Recognition of Prior Learning Policy

Scope of the Policy

This policy applies to most qualifications, including those on credit-based frameworks.

Review arrangements

FDE Training will review this policy annually in line with self-assessment arrangements. This policy will be also be revised as and when necessary, in response to customer and learner feedback or good practice guidance issued by an awarding organisation or other regulatory body.

Location of the Policy

This policy is available for all staff members, third parties and learners to access.

Communication of the Policy

Each staff member involved in the management, delivery, assessment and quality assurance of qualifications offered by FDE Training, shall be made aware of this policy during their induction period of employment. Learners undertaking FDE Training qualifications shall be informed of this policy during their induction process.

Policy Statement

According to the regulatory arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework and the Regulated Qualifications Framework

‘Recognition of Prior Learning is a method of assessment (leading to the award of credit) that considers whether learners can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding of skills they already possess and so not need to develop through a course of learning’.

FDE Training recognises that RPL enables recognition of achievement from a range of activities using any appropriate methodology. Provided the assessment requirements of a given unit or qualification have been met, the use of RPL is acceptable for accrediting a unit or a whole qualification. Evidence of learning must be valid and reliable.

Statement of Principles Terminology

RPL encompasses a number of terms to describe this process. Among the most common are:

  • Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
  • Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)
  • Accreditation of Prior Achievement (APA)
  • Accreditation of Prior Learning and Achievement (APLA)

These terms broadly describe the same process. Most awarding organisations use the term Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in connection with the Regulated Qualifications Framework.

Learner Entitlement

All learners shall be entitled to apply for RPL, providing the RPL is current and it meets the specific requirements of the awarding organisation governing the qualification for which they are studying.

Assessment of RPL Evidence

Assessment methods for RPL must be of equal rigour to other assessment methods, be fit for purpose and relate to the evidence of learning. Credit may be claimed for any unit through RPL unless the assessment requirements of the unit do not allow this, based on a rationale consistent with the aims and regulations of the framework. The methods of assessment used will be determined by the assessment strategy for the qualification being assessed but might, for example include:

  • Examination of documents
  • Witness testimony
  • Reflective accounts
  • Professional discussion

Where units are assessed against assessment criteria or grading criteria, then all evidence must be evaluated using the stipulated criteria. In assessing a unit using RPL the assessor must be satisfied that the evidence produced by the learner meets the assessment standard established by the learning outcome and its related assessment criteria.

It is the role of tutors, assessors and internal quality assurers to ensure that evidence of learning is:

Valid – The evidence provided by the learner must genuinely demonstrate that it conforms to the demands of the learning outcome.

Current – Currency of evidence is particularly important. For example, does the evidence meet up-to-date demands or does it reflect a practice that has significantly changed? Evidence of current knowledge, understanding and skills will vary from sector to sector. It will depend on the extent of the experience, technological changes and the nature of the outcome claimed. If the currency of any evidence is in doubt, the assessor may use questions to check understanding and for competence.

Sufficient – There must be enough evidence to fully meet the requirements of the learning outcome, or learning outcomes, to be considered. If there is insufficient evidence to fully meet requirements, then evidence obtained through RPL must be complemented by evidence gained through other suitable assessment methods before requirements can be said to have been met.

Authentic – The evidence being examined must genuinely be the work of the learner. If the evidence produced is the result of team work, then it is acceptable providing the new learning outcome is related to team / joint working, but not if it was being used as evidence of an activity which should have been carried out individually. It is important that learners understand what plagiarism means and sign a declaration of authenticity.

Reliable – Evidence obtained through RPL should be such that an assessor would arrive at the same assessment decision, were the assessment to be repeated.

RPL requests will only be applied at the discretion of the Managing Director of FDE Training.

The awarding organisation has the final decision regarding all RPL requested.

Any fees charged to FDE Training for making an RPL request to an awarding organisation will be payable by the learner making the RPL request.