Forms and Policies

CREDIT FOR PRIOR LEARNING POLICY

Date first approved:
6 Feb 2015

Date of effect:
1 April 2015

Date last amended:
(refer Version Control Table)
1 April 2015

Date of Next Review:
April 2018

First approved by:

University Council

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Director, Academic Quality and Standards Unit quality@uow.edu.au

Author:

Manager, Academic Quality & Policy

Responsible Faculty/ Division & Unit:

Academic Quality & Standards Unit

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this Policy:

Admission Rules and Procedures
Credit for Prior Learning Procedures

Coursework Student Academic Complaints Policy

General Course Rules

Application Form to Apply for an Undergraduate Degree and Credit for Prior Learning

Application Form to Apply for a Postgraduate Degree and Credit for Prior Learning

Application form to Apply for Credit for Prior Learning for Current Students

Learning Statement

References & Legislation:

Australian Qualifications Framework 2nd Edition, 2013
Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000

Audience:

Public

Submit your feedback on this policy document using the Policy Feedback Facility.

Contents

1 Purpose

  • 1. This policy sets out the University’s requirements in relation to the granting of credit for prior learning, regardless of where and how that learning was achieved.
  • 2. UOW’s Credit for Prior Learning policy aims to ensure:
        • a. Accessible, inclusive and diverse pathways to higher education;
        • b. Opportunity for individuals to have their different types of learning recognised;
        • c. Equitable, valid and reliable processes for assessment of prior learning which enable every student to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes for a unit of study;
        • d. Alignment with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning Guidelines; and
        • e. Quality assurance to guarantee that prior learning is of an appropriate standard.
  • 3. This policy, in part, replaces the Admissions and Advanced Standing Policy approved by Council on 27 June 2008. It operates in conjunction with the Admissions Rules and the Credit for Prior Learning Procedures.

2 Definitions

Learning related terms

Word/Term

Definition

    Equivalence

    Assessment of credit for prior learning will take into account equivalence and comparability of the learning outcomes; volume of learning; and program of study, including content.

    Formal learning

    Learning attained through a formal program of study with an accredited education provider e.g. certificate, diploma or degree.

    Informal learning

    Learning acquired in an informal context, such as through work, citizenship, community service, open learning opportunities, and/or life experiences.

    Non-formal learning

    Learning acquired through non-accredited study with a provider other than a university or accredited education provider. It includes education or training provided through employer-based programs and professional bodies. Micro-credentials such as MOOCS, open learning courses using Open Education Resources (OERs) and “Badges for Learning” are defined as non-formal learning.

    Prior Learning

    Learning that has taken place prior to admission to a program of the University or prior to undertaking a relevant component of a program.

    Recognition of prior learning (RPL)

    The process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit. The term is most commonly applied to the recognition of informal and non-formal learning.

Credit-related terms

Word/Term

Definition

    Articulation agreement

    A signed agreement with another education provider that defines and publicises a specific, approved pathway for progression between qualifications, and between institutions.

    Articulation arrangements

    Articulation arrangements enable students to progress from a completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined pathway. (AQF definition, 2nd Edition, 2013)

    Block Credit

    Credit granted for complete sections of the program, equivalent to at least one session.

    Credit

    Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be through credit transfer, articulation or recognition of prior learning.

    (AQF definition, 2nd Edition, 2013)

    Credit points

    The value attached to a subject that indicates study load.

    Credit transfer

    Credit transfer is a process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications.

    External Credit

    Credit granted for studies completed at another institution towards a UOW qualification.

    Internal Credit

    Credit granted for studies completed at UOW towards another UOW qualification; this includes studies completed at UOW Dubai and courses offered in partnership with UOW.

    Provisional Credit

    Refers to the granting of credit subject to prescribed conditions being met.

    Specified credit

    Credit granted towards one or more specific subjects. Specified credit is granted when learning can be demonstrated to be a near or exact equivalent to a UOW subject or UOW subjects.

    Unspecified credit

    Credit granted as equivalent to the volume of learning of an elective subject or subjects, but not subject learning outcomes, When specific, equivalent experience cannot be demonstrated, unspecified credit appears on a Testamur as “Unspecified Credit”. It can be awarded for 1 subject, or as Block Credit (see above), depending on the disciplinary and professional requirements, and the structure, of the award.

    Unspecified credit can be awarded for elective subjects. This does not exempt an applicant from a compulsory subject or subjects. Unspecified course credit receives an appropriate unit value in credit towards the completion of an Award.

3 Application & Scope

  • 1. This policy applies to:
        • a. future and current students of UOW;
        • b. all coursework programs offered by UOW, both within Australia and overseas, including the coursework component of research degrees;
        • c. Credit for prior learning arrangements made on the basis of:
          • i. formal credit agreements made between UOW and other education institutions and partners (articulation pathways);
          • ii. Credit for prior learning granted by UOW in response to individual applications.
  • 2. This policy does not apply to UOW Dubai (which has its own version of this policy).

4 Policy Principles

  • 1. The following principles will inform the assessment of credit and recognition of prior learning.
  • 2. Credit decisions will:
        • a. Maintain the integrity of UOW award;
        • b. Be academically defensible and take into account the students’ ability to meet the learning outcomes of the qualification successfully;
        • c. Not disadvantage student in achieving desired subject and course learning outcomes;
        • d. Recognise learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided that the learning is relevant and current and has a relationship to the learning outcomes of the qualification;
        • e. Be applied consistently and fairly with decisions subject to appeal and review;
        • f. Be clearly communicated and transparent;
        • g. Be approved at the appropriate level and be clearly documented; and
        • h. Be undertaken in a timely way.

5 Admission

  • 1. Admission to the University is based on academic merit and approved criteria as defined in the Admission Rules. An applicant who is eligible for credit is not guaranteed an offer of a place, except where this is included as part of an agreement between the University and another education partner, or as part of an approved UOW pathway program. The granting of credit to any particular applicant will be subject to the admission of the applicant to the relevant University program.
  • 2. Admission in some instances may be approved on the basis of assessment for credit of prior learning; for example where “or equivalent” is indicated as a potential admission pathway. Admission on the basis of assessment of credit to undergraduate or postgraduate study must be specified in Course Rules. Examples might include: portfolio assessment provisions for admission to certain degrees, or acceptance of evidence via the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), or similar admission process. Evidence used to gain admission into an undergraduate or postgraduate award cannot be used to present a case for credit once used as a basis for admission.

6 Granting of Credit

  • 1. Credit towards an Award may be granted when students can demonstrate they have achieved subject learning outcomes relevant to their Award from formal, non-formal or informal learning. The different types of learning are defined in Section 2.
  • 2. An application for credit may cover more than one category of learning.
  • 3. Credit may be granted as specified credit, unspecified credit and block credit. These types of credit are defined in Section 2.
  • 4. Credit may be granted to individuals or groups of students. Students receiving credit on the basis of credit transfer agreements should receive the same form and amount of credit as set out in the public register or database of credit arrangements, providing they can provide the relevant evidence. However, the total amount of credit will vary from individual to individual, based on which qualification(s) or combinations of qualification components have been successfully completed.
  • 5. Provisional credit may be granted to applicants when an offer of admission is made and will be subject to confirmation by the University following a full assessment of the evidence of prior learning.
  • 6. Credit may be granted for a subject undertaken on a non-award basis or as part of an enabling program towards a UOW course, where course structures allow.

7 Transfer of Grades with Award of Credit

  • 1. Except for subjects completed at or accredited by UOW, no marks or grades will be recorded for subjects where specified credit has been granted.

8 Formal Credit Arrangements with Other Institutions

  • 1. The University’s formal credit transfer arrangements with other institutions are listed on the University website.
  • 2. All of the University’s formal credit transfer arrangements with other institutions are approved and reviewed as part of the course approval and review cycle and in accordance with the Credit for Prior Learning Procedures.
  • 3. Types of Formal Credit Arrangements:
    • 3.1. Articulation arrangements enable students to progress from a completed qualification at a partner institution to UOW with credit and/or admission in a defined qualification pathway.
    • 3.2. Credit transfer arrangements provide students from a partner institution with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications.
  • 4. Articulation and credit transfer agreements within the provisions of this policy are approved by the relevant Executive Dean on the advice of the relevant Associate Dean, Head of School or Head of Students where appropriate.
  • 5. All such agreements with non-Australian education providers must be reported to the Transnational Education Strategic Alliances (TESA) Committee and the Director of Student Services and will be added to a central register of articulation agreements.
  • 6. All such agreements with Australian providers must be reported to the Director of Student Services and will be added to a central register of articulation agreements.

9 Amount of Credit

  • 1. A significant proportion of the studies leading to a UOW award must be studies accredited by the University. The granting of credit must comply with University limitations on credit for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework courses (refer to Schedule 1).
  • 2. A candidate for the degree of Masters by Research or Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) who has completed other relevant qualifications may be granted up to 24 credit points towards the coursework component of their program.

10 Restrictions on the Granting of Credit

  • 1. Credit will not be granted for prior learning completed more than ten years ago, unless the applicant can demonstrate currency of learning against the subject/course learning outcomes.
  • 2. Students may not use the same prior credit towards more than one qualification as this would constitute double counting of credit.
  • 3. Restrictions on the amount of credit may apply:
        • a. Where there are certain core components of the course structure (e.g. a capstone subject) required for satisfactory completion of the course;
        • b. Where professional accreditation requirements limit the maximum amount of credit that can be granted;
        • c. Where specified in Course Rules.

11 Applications for Credit

  • 1. Applications for credit for prior learning must be made in writing using the prescribed form.
  • 2. An application for credit for prior learning can be made either with an application for admission to the University or after enrolment provided that the application is made no later than the fourth week of session.
  • 3. Except for applications based on previous study at UOW, a credit application must be accompanied by evidence of formal, informal or non-formal learning. See Credit for Prior Learning Procedures.

12 Credit for Concurrent Studies at another Institution

  • 1. Students currently enrolled at UOW and who apply for Cross-Institutional Enrolment must seek provisional credit for their intended study prior to commencing study at the other institution. Credit will only be granted for successfully completed subjects.
  • 2. Students currently enrolled at UOW and who apply to study overseas as part of a Student Mobility Program must seek provisional credit for their intended study prior to commencing study overseas. Credit will only be granted for successfully completed subjects.

13 Approval of Credit

  • 1. The Head of Students (or nominee as designated by the Executive Dean) is responsible for approving credit applications. See Credit for Prior Learning Procedures.

14 Withdrawal of Credit

  • 1. The University reserves the right to withdraw credit for prior learning where an administrative error has been made or where the documentation provided by the applicant is misleading or invalid.
  • 2. The withdrawal of credit for prior learning must be approved by the Head of Students (or nominee as designated by the Executive Dean) and notified to the Student Services Division.

15 Visa Implications for International Students

  • 1. When the granting of Credit for Prior Learning leads to a shortening of an International Student’s course duration, the University must issue a new Confirmation of Enrolment and must report the change via PRISMS under Section 19 of the ESOS Act.

16 Overview of Responsibilities

Students

  • 1. Students who seek credit for prior learning are responsible for completing and submitting all documentation required to support their application.
  • 2. In applying for credit based on informal or non-formal learning, the onus is on the student to reflect upon their prior learning and to demonstrate how that learning relates to the intended learning outcomes for the subject or course (refer Credit for Prior Learning Procedures).

Faculty

  • 3. Faculties are responsible for:
        • a. assessing credit for prior learning applications and determining the level of specified and unspecified credit awarded in accordance with this policy;
        • b. ensuring that determination and award of credit for prior learning outside of a formal agreement is overseen by qualified UOW academic staff;
        • c. approving and reviewing articulation and credit transfer agreements with other education providers;
        • d. notifying Transnational Education Partners of any new articulation and credit transfer agreements or changes to any existing approvals where relevant and ensuring that the partner institution operate in accordance with this policy; and
        • e. monitoring the progress of students granted credit from partner institutions and making recommendations for change to the assessment process in accordance with the Credit for Prior Learning Procedures.

Student Services

  • 4. Student Services Division is responsible for:
        • a. maintaining the information about credit for prior learning on the University’s public website including an up-to-date list of approved credit arrangements;
        • b. assessing credit for prior learning applications covered by a formal agreement or where there are clear precedents (subject to written delegated authority from the relevant faculty);
        • c. communicating with students (including prospective students) about their credit for prior learning;
        • d. recording credit granted to individual students;
        • e. maintaining a central register of articulation and credit transfer agreements; and
        • f. maintaining a credit precedence database.

17 Right of Appeal

  • 1. An applicant with an offer of admission to a UOW program who is dissatisfied with the outcome of a credit for prior learning application may request a review of the decision. Such a request must be accompanied by a full statement outlining the basis for the review.
  • 2. A request for a review of a credit decision is lodged with the designated officer in Student Services who will review the initial decision in terms of this credit policy. Where the basis of the review request relates to the academic judgement of the equivalence of prior study or learning to a subject or course, the Manager will refer the credit review request, together with supporting information, to the Associate Dean (Education).
  • 3. On completion of the review, applicants are provided with a written response detailing the review’s outcome. Where the applicant’s request for a review of the decision is unsuccessful, a statement of reasons for the determination is provided.
  • 4. A student may appeal the outcome of a credit decision in accordance with the Coursework Student Academic Complaints Policy.

18 Version Control Table

Version

Date Effective

Approved By

Amendment

    1

    1 April 2015

    Council

    First Version – Replacing the Admission and Advanced Standing Policy.

Schedule 1: Limitations on the Amount of Credit

1. External credit

  • 1. The following table sets out the minimum amount of study a student of the University must undertake at UOW (or a partner institution offering a UOW award) to be eligible for the granting of the award. The Academic Senate may approve an exception to the minimum required study.

    Course level

    Minimum required study at UOW

    Bachelor degree, including a Bachelor degree ‘with Honours’

    48 credit points

    One year stand-alone Honours course

    48 credit points

    Combined course leading to two Bachelor Degrees (Double Degree)

    48 credit points for each degree and

    96 credit points in total

    Graduate Certificate

    12 credit points

    Graduate Diploma

    24 credit points

    Master (by coursework) Degree -72 credit points

    36 credit points

    Master (by coursework) Degree - 96 credit points

    48 credit points

  • 2. Taking into account the required minimum amount of UOW study, external credit may be granted for up to the remaining credit points in an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework course on the basis of an incomplete course at the same or higher level.
  • 3. The maximum amount of external credit based on a completed course at the same or higher level is 50% of the credit point value of the UOW course.
  • 4. The maximum amount of external credit on the basis of a completed, AQF recognised Associate Diploma, Diploma or Advanced Diploma (or equivalent qualifications) towards a related UOW Bachelor degree course is 24, 48 or 72 credit points respectively. Credit for incomplete studies at these levels will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • 5. No external credit is given towards a one year stand-alone honours course.
  • 6. Additional limits on the amount of external credit may be set by the Course Rules for a specific course, subject to approval by the relevant Faculty Education Committee and Academic Senate.

2. Internal credit

  • 1. Unlimited credit may be granted for an incomplete UOW course to allow transfer to another UOW course, within the constraints of the course structures.
  • 2. Credit towards a UOW undergraduate course on the basis of a completed UOW undergraduate course may be granted in accordance with the double degree provisions. This applies irrespective of whether the two courses have been formally established as a double degree course.
  • 3. Credit points towards a UOW postgraduate course on the basis of a completed UOW postgraduate course at a lower level is limited to a maximum of 24 credit points towards a Graduate Diploma and 48 credit points towards a Master by Coursework Degree. This applies irrespective of whether the course is a nested one or not.
  • 4. Credit towards a UOW postgraduate course on the basis of a completed UOW postgraduate course at the same or higher level will not exceed 50% of the credit point value of that course.