This document sets out the College’s policy and process for granting credit for prior learning that contributes towards satisfying the requirements for an award of the College. Credit may be granted based on recognition of formal studies from a previously completed or partially completed program or qualification, and recognition of prior informal or non-formal learning.
The Policy relates to all current students of the College or applicants with an offer of admission to a course of study at the College.
The policy applies to any course offered by the College; including cross-institutional study.
assessment - the process of collecting evidence and making judgements on the nature and extent of progress towards the performance requirements set out in a competency standard or learning outcomes, and making the judgement as to whether competency, learning outcomes or the equivalent has been achieved.
articulation arrangements - enable students to progress from a completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined qualification pathway.
block credit - credit granted towards whole stages or components of a program of learning leading to a qualification. For example, when a group of units undertaken at another institution is recognised as broadly equivalent to the learning outcomes of a group of units within a College program, block credit is granted.
course co-ordinator - an academic member of the College who is responsible for the development and management of a course of study in the College, wherever it is undertaken.
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, recognition of prior learning or exemption.
credit outcomes - the results of a process of determining a student’s application for credit or credit transfer.
credit transfer - 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.
credit transfer agreement - an agreement between the College and another institution to document and publicise a specifically approved pathway for progression between a program at the other institution and a College award program, involving specific credit arrangements.
exemption - is a special case of credit, meaning that while a student may not be granted credit points in recognition of prior learning, they may be able to substitute one or more alternate units in place of introductory units within the course.
formal learning - takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially accredited qualification.
informal learning - is gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. Unlike formal or non-formal learning, informal learning is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support.
non-formal learning - takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.
recognition of prior learning (RPL) - an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.
specified credit - is granted for one or more specific units in a course, granting credit to students for those units. Specified credit may be granted where the applicant has met the learning outcomes, attained the knowledge and/or developed the skills related to a specific unit of study in a College course.
unit co-ordinator - the Academic Staff member responsible for the day-to-day teaching and assessment in individual units. Where visiting lecturers are invited to teach units or segments of units they are responsible to Unit Coordinators.
unspecified credit - granted in the form of credit points which take the place of elective units or other optional components in a course. Unspecified credit may be granted where prior learning is judged to be relevant to the learning outcomes of a course as a whole.
The underlying principle of credit transfer is that no student should be required to undertake a unit of study in a course for which they are already able to demonstrate satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes or elements of competency. The policy therefore aims to maximise the recognition of a student’s prior learning or experiences whilst at all time maintaining the integrity of its academic programs and protecting the academic standards and reputation of its awards. Credit for prior learning will be granted only within the constraints of this principle and where program structures and requirements permit.
The aim of the credit transfer policy is to:
- provide students with credit towards completing their course based on prior learning, where it can be demonstrated that the prior learning and outcomes achieved satisfy the learning outcomes and any other required components of their course;
- assist students who have been granted credit for prior learning to progress through their course in less than the normal length of the course;
- facilitate the movement of students between institutions and between courses of various types and levels;
- establish the institutional framework, policies and procedures for the development of credit transfer and articulation agreements between the College and other educational institutions, issuing organisations or accrediting authorities;
- outline the parameters for determining credit, including the maximum level of credit which can be granted within courses; and
- assist in the efficient use of educational resources.
1. Granting of Credit
a. Basis on which credit is granted
The College may:
- grant credit for formal study undertaken in recognised tertiary institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions;
- grant credit for informal learning provided by recognised professional bodies, employers and other authorities, where appropriate certification is available; and
- grant credit for non-formal learning.
Credit granted for prior formal learning is assessed by determining the extent to which the applicant’s prior studies and assessed standards are equivalent to the content and learning outcomes of one or more units of study in the course. The educational judgement concerning equivalence is based on the content, standards and assessment in the program or course the RPL applicant has undertaken. Credit granted for informal and non-formal learning is assessed by determining the extent to which the applicant has achieved the learning outcomes of one or more units of study in the course. The educational judgement concerning equivalence is based on the extent to which the applicant can demonstrate that they have achieved the required learning outcomes.
b. Types of Credit
Credit may be granted as specified credit, unspecified credit, or block credit.
- Specified credit can be granted for prior study which is of substantially the same standard and has substantially the same content and learning outcomes of an equivalent unit of study in the College course.
- Unspecified credit may be granted on the basis of prior study but for which there is no direct equivalent unit in the College course provided that the course has sufficient free choice electives to accommodate the credit. In this case, the prior study may be in an area unrelated to the area of the course of study.
- Block credit can be granted for prior learning in a grouping of units related to a field of study within the course.
c. Transfer of Grades with award of credit
Normally when credit is granted for prior study, the grades achieved in the prior study are not included in the College academic transcript and are not included in the calculation of grade point average. Units of study for which credit is granted are recorded in the academic transcript with a grade of “TC” only.
d. Credit on the basis of informal and non-formal learning
Professional and para-professional experience, subsequent professional development activities or training and other experience, through work or life, may be considered in the granting of credit. For informal or non-formal learning to be considered the applicant must provide documentation of the learning and demonstrate that the standard they achieved from participating in these activities is comparable to the standards in the unit/s in which they are seeking credit. The onus shall be on the applicant to provide appropriate evidence that demonstrates the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding.
The upper limit for the granting of credit based on informal and/or non-formal learning will be one-third of the requirements of the award program.
2. Credit Limits
a. VET Certificate III and IV and Diploma
There is no limit to the number of units than can be credited through prior learning.
Credit transfer into these College VET qualifications can be granted under any of the following circumstances:
- Under the principles of National Recognition a student is granted an automatic credit for any unit that they successfully completed at any other Registered Training Organisation (RTO).
- When the unit has exactly the same code and title, even if it is not from the same Training Package.
- When the unit is an older version that has been reviewed and this has resulted in minor changes to the unit code or title eg. A code to B code. This indicates that the outcomes of the unit have remained substantially the same and there is at least 80% commonality with the original unit.
- When the unit has been transferred from another Training Package/curriculum and recoded, however the learning outcomes remain the same.
b. Higher Education Awards
A student must complete at the College at least
- Half of the credit points of a course of study, where that course is comprised of 96 credit points of less; or
- 48 credit points, where the course of study is comprised of more than 96 credit points
3. Maximum Amounts of Credit points into various awards
|Level of Prior Study||Into Associate Degree||Into Bachelor Degree||Into Graduate Certificate||Into Graduate Diploma||Into Masters Degree|
|AQF Certificate I, II and III||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|Complete AQF Certificate IV||24[^1]||24[^1]||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|Complete AQF Diploma||48||48||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|Complete AQF Advanced Diploma||48||72||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|AQF Associate Degree||48||72||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|AQF Bachelor Degree (incomplete)||48||96||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|AQF Bachelor Degree (complete)||48||72||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted|
|AQF Graduate Certificate||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||12||24||24|
|AQF Graduate Diploma||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||12||24||36|
|AQF Masters Degree||No credit points will be granted||No credit points will be granted||12||24||36|
|Informal and Non-formal learning||30||48||6||12||24|
^1 Because the volume of study varies for Certificate IV courses, the assessor needs to carefully consider the equivalence of the volume of study when deciding on granting credit from Certificate IV studies.
Where multiple awards or multiple instances of informal and/or non-formal learning are used to apply for credit the maximum that may be granted is the largest value of the different levels of prior study in the above table for the award into which the student is requesting credit.
Units of study undertaken in courses within the College which may formally articulate into another course may be counted towards satisfying the requirements of the course. These arrangements are not limited by the restrictions on the amount of credit which may be granted as set out above.
4. Cross-institutional study program
For example, Brian may be enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at Eastern College Australia but apply to study two psychology units at a different Higher Education Provider for credit in his Eastern Bachelor of Arts. Alternatively, he may be enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at another Institution and request to complete a minor in Youth Studies at Eastern to be included in this award.
There are two categories of Cross Provider students.
- Outgoing students are enrolled and graduating from Eastern but are wanting to pick up some units at another institution.
- Incoming students are those enrolled and graduating from another institution wanting to pick up some units of study at Eastern.
a. The maximum amount of credit that a student is permitted to enrol in Cross Institutional Study is to be no more than one third of the total unit value for the award. Any agreement beyond this will require special permission from the Course Coordinator and the Dean of Studies.
b. The units elected for Cross Institutional Study will be subject to equivalency requirements (learning outcomes, standard and weighting etc.) and must be first reviewed and endorsed by the ECA Course Coordinator before final approval for such subject-specific cross-institutional study is granted.
5. Credit Transfer Arrangements
An articulation agreement is an agreement between the College and another institution to document and publicise a specifically approved pathway for progression between a program at the other institution and a College award program, involving specific credit arrangements. The amount of credit granted under an articulation agreement is subject to the credit limits prescribed in this policy. Articulation agreements within the provisions of this policy are approved by the Academic Board. As of this policy update, no such agreement exists.
6. Time Limit on Credit
Credit will not normally be granted for studies (or other demonstrated learning achievement) that have been completed more than ten (10) years prior to the time of application for credit. A shorter time limit may be applied where there is concern about the currency of the applicant’s knowledge or skills, and/or where professional accreditation requirements limit the granting of credit. The shorter time limit may apply to all applications for credit in a particular program or to a specific student application. Exceptions to the ten (10) year time limit may be approved for certain articulation agreements or for individual cases. In considering cases for credit for studies completed more than ten years earlier, post-qualification experience which may contribute to the currency of knowledge or skills may be taken into account.
7. Withdrawal of Credit
The College reserves the right to withdraw credit where an error has been made in assessing an application or where the documentation provided by the applicant is incomplete, misleading or invalid. The withdrawal of credit must be approved by the Academic Board on the recommendation of the Academic Standards and Risk Committee. However, where a change is made to a provision of this credit policy, or where a precedent or articulation is reviewed and changed, credit already granted may not be withdrawn.
8. Application for Credit
Application for credit must be made using the Credit Transfer Application Form.
a. An application for credit based on formal learning should include:
i. the program/curriculum outline or description or training package for each post-secondary education program (eg certificate level, Bachelor degree, Advanced Diploma) in which each course was undertaken and which includes:
1. structure (list of component courses and their levels, eg First-year, Advanced level),
2. entry requirements,
3. duration or usual completion time (eg three years full-time), and
4. total credit points or unit value of the program;
ii. original or certified copies of all official academic transcripts of the applicant’s formal post-secondary education studies from each post-secondary education institution attended, that are relevant to the application, and which must include a key to, or explanation or description of, the results or grades recorded;
iii. the official outline or description of each course for the specific year in which each course was undertaken and which includes:
1. the level of study (e.g. First-year, Advanced level),
2. aims and objectives,
3. topics/content covered, duration (e.g. 14 weeks, one semester),
4. weekly contact/tuition hours or expected weekly student hours if available online or by distance education,
5. assessment requirements, and
6. credit points or value of the unit or percentage of the total credit points or value of the unit within the program in which the unit was undertaken.
Applicants who have completed studies at the College are not required to provide documented evidence of these studies. For qualifications completed in a language other than English, certified translations of the relevant documents as well as certified copies of the originals must be provided.
b. An application for credit based on informal or non-formal learning may include:
- samples of work,
- project briefs,
- documentation stating objectives, learning outcomes, content and contact hours of the course
- certificates of participation
- employment history and employment position descriptions,
- letters of support from appropriate persons who can verify these details
Applications for credit may be lodged at any time. However, they should normally be lodged no later than the last working day in the January or June preceding the commencement of any semester in which the granting of credit may affect the student’s study program.
9. Assessment and Approval of Credit
a. Assessment of the Credit Application
All applications for credit will be assessed by the relevant Course Co-ordinator and possibly in consultation with Unit Co-ordinator/s where specified credit has been requested. In considering applications for credit, the assessor/s will take into account the comparability and equivalence of:
- Learning outcomes
- Volume of learning
- In cases where the amount of studies undertaken by an applicant has not been identified in terms of credit points or equivalent, the number of hours of study may have to be used as the basis for a determination. For this purpose, a 6 credit point College unit course is normally indicative of ten hours of learning activities per week, ie nominally, completion of approximately 130-160 hours.
- The program of study including content, and
- Learning and assessment approaches.
b. Outcome of the Assessment for Credit
The Assessor/s, after considering the application may:
- Grant the amount of credit sought by the student
- Grant credit in excess of the amount sought by the student
- Grant credit at a smaller amount than that sought by the student
- Refuse to grant credit
- Request that additional information be provided either in written form or via an interview.
The assessor will recommend credit in any combination of specified, unspecified, or block credit without exceeding the maximum amount of credit available into the course (See Section 3).
The assessor may alternately recommend the exemption of specific introductory units in a course without granting credit points, enabling the student to undertake alternate units in their place. This recommendation may require specifying the replacement units (in consultation with the student) in order to achieve the learning outcomes for the course, considering the impact of any exemption in the overall structure of the course and course learning outcomes.
c. Approval of the Credit Assessment Recommendation
The recommendation from the Course Co-ordinator will be forwarded to the Dean of Studies for review and final approval.
d. Notification of the Decision
The College will provide written notification to the student regarding the outcome of the credit application within five (5) days of the approval of the decision. The notification will detail the amount and types of credit that have been granted for prior learning. In cases in which less credit is granted than was requested, the College shall provide an explanation for the basis upon which the decisionhas been made. All records of the Credit Assessment and outcome shall be retained no less that two years after the student has ceased studies with us. Overseas students must formally accept any credit transfer offer and will be advised the revised expected course completion date.
10. Recording of Transfer Credit
a. Recording of Specified Credit
Specified credit will be recorded with the College unit of study, the number of credit points and a grade of RPL for informal or non-formal learning and TC for formal learning.
b. Recording of Unspecified Credit
Unspecified credit will be recorded as “Unspecified Credit – Level # (5-9) with the number of credit points and a grade of RPL for informal or non-formal learning and TC for formal learning..
c. Recording of Block Credit
Block Credit will be recorded as “Block Credit in (Field of Study) with the number of credit points and a grade of RPL for informal or non-formal learning and TC for formal learning.
d. Recording of exempted units
Exempted units of study will be recorded with the College unit of study, 0 credit points and a grade of EX.
Students of the College or applicants with an offer of admission to a College course who are dissatisfied with the outcome of a credit application may request a review of the decision. Such a review request must be accompanied by a full statement concerning the basis for the review.
A request for a review of a credit decision may be lodged with the Principal who will review the initial decision in terms of this credit policy. On completion of the review, applicants will be 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.
A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of a review of a credit decision may appeal to an external body under the provisions of the Grievance Procedures.