Quality Manual
   
   
  

Recognition of Other Learning (previously APL)

 

1. Introduction

This policy deals with all instances where credit towards a University qualification is awarded by the University by means other than enrolling on University modules (though see the policy on Double Counting) or participating in formal placement or joint degree arrangements.

Schools are responsible for making those who might be eligible for the recognition of prior learning aware of the opportunities available and supporting them through the process of application and assessment for recognition in line with the policy stated below.

Schools must make explicit their arrangements for making decisions on ROL applications in line with the policy below.  Policy should ensure decisions are valid, reliable and consistent across students and programmes and that they are balanced against operating processes which are proportionate and flexible.

 

2. Scope

The policy covers:

  • Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL) i.e. recognition is given in the form of credits to learning which is certified and at a higher education level but has not led to the award of higher education credits (such as professional development awards or employment-based awards).
  • Recognition of Prior Experiential (or informal) Learning (RPEL) i.e. an assessment process on the part of academic staff within the University leads to the recognition of learning gained through vocational or other experience usually through the award of credit.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) i.e. where credits or qualifications have been awarded by a higher education degree-awarding body in accordance with the higher education qualifications framework.  Credit Transfer can either be on the basis of an individual application, as covered in this policy, or as part of a formal arrangement with an external institution as referred to in the policy Managing Higher Education Provision with Others

The admitting School determines the status of that award     (including considerations of volume and level) as it relates to the programme the applicant wishes RPL to be applied to.

The term Recognition of Other Learning (ROL) is used in this policy where Certified (RPCL), Experiential (RPEL) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) are being referred to together.

The University places no requirement on schools to grant ROL or to consider ROL applications if a school or programme has a policy of not so doing.

The effects of previous research study on the minimum periods of registration for research degrees are contained in the Regulations for those degrees.

The expectation is that all elements of a ROL application will be submitted in English except for official certification and where the subject of study is a language or literature other than English.

The University’s policy on Managing Higher Education Provision with Others should be referred to for guidance about mark and credit transfer for students on Study Abroad Placements at Educational Institutions where this an integral part of their programme of study. 

 

 University of Nottingham qualification towards which ROL being granted

Maximum RPL credits 

Maximum RPCL/RPEL credits 

 Foundation Certificate

 80

 40

 Undergraduate Certificate

 80

40 

 Undergraduate Diploma

 160

80 

 Ordinary Degree (Part I only)*

 120

100 

 Honours Degree (Qualifying and Part I only)

 240

120 

 Graduate Certificate

 40

 20

 Graduate Diploma

 80

 40

 Integrated Masters (Qualifying and Part I only)

 240

160 

 Postgraduate Certificate

 40

20 

 Postgraduate Diploma

 80

40 

 Masters (Taught stage only)

 80

60 

Research Master (MRes, MSc (by Research), MA (by Research))

60

60

 Professional Doctorates (where the research element is weighted at two-thirds and the taught element weighted at one-third of the programme

 120

 120

3. Applications for ROL

It is the student’s responsibility to apply for ROL and to provide all the necessary evidence to support their application.  Where the learning has occurred prior to the student being admitted to the University, application for ROL should be made before the student first registers with the University as Schools may choose not to consider any applications for ROL submitted after admission.

All applications for ROL will be decided upon by the admitting School and the School can ask the student for any supporting evidence it deems necessary in order to make a decision on the application.  The School may also wish to interview the applicant.  As a minimum, applicants should include in their submission for ROL the following information (though Schools may choose to waive some of these requirements where the ROL will count only towards the Foundation or Qualifying Stage):

All applications:

  • The number of credits for which ROL is being sought and the stage in the student’s programme at the University (e.g. Qualifying stage, Part I) against which the credits will be counted.
  • Any specific modules or category of modules from which exemption is being sought as a result of the ROL.

 

Applications for ROL or CTAE:

  • The title, location, and nature of the institution at which the learning occurred.
  • The dates of attendance at the institution and of any qualifications obtained.
  • A statement of the equivalence of any qualifications obtained to levels and qualifications detailed in the University’s Qualifications Framework
  • Curriculum details of subjects studied at the institution.
  • An authorised transcript of marks and details of the marking scheme used by the institution.

 

Applications for RPEL

  • An account of the activities undertaken which have resulted in learning, including the dates and duration of these activities.
  • A detailed statement of what has been learned from these activities.
  • Confirmation from an employer or other objective source of the activities and learning claimed by the student.

 

Schools may choose to charge a fee for considering a ROL application; such a fee, though, should be kept to a minimum and be designed only to cover the cost of assessing the application.  Where fees are charged, these are likely to be higher for an RPEL than for an RPCL or CTAE application.  Applicants should note that if RPEL is granted, and fewer credits are therefore studied, the resulting tuition fees will be as set out in the University’s fees regulations.  Applicants should also note that the reduction in the number of credits being studied may prevent them from having the status of full-time students.

4. Approving ROL Applications

Schools are responsible for approving ROL applications but should not approve them unless the following criteria are satisfied:

  • The factual statements contained in the application have been substantiated (either by the School or the Admissions Office) such that there is sufficient evidence of the learning claimed and that it is clearly the result of the applicant's own efforts and achievements. 
  • The prior learning has taken place in the last ten years (many Schools will, of course, require the learning to have occurred much more recently).
  • The student has gained pass marks in those modules or units for which APL is being claimed.
  • There is a close match between the prior learning and the level and learning outcomes of those modules which will not be taken as a result of the ROL.
  • The limitations on granting ROL contained in the policy on Limitations on ROL and policy on Double Counting have not been breached.

The School may have additional criteria which must also be satisfied. All decisions to grant ROL must be reported to the Admissions Office by submitting the attached form or equivalent and recorded against the student’s academic record.

5. Information to Individual ROL Applicants

Students applying for direct entry to Part I via UCAS will receive a decision on their application via UCAS in the same manner as other applicants. For other ROL applicants, the following arrangements apply: 

Students applying for ROL should be sent this policy by the School and should also be told: 

  • Whether a fee will be charged for considering an ROL application and the amount of that fee.
  • The information the student will be expected to provide and any deadlines for providing it.
  • The likely timescale for considering the application.
  • Whether they will receive feedback on their assessment on either a successful or rejected case.

 

Alternatively, the applicant should be told that the School/programme has a policy of not granting ROL, if that is the case. Once a decision has been made by the School, the student should be told in writing by the School: 

  • Whether or not ROL is being granted.
  • The number of credits being awarded, their level, and the stage of the student’s course against which the credits are being counted.
  • The marks which have been attributed to the credits being awarded.  Or, in the case of a student receiving ROL for which no marks have been attributed, the arrangements for progression and classification.
  • Any specific modules or groups of modules from which the student is being exempted as the result of the ROL.
  • Any restrictions on the student’s module choice over and above normal University and supplementary regulations.

 

The written communication containing this information should be copied to Academic Services Division or equivalent.

6. Further Guidance for Schools

  • Where a cohort of students will be receiving ROL, please refer to Group Agreements (below)
  • For details of the amount of ROL that can be awarded, please see Limitations on ROL (below)
  • For guidance on situations in which students may receive more than one award, please see section Double Counting section (below) 
  • For guidance on the effect of ROL on progression or classification, please see the Compensation and Classification section (below). 

Group Articulations on ROL

Schools may establish agreements with other educational institutions to grant ROL to groups of applicants to their courses who have obtained a particular qualification or successfully undertaken specified periods of study. In making such an agreement, Schools should, as a minimum, ask for the same information about the learning that students routinely gain from the institution or organisation as is indicated in section 2 of the Policy for individual applicants.  In determining whether to enter into a group ROL agreement, Schools should apply the same criteria as specified in section 3 of the Policy for individual applicants.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) underpinning group ROL should be drafted with reference to the QAA Quality Code for Higher Education Chapter B10 Managing Higher Education Provision with Others  and the University’s guidance on MoAs and be submitted to Quality and Standards Committee for consideration prior to signature.  Details of the students being admitted through such agreements should be reported to Student Services Development or equivalent. 

All group ROL agreements should be reviewed by the School as part of periodic Education Enhancement Assurance Review. Statistics relating to the progress and achievement of group ROL students compared to the rest of the cohort should be considered by the School as part of annual monitoring of programmes.

 

 

7. Limitations on ROL

  • The maximum amount of CTAE or CTPE which can be awarded towards University of Nottingham undergraduate qualifications is two-thirds of the total credits for the programme.
  • The maximum amount of RPEL which can be awarded towards University of Nottingham undergraduate qualifications is one-third of the total credits for the programme.
  • The maximum amount of RPEL which can be awarded towards University of Nottingham postgraduate qualifications is two-thirds of the credits for the taught stage of the programme,

except that

  • RPEL cannot be granted towards Part II or equivalent or Part III of an undergraduate programme, nor towards the dissertation stage of a Masters programme.
  • If ROL based on a combination of certified, credited and experiential learning are granted to the same student, the overall number of credits awarded must not exceed the maxima for ROL.
  • The limitations applied to group articulations of CTPE will be set out in the relevant MoA.
  • ROL granted for previous study at Nottingham is not subject to the limitations stated below, but see guidance on Double Counting in Section 8. 

Note: ROL should be granted only for whole modules or groups of modules.  

These amounts are set out in detail below. The lower maxima for RPCL and RPEL credits is a result of the greater distance from this form of learning to that which generally occurs in University of Nottingham modules:

 

 

 University of Nottingham qualification towards which ROL being granted

Maximum CTAE/CTPE credits 

Maximum RPCL/RPEL credits 

 Foundation Certificate

 80

 40

 Undergraduate Certificate

 80

40 

 Undergraduate Diploma

 160

80 

 Ordinary Degree (Part I only)*

 120

100 

 Honours Degree (Qualifying and Part I only)

 240

120 

 Graduate Certificate

 40

 20

 Graduate Diploma

 80

 40

 Integrated Masters (Qualifying and Part I only)

 240

160 

 Postgraduate Certificate

 40

20 

 Postgraduate Diploma

 80

40 

 Masters (Taught stage only)

 80

60 

Research Master (MRes, MSc (by Research), MA (by Research))

60

60

 Professional Doctorates (where the research element is weighted at two-thirds and the taught element weighted at one-third of the programme

 120

 120

 

    *From 2015/16 this degree is only available as an exit award as outlined in the policy relating to Application of regulations for students who fail to meet Honours requirements.

 

Application of regulations for students who fail to meet Honours requirements.
 

 

8. Double Counting

ROL can be granted for all learning from other educational institutions, even if that learning has already resulted in the award of a qualification similar to, or the same as, the qualification to be awarded to the student by the University of Nottingham.  Similarly, the University places no restrictions on other institutions awarding qualifications on the basis of credits or qualifications gained at Nottingham.

ROL towards a University of Nottingham qualification may be granted for learning which has taken place in a previous period of study at the University, even if that learning has led to a Nottingham award e.g. a student who has already left with a Bachelors degree may subsequently be allowed to return and take a further year for the award of an Integrated Masters degree.  No credits below Honours level (University level 3) may be used as ROL for a postgraduate programme.  In accordance with the Admissions Procedures, individuals who have previously registered for and been unsuccessful on a course at the University of Nottingham may not apply to the same programme again and the ROL procedure does not apply to such potential candidates.

ROL from a University of Nottingham qualification may not be used to count towards a second Nottingham qualification which is both at the same level and in a similar subject to the first e.g. a student who has left with a BA Honours in Anthropology would not be able to count ROL from this programme towards a second BA Honours in Social Anthropology.  The exceptions to this are that a student who has successfully completed a Postgraduate Diploma programme (ie was not awarded a Postgraduate Diploma as a result of failure on a Masters programme) may subsequently be allowed to return and to undertake a dissertation for the award of a Masters and that a student who has successfully completed an Integrated Masters programme may use credits from that programme towards a Postgraduate Masters programme subject to approval from the admitting school and to the limitations on ROL above.

 

 

9. Compensation and Classification

i. Where marks are awarded

In the case of credits gained through CTAE and CTPE, marks should, if possible, be attributed to the credits using the same procedure as for marks transfer of Exchange students. Marks may also be awarded for RPCL and RPEL through appropriate assessment of the student’s portfolio of evidence.

The compensation arrangements in the University’s study regulations will, however, only operate on the basis of modules studied at the University.  In the case of undergraduate students, for example, a student must have passed 80 credits worth of modules taken at the University of Nottingham in order to be in a position to compensate any modules that have been failed at the University. Marks attributed to credits gained through ROL will, though, be used to calculate the student’s overall average for both compensation and classification purposes.

ii. Where marks are not awarded

If the School does not believe it has sufficient information to attribute accurate marks to the credits gained through ROL, the following arrangements are to be followed in determining compensation (for progression purposes) and classification of awards for students:

  • In calculating the weighted average mark for purposes of compensation, only credits derived from modules on which the student has enrolled will be used. For example if a student has received 20 credits of ROL, then the student’s average mark will be obtained by dividing the weighted aggregate mark by just 100 rather than the normal 120. Credits gained through ROL will not count towards the minimum number of credits that must be passed in order for compensation to occur.
  • In calculating the overall weighted average for classification purposes, only credits derived from modules on which the student has enrolled will be used. For example if an Honours student has received 20 credits of ROL at Part I, then the student’s Part I average will be obtained by dividing the weighted aggregate mark for Part I by just 100 rather than the normal 120.  If the student is enrolling on less than 100 credits in Part I of an undergraduate programme, the School may decide to set a non-standard Part I/II weighting for that student which allocates a lower than normal weighting to Part I.

 

Revised 17 November 2014

 

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