Section 1 - Executive Summary
(1) The University of Newcastle (University) grants credit for prior learning to recognise that students may already have achieved some program learning outcomes through knowledge, understanding and skills gained through formal, non-formal and informal learning.
(2) This document outlines the requirements for assessing recognition of prior learning including formal and non-formal learning; the granting of credit; and the development and approval of institutional articulation arrangements.
(3) This document applies to credit towards coursework programs and awards created and offered by the University, including:
- enabling programs;
- undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs; and
- coursework programs offered by the University to students studying in Australia and offshore, including those in which students enrol through a partner institution.
(4) The audience for this document is students who are seeking credit and staff with responsibility for administering credit applications. Staff who have a role in administering credit applications are outlined in Clause xx.
(5) In the context of this document:
||means the staff member with responsibility for processing the credit applications and ocrresponding outcomes for students.
||means an authorised officer who has delegated authority to consider and detemine the outcome of an appeal of an academic decision relating to credit.
||Articulation arrangements enable students to progress from a completed or partially completed qualification to another with admission and/or credit in a defined qualification pathway. See also credit transfer.
||Block credit is credit granted towards whole stages or components of a program of learning leading to a qualification.
||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 advanced standing. Credit may be specified or unspecified (see below).
||Credit transfer is a process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualificaiton based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications. Credit transfer involves mapping, comparing, and evaluating the extent to which the learning outcomes, discipline content, and assessment requirements of one qualification meet the requirements of another qualification.
||Pathways allow students to move through qualification levels with full or partial recognition for the qualifications and/or learning outcomes successfully met. See also credit, credit transfer, recognition of prior learning and articulation arrangement.
|Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
||Recognition of prior learning is a process that assesses an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of the individual’s application for credit.
||Learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to full or partial achievement of an officially accredited course.
||Learning gained through work, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. It is not organised or structured in terms of objectives, time, or learning support.
||Learning that takes place through a structured program of learning but does not lead to an officially accredited qualification.
||Credit that is granted towards particular or specific components of a qualification or program of learning.
||Credit that is granted towards courses on a course list or elective components of a qualification or program of learning.
Key Principles of Credit
(6) The key principles of credit provision require that the granting of credit must:
- be evidence-based, equitable and transparent;
- be applied consistently and fairly with decisions subject to appeal and review;
- 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;
- take into account the students’ ability to successfully meet the learning outcomes of the qualification;
- be determined in a timely manner so that students’ access to qualifications is not unnecessarily hindered;
- allow for credit outcomes to be used to meet prerequisites or other specified requirements for entry into a program of study that leads to a qualification; or for the partial fulfillment of the requirements of a qualification; and
- be formally documented for the student, including any reasons for not giving credit.
Roles and Responsibilities
(7) Authorised officers with defined roles and responsibilities in the context of this document are:
Consider and determine the outcome of credit applications on a case-by-case basis for specified and unspecified courses, in accordance with provisions of this document and the Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency
Determine if the outcomes of a credit application should not be used as a precedent.
Seek advice, as appropriate, if an application for credit is for a course(sO convened by another School
||Assess an application for recognition of prior learning for WiL courses on a case-by-case basis, and make a recommendation for consideration of credit to the Program Convenor.
|Assistant Dean (Education)
||Consider and determine the outcome of an application for credit on a case-by-case basis in the absence of or in place of the Program Convenor.
|Deputy Head of College (Education)
||Consider and determine the outcome of an application for credit on a case-by-case basis in the absence of or in place of the Program Convenor.
|Chair of College Board / Chair of Pathways and Academic Learning Support Centre Board
Approve domestic and international articulation agreements. Subject to conditions of delegation of authority.
Act as the Appeal Officer for decisions made by the Program Convenor / Assistant Dean (Education) / Deputy Head of College (Education).
|Relevant Global Office, Newcastle Australia Institute of Higher Education (NAIHE) and Student Central Staff
Grant credit in line with approved articulation arrangements and precedents.
Grant credit for identical courses taken at the University subject to conditions listed in this Policy.
Grant up to 20 units of unspeciﬁed elective credit at 1000 level and 20 units of unspeciﬁed elective credit at 2000 level for completed AQF Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas, subject to conditions listed in this Policy.
Grant unspeciﬁed credit for elective courses for studies completed at an equivalent level at an Australian higher education or equivalent institution.
Notify students of Program Convenor determinations.
Rescind credit at the request of the student.
Rescind credit where students are over-enrolled.
Reject any applications that fall outside of the eligibility criteria set out in this Policy for credit, including applications for cross institutional enrolment.
Record and maintain approved articulation arrangements in the credit transfer precedent database.
(8) Appeal Officers in the context of this Policy are:
|Original Decision Maker
|Student Central staff and Pathways and Academic Learning Support Centre staff
||Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar
|Course coordinator / Program Convenor / Assistant Dean (Education)
Relevant College Pro Vice-Chancellor
Head of Domestic Programs (PALSC)
|Relevant College Pro Vice-Chancellor
||Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President
Recognition of Prior Learning Criteria
(9) In accordance with the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF) and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), in making a decision regarding an application for credit, the Program Convenor must:
- be satisfied that the student possesses the capacity to succeed (and is not disadvantaged by the granting of credit) in achieving the remaining program learning outcomes; and
- ensure that the integrity of the program and qualification are maintained.
(10) The Program Convenor must also:
- be satisfied that the student’s prior learning outcomes and assessment approaches?, volume of learning, and program of study are comparable or equivalent to the relevant component of the University program for which credit is being sought;
- consider any accreditation requirements that may limit or prevent credit being granted;
- ensure maximum credit for prior learning is in line with the maximum credit listed in the relevant Awards and Programs Schedules to the Awards and Graduation Policy. Individual exceptions may apply, and these will be listed in the appendix to the relevant Award and Programs Schedule or within the relevant approved program Schedule.
(11) Credit may be granted for study undertaken in an AQF or a non-AQF compliant program, deemed to be at an appropriate academic level, with demonstrated comparable or equivalent:
- learning outcomes;
- volume of learning;
- content; and
- learning and assessment approaches.
(12) Credit for courses will be assessed and will only be granted where it is deemed that the student has met the learning outcomes.
(13) Credit may be granted for identical courses taken at the University that:
- count towards the new program, including any identified equivalent courses that form part of a Program and Course Approval Committee (PCAC) approved transition arrangement for the program;
- do not exceed any limitations as set out in the relevant Schedules or variances listed in the Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency schedule to this Policy, unless the credit is for students transferring from an incomplete University of Newcastle program.
(14) The University offers pathway programs where the completion of:
- 40 units in an undergraduate Certificate may be used for up to 40 units of credit into a Bachelor or Bachelor (Honours) program or Diploma program;
- 80 units in a Diploma may be used for up to 80 units of credit into a Bachelor or Bachelor (Honours) program.
- 40 units in a Graduate Certificate may be used for up to 40 units of credit into a postgraduate program.
(15) Where undertaken at an appropriate academic level, credit may be granted for courses and awards completed at:
- recognised Australian higher education institutions;
- recognised overseas tertiary institutions;
- registered Australian private providers of accredited tertiary education courses; and
- registered Australian Education and Training providers.
(16) Credit may be granted for courses completed with passing grades (or equivalent).
(17) Credit will not be granted for:
- courses with the following results:
- terminating pass (or equivalent); or
- conceded pass (or equivalent); or
- incomplete, special circumstances or withdrawn without academic penalty (or equivalent); or
- fail grade, including withdrawn fail.
- completed qualifications equivalent to AQF Level 3 or below;
- completed qualifications equivalent to AQF Level 4, except where an articulation arrangement has been approved by the PCAC;
- Certificates of Participation or Statements of Attainment, unless undertaken in an AQF compliant or a non-AQF compliant program as per clause 20;
- incomplete AQF Diplomas or Advanced Diplomas which were undertaken at a VET or private provider; or
- any course that is substantially equivalent to one that the student has previously counted towards the same award;
- AQF Certificates at Level 4 and below provide vocational training skills below the minimum learning outcomes required for university level of study. Exceptions may be made where these qualifications form part of the volume of learning of a completed AQF Diploma or Advanced Diploma which exists as part of an articulation/credit transfer agreement.
(18) Undergraduate course will not count as credit in postgraduate programs, except where undergraduate courses are explicitly included in the program or where the undergraduate qualification is included as an admission pathway that leads to a reduction in the volume of learning required for the postgraduate program.
(19) Specified Credit
- Specified credit may be granted for the successful completion of a specific course or courses where the learning outcomes are the same and there is substantial overlap of content.
- Where specified credit has been approved, such approval may be used as a precedent for the awarding of that credit in equivalent circumstances for three years.
- Alterations by an articulation partner to approved articulation arrangements are not permitted. Variations to an approved articulation arrangement will be treated as an independent application for credit and will be subject to the standard application procedure.
- For specified credit to be approved the previous knowledge and skills of an applicant must still be current in the context of the program to which the student has been admitted. If the credit is for a WIL course, the experience must be relevant and current to the industry.
(20) Unspecified Credit
- Unspecified credit may be granted for the successful completion of a specific course or courses deemed to be at an appropriate level or for informal prior learning. The credit will be applied to courses on a course list, or electives.
- he relevant Authorised Officer may grant up to 20 units of unspecified elective credit at 1000 level and 20 units of unspecified elective credit at 2000 level for completed AQF Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas, subject to the relevant Awards and Programs Schedule and the College approved variances listed in the Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency schedule to this Policy.
- The relevant Authorised Officer may grant unspecified credit for elective courses for studies completed at an equivalent level at an Australian higher education or equivalent institution or for informal prior learning.
(21) Credit for Combined Programs
- Credit for combined programs may be granted in accordance with the Program Management Manual - Coursework. Credit may be limited depending on the structure of the combined program.
(22) Articulation Arrangements and Credit Transfer
- The University may enter into formal articulation arrangements with another education provider to provide formal pathways for students.
- The University may consider the completion of units of study at another education institution, and the credit for these units may be transferred upon determination of equivalency of content. These arrangements are known as credit transfers.
- International students on articulation arrangements must complete all remaining courses at the University.
- The relevant Chair of College Board or Chair of PALSC Board approve articulation arrangements with recognised overseas tertiary institutions, registered private providers of accredited tertiary education courses, and Australian registered providers in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, subject to the requirement that:
- the volume of credit to be awarded does not exceed the maximum credit listed in the relevant Schedule; and
- the students will meet the relevant admission criteria.
- The College Pro Vice-Chancellor will report to Academic Senate via College Board on program articulation arrangements within their College.
- Domestic private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and private VET Colleges wishing to have credit articulation arrangements with the University are required to lodge an application through the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar.
- The Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar will refer all such applications to the relevant College Pro Vice-Chancellor to make a determination and advise the RTO of the outcome.
- Where articulation arrangements have been approved, they may be applied by the relevant Authorised Officer, without additional approval.
- All new credit transfer and articulation agreements must be developed following the AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy (Australian Qualifications Framework – Qualifications Pathways Policy January 2013, section 2.1.9) using the following as the basis of negotiations for qualifications in the same or related discipline:
- up to a maximum of 120 units credit for a completed AQF level 6 qualification into a 3-year Bachelor Degree or a 4 year Bachelor or Bachelor (Honours) Degree; or
- up to a maximum of 80 units credit for a completed AQF level 5 qualification into a 3-year Bachelor Degree or 4- year Bachelor or Bachelor (Honours) Degree.
- Existing credit transfer and articulation agreements will be honoured for the life of those agreements.
- Articulation arrangements are reviewed on expiry and must be renegotiated by the relevant College when a program undergoes a major or minor program revision or in response to the outcomes of an external program review. Agreements with:
- Australian providers expire after seven years;
- international providers, memoranda of understanding, letters of credit and pathway arrangements are valid until the agreement expires. The duration of individual arrangements may vary.
- The progression of students admitted with credit or on an articulation arrangement will be monitored to compare their performance against students admitted without credit and reported annually to the Academic Senate.
- The XXX?? will provide an annual report to Academic Senate of all active articulation arrangements.
(23) Cross-Institutional Credit
- Students must apply, pay any applicable fees, and receive formal written permission from the University before enrolling at another institution.
- Cross-institutional credit may be granted to undergraduate and postgraduate students who have successfully completed a minimum of 40 units of their program.
- Assessment for cross-institutional credit may be approved by the relevant Program Convenor. Students cannot exceed the maximum credit provisions as listed in the relevant Schedule by undertaking cross-institutional study. This means that where a student has commenced study at the University and has been granted maximum credit they will be ineligible to undertake cross-institutional study.
- A maximum of 40 units of cross-institutional credit may be approved, including a maximum of 10 units at the 3000 level within a 240 unit program; or 4000 level within a 320 unit program. The relevant College Pro Vice- Chancellor is authorised to approve cross-institutional study exceeding the 10 unit maximum in circumstances where the student would be significantly disadvantaged.
- For combined degree programs a maximum of 10 units at the highest level may be applied to each of the individual program components.
- International students on articulation arrangements will not be permitted to undertake any cross-institutional study.
- Other limitations may apply in the Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency Schedule to this Policy.
- The provisions listed in clauses 58 and 59 do not apply to students on study abroad or exchange. However, students must apply for credit as outlined in the Outbound Student Mobility Procedure.
Recognition of informal and non-formal learning.
- (a) The Program Convenor with input from Course Coordinator and academic staff, will conduct an initial assessment on whether the informal or non-formal learning achieves the learning outcomes and may determine that:
- the learning outcomes are achieved, or
- the provision of further evidence is required (step b); or
- learning outcomes are not achieved and credit is not granted (step d).
- Applicants may be asked to provide additional evidence within a specified timeframe to support the application. The evidence required will be determined by the relevant Program Convenor with input from Course Coordinator and academic staff, and may include an interview or other form of assessment such as an examination (a supervised examination will be conducted under the provisions XXXX Policy). The Program Convenor will determine if the applicant is required to meet the cost of this assessment.
- After assessing the additional evidence, the Program Convenor will make a final decision on the application.
- Domestic Admissions will inform domestic applicants of the final decision as part of their offer letter to study at the University or via separate email, including the reasons why an application for credit has not been approved.
- International Admissions will inform international applicants through a new offer specifying the new (if shortened) duration of the Confirmation of Enrolment.
- Unsuccessful applicants will be advised of their right of appeal
- acceptance of credit will be from the student's date of admission;
- students will receive written notice of the outcome of their RPL application within XX weeks of the submission of their application.
- Approval for credit on admission to a program will be valid for one calendar year. Credit approval will lapse if the applicant does not accept and actively enrol in the program to which they are admitted within twelve months. Where credit approval has lapsed, the applicant may re-apply, but the original approval is not guaranteed.
- A time limit may apply 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. Such arrangements will be included in the Program Based Credit Limits and Currency. The Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency schedule, appended to this Policy must be approved as part of a major program revision.
- Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency includes:
- provisions relating to the currency of courses which should be no greater than the maximum duration of the program;
- limitation on the granting of credit for particular programs; and
- limitation on the granting of credit for core, compulsory, and courses on a course list.
(25) Rescinding Credit
- A domestic student or an international student studying offshore may make a request in writing to Student Central to rescind credit.
- An international student studying on a student visa must seek permission from the Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Registrar to rescind credit. If the request will impact on the student’s visa the request is may be denied.
- Credit for exchange or cross-institutional studies cannot be rescinded.
- The University reserves the right to rescind credit where an error has been made or where the documentation provided by the applicant is incomplete, or inaccurate.
(26) Credit Precedents
- All credit determinations will be utilised as a credit precedent unless designated as a non-precedent by the Program Convenor at the time of granting credit.
(27) Record Keeping
- Credit precedents will be stored in the University's student record system for the term of their currency and may be applied by a relevant Authorised Officer.
- Approved credit will be recorded on the student’s official academic record and in accordance with the Record & Information Management Policy.
- Submission of falsified or inaccurate documentation in relation to applications for credit may result in actions being taken under the Student Conduct Rule.
(28) The University offers the right of appeal against credit decisions.
- An appeal of a decision concerning a credit application must be made within five working days of notice of the determination of credit.
- Appeals must be made and determined in accordance with the Academic Appeals Policy.
- An appeal on the grounds of outcome alone will not be considered.
- The determination of the Appeal Officer is final..
- The student may have the right to further appeal outside the University.
(29) To provide for exceptional circumstances arising in any particular case (for an individual student or student cohort), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice President and President Academic Senate in a joint capacity and on the recommendation of a College Pro Vice-Chancellor, may relax a provision of this Policy except for clauses relating to the determination of appeals against credit outcomes.
(30) Program-Based Credit Limits and Currency
(31) Higher Education Standards Framework
(32) TEQSA Guidance note – Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning
(33) Australian Qualifications Framework Pathways Policy
(34) DRAFT Microcredentials Framework