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Recognition of Prior Learning (Interim 2014) Policy

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Purpose

To provide a framework for Macquarie University to apply a consistent, equitable and transparent approach to the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for the purpose of Credit Transfer.

Overview

The overarching principle of this RPL Policy for 2014 is to preserve the integrity and distinctiveness of Macquarie University awards while facilitating a student’s access to Credit Transfer based on learning already undertaken at a recognised education provider.  

Within this principle, the University also aims to:
  • support mobility between institutions, and progression through levels of qualifications
  • support an individual’s lifelong learning goals by recognising prior learning
  • ensure consistency and transparency in the granting of credit transfer,  and
  • establish a framework for credit transfer arrangements in formal Articulation agreements between the University and other institutions.

This Policy complies with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

DEFINITIONS
Applicant: a student who is making an application for RPL under this Policy.

Articulation: a process that enables students to progress from a completed Award to another Award with predetermined admission and/or Credit arrangements. Articulation is formalised by an approved institutional agreement.

Award: the qualification resulting from successful completion of a specific Program of Study.

Credit: the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different Awards. Credit may reduce the Volume of Learning required to achieve a qualification.

Credit Transfer: a process that provides students with consistent Credit outcomes for units or components of a Program of Study based on identified equivalence in content and Learning Outcomes.

Exchange: approved studies completed at a university other than a student’s home university, as part of an official bilateral exchange agreement between Macquarie University and a partner university.

Exemption: see Specified Credit.

Formal Learning: learning that takes place through a structured Program of Learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification.1

General Credit: see Unspecified Credit.

Learning Outcomes: the expression of the set of knowledge, skills and the application of the knowledge and skills a person has acquired and is able to demonstrate as a result of learning. 2

Level: the level of an Award reflects the relative complexity and/or depth of its program Learning Outcomes, and is expressed according to the various AQF levels 3. The level at which a unit is taught indicates the amount of prior knowledge required to study it successfully.

Nested Award: a set of Macquarie University Awards approved by Academic Senate that forms stages within the highest Award, where each stage may operate as an entry and/or exit point. Nested Awards are designed to allow full Credit Transfer between the Macquarie University Awards.

Prior Learning: learning that is Formal, is evidenced, current and relevant, and has taken place:
  • outside of Macquarie University; or
  • within a completed Macquarie University Award.

Program of Study: the combination of units and components that must be satisfactorily completed to qualify for a Macquarie University Award.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): a process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant Prior Learning to determine eligibility for the granting of Credit.

Specified Credit: Credit granted towards specific units or components of a Program of Study 4. Specified Credit can only be granted where there is a sufficient balance of Unspecified Credit to convert. Previously referred to as Exemption.

Unspecified Credit: Credit granted towards elective components or components at a particular level of a Program of Study. Unspecified Credit can be converted into Specified Credit, where relevant. Previously referred to as General Credit.

Volume of Learning: a measure which identifies the notional duration of all activities required for the achievement of the Learning Outcomes specified for a Program of Study. Volume of Learning is expressed in equivalent full-time years.
Scope This Policy applies to all coursework Awards offered by Macquarie University.

Policy

The University will establish a transparent, equitable and evidence-based process for the assessment and determination of Prior Learning.

The assessment of Prior Learning for the purposes of Credit Transfer will be evidence-based, equitable and academically defensible. Assessments will be made on the merit of each individual case.

CREDIT TRANSFER
The University will assess Prior Learning for the purpose of granting Credit towards an Award, provided the Prior Learning is current and relevant to the Learning Outcomes of the Award, and undertaken as part of a recognised Award type.

Types Of Credit

Unspecified Credit without designation: where the Applicant’s Prior Learning is assessed as being at an appropriate level and standard for an elective component of their Program of Study. Unspecified Credit can be used towards satisfying the elective component and general requirements of a Program of Study.

Unspecified Credit with Law designation: where the Applicant’s Prior Learning is assessed as being at an appropriate level and standard for a component of their Program of Study, and equivalent to the discipline of Law offered by the University. Unspecified Credit may be used towards satisfying the elective component and general requirements of a Program of Study.

Specified Credit: where the Applicant’s Prior Learning is assessed as meeting the stated Learning Outcomes for a unit, units or component of their Program of Study. Specified Credit may be used towards satisfying the specific requirements, including required units, of a Program of Study.

Where possible, Specified Credit or Unspecified Credit with designation will be granted.

Currency

Prior Learning that has been attained within ten years of the date of application for credit will generally be considered current.

Any changes to this timeframe for an entire Award or a specific unit will be determined by Academic Senate and recorded in the Schedule of Currency Exceptions.

Relevancy

Prior Learning will be considered relevant for the granting of :

Unspecified Credit without designation at a particular level where there is evidence to demonstrate that:
  • the Applicant has achieved a quality and standard of learning equivalent to tertiary studies, and
  • the Prior Learning is of an appropriate Level.
Unspecified Credit with Law designation at a particular Level where there is evidence to demonstrate that:
  • the Applicant has achieved a quality and standard of learning equivalent to tertiary studies,
  • the Prior Learning is of an appropriate Level, and
  • the Prior Learning is equivalent to the discipline of law offered by the University.
Specified Credit where there is evidence to demonstrate that:
  • the Applicant has achieved a quality and standard of learning equivalent to tertiary studies,
  • the Prior Learning is of an appropriate Level,
  • the Applicant can demonstrate the attainment of the Learning Outcomes of a specific unit or units, and
  • the Prior Learning is assessed as equivalent in discipline content, depth and breadth.

Maximum Credit Transfer at Macquarie University

The maximum Credit Transfer amounts for various Award types are outlined in the Schedule of Maximum Credit Transfer 2014 which is a Schedule to this Policy.

Amendments to the Schedule of Maximum Credit Transfer 2014 are approved by the Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC).

Limits on maximum Credit as set out above do not apply to approved Macquarie University Nested Awards.

Recognised Award Type

For Prior Learning to be eligible for recognition it must be undertaken as part of an Award type outlined in the Schedule of Recognised Award Types 2014 which is a Schedule to this Policy. This Schedule is developed in line with AQF and AEI-NOOSR guidelines.

Amendments to the Schedule of Recognised Award Types 2014 are approved by the ASQC.

Relative Equivalencies

The relative equivalencies between different Awards are outlined in the Schedule of Relative Equivalencies 2014 which is a Schedule to this Policy. This Schedule is developed in line AQF and AEI-NOOSR guidelines.

Amendments to the Schedule of Relative Equivalencies 2014 are approved by the ASQC.

QUALITY ASSURANCE
The University will safeguard the quality of its Awards by ensuring that:
  • the assessment of Prior Learning for Credit Transfer is evidence-based, and ensures that the Learning Outcomes have been met
  • Credit granted on the basis of learning completed outside of Macquarie University is not recorded with a grade, and does not contribute to any grade point average (GPA)
  • Credit on the basis of prior Formal Learning is only granted for completed units where the final grade is equivalent to a Pass or higher
  • Credit granted by another institution on the basis of Prior Learning is not transferable to Macquarie University
  • standards for the assessment of Prior Learning are regularly reviewed and monitored by the ASQC, and
  • decisions are reviewed and monitored by the Faculty Standards and Quality Committee (FSQC).

APPEALS
The Applicant may appeal a decision regarding the assessment of Prior Learning for the purpose of Credit Transfer.

Grounds for an appeal are limited to procedural error or breach of procedural fairness.

Appeals will be managed through the Academic Appeals Committee, and are to be made in accordance with the Academic Appeals Policy.

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHES
The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this Policy applies breaches this Policy (or any of its related procedures).

1. AQF Glossary of Terminology
2. AQF Glossary of Terminology
3. Australian Qualifications Framework, AQF Levels.
4. AQF Glossary of Terminology

Policy Information

Contact Officer Chair, Academic Senate
Date Approved 12 December 2013
Approval Authority Academic Senate
Date of Commencement 1 January 2014
Amendment History n/a
Date for Next Review January 2015
Related Documents

Academic Appeals Policy
Admission (Coursework) Policy
RPL Maximum Credit Transfer 2014 Schedule
RPL Award Types 2014 Schedule
RPL Relative Equivalencies 2014 Schedule

External
AQF Pathways Policy
TEQSA Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards)
AEI-NOOSR Qualifications recognition
Policies / Rules Superseded by this Policy Credit for Previous Studies: All previous policies, practices, booklets and websites.
Keywords Recognition of prior learning, credit, credit for previous studies, informal learning.
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