
SCQF
CREDITS
gained
Where
studied
Year of
completion
1
2
3
Please note you can only gain recognition for up to 50% of the total credits of the
QMU award.
Reference
number of
Module
previously
accredited
taken from
table above
1
2
3
QMU Module
Code
OR
Indicate that you
are seeking
‘general credit’
QMU Module
Name if
relevant
SCQF
Level
CREDITS
This form should be submitted to your Programme Leader
RECOMMEDNATION to RPL Panel from
Programme Leader
Evidence presented to PL?
Happy to agree to recognition of credit for all or
some of the above modules, or not?
Any further instructions to the student?
Outcome
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January 2015
Form: RPL - APEL
Application for Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning
This form should be submitted together with copies of certificates and other relevant information to your Programme Leader
Name of Student
Matriculation Number
Programme
STAGE ONE
Insert below details of experience which you believe will contribute towards some of the content of the programme.
Seeking exemption FROM:
QMU Module Code and name
OR indicate ‘general credit’
SCQF
Level
CREDITS
Brief description of learning experiences
On a separate sheet:
If you wish your prior experience to be matched to a module or modules:
Please attach the learning outcomes of the module from which you are seeking exemption and indicate how your learning experience match
those learning outcomes.
If you wish your prior experience to be claimed as general credit:
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January 2015
Please attach your own learning outcomes which you intend to full fill with the assessment of your experiential learning. In designing these
learning outcomes you may wish to look at the programme aims of your programme and the appropriate SCQF level and to talk to your
Programme Leader.
Please return the form to your Programme Leader with all relevant documentation, including learning outcomes attached. Your application will
be considered by the RPL Panel at its next meeting and you will normally be notified of the outcome within two weeks of that meeting. If your
application for accreditation of prior experiential learning is accepted you will also receive details of stage two of the process.
If your application for accreditation of prior experiential learning is accepted and you decide to proceed to stage two of the process this will incur
a cost as detailed in the accompanying guidance notes.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS to RPL Panel from Programme
Leader
Outcome
Supervisor:
Assessor:
Timescale:
Following the Submission of the Stage Two Assignment:
Decision (pass/resubmission/fail):
Student to be awarded how many credits:
Date reported to Panel:
Date credits added to ISIS:
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