Site Navigation

Part A - Policy

Recognition of Prior Learning


1. Introduction
2. Definitions
3. Applicability of Academic Regulations
4. Purposes for which RPL May be Used
5. Availability of Advice on RPL
6. Principles for Assessment of Applications for RPL
7. Time Limit


1. Introduction

Australian Catholic University (ACU) supports an approach which values all learning, however achieved, through an open and transparent approach to assessment. It acknowledges that learning may be achieved through either non-formal or informal pathways, and that provision should exist for recognition of these. Accordingly, this policy for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) provides for:

  • opportunities for non-formal and informal learning to be recognised for purposes of entry to a course or obtaining credit towards an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification;
  • recognition of diverse and inclusive pathways to lifelong learning;
  • assuring the quality, integrity and standing of ACU qualifications.

[Back to Top]

2. Definitions

In this policy and procedures the following meanings apply:

RPL: An assessment process for recognising relevant non-formal and informal learning by collecting evidence and making judgments on the extent to which an individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes or standards for entry to and/or partial or total completion of a qualification.

Assessment: A process that identifies the purpose and the evidence required, provides a range of ways for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the required outcomes, makes judgments based on the evidence provided and records and reports the assessment findings.

Formal Learning: The attainment of formal qualifications or part thereof for study undertaken at anaccredited education provider within the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Non-Formal learning: Relevant skills, knowledge or competencies that have been 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.

Informal Learning: Learning acquired in an informal context, such as through work and/or life experiences.

Learning or competency outcomes: A learning or competency outcome that a learner should know and/or be able to do as a result of being involved in a learning process. The learning should indicate a conceptual as well as a practical grasp of the knowledge or competency required and be applicable outside the environment in which it was acquired.

[Back to Top]

3. Applicability of Academic Regulations

This policy and procedures will be applied subject to the Academic Regulations.

[Back to Top]

4. Purposes for which RPL May be Used

RPL may be used:

  1. to gain entry to a course or qualification, as an alternative to having undertaken and completed the prerequisites for entry based on formal education and training; and/or
  2. to gain credit towards a course or qualification.

It is necessary to compare the non-formal or informal learning the individual has achieved against the learning outcomes or performance criteria required for:

  1. entry to a course or qualification; and/or
  2. credit to be granted for partial or full completion of requirements for a course or qualification

[Back to Top]

5. Availability of Advice on RPL

5.1 Heads of School will nominate a member/s of academic staff such as a Course Coordinator (hereafter referred to as the RPL Advisor) to provide applicants with advice on RPL processes and the formulation of their application.

5.2 The specific responsibilities of the RPL Advisor in this regard are to:

  1. assist applicants to understand the RPL assessment process;
  2. assist applicants to reflect on and identify the learning or competency outcomes associated with their experience and identify areas where claims might be formulated;
  3. assist applicants to identify the relevant units/course/qualification most suited to their needs;
  4. following preliminary assessment, provide advice on the learning or competency outcomes against which students will be assessed;
  5. advise on gathering valid, current, sufficient and reliable evidence, the authentication required and the format of applications;
  6. provide information about the administrative procedures for receiving RPL applications, administering assessment, fees, recording RPL assessment outcomes and advising students regarding such decisions and appeal processes.

5.3 An applicant may be provided with an initial consultation of up to one hour to assist in the preparation of an application. If the consultation needs to be extended, this will attract an hourly charge.

[Back to Top]

6. Principles for Assessment of Applications for RPL

6.1 Assessment for RPL will:

  1. be evidence and outcome-based;
  2. be equitable, culturally inclusive, transparent and accountable;
  3. involve assessment processes of a comparable standard and integrity to those used to assess the relevant unit/course/qualification;
  4. be subject to quality assurance practices comparable to other assessment practices within the University.

6.2 The processes for RPL are designed to:

  1. identify what the applicant knows and can do;
  2. match the applicant's skills, knowledge and experiences to specific professional requirements and unit/course/qualification and learning and competency outcomes;
  3. assess the applicant's attainments against those requirements and outcomes;
  4. where appropriate, credit the applicant for their skills, knowledge, understanding and experience;
  5. record the outcome; and
  6. provide advice of the outcome to the applicant and other relevant persons.

6.3 The criteria to be employed when assessing prior non-formal or informal learning will ensure that consistent standards are maintained across the University.

6.4 If credit is granted on the basis of RPL, it may take the form of specified credit, block credit or unspecified credit, in accordance with the Academic Regulations.

6.5 Eligibility for credit does not guarantee a place in any course for which credit may be granted.

[Back to Top]

7. Time Limit

Unless the Head of School otherwise approves on the basis of evidence of subsequent development and life or work experience in the discipline, credit granted will lapse if the program is not completed within ten years from the date of completion of the study or learning on the basis of which credit is granted.

[Back to Top]

Feedback