UNIVERSITY OF KENT APPLICANT/ STUDENT ACCREDITATION OF PRIOR EXPERIENTIAL AND CERTIFICATED LEARNING (APECL) GUIDE

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1 UNIVERSITY OF KENT APPLICANT/ STUDENT ACCREDITATION OF PRIOR EXPERIENTIAL AND CERTIFICATED LEARNING (APECL) GUIDE Version /2011

2 Section A Understanding APECL 1. Introduction to APECL p What is credit? p Terms used (modules, learning outcomes, and mapping) p Case studies p What is APEL? p. 7-8 Section B Making APECL Claims 6. How do I know if I have an APECL claim? p How do I make an APECL claim? p Things to consider p Process for approval of APECL at Kent p. 13 Appendices: Appendix A Recommended timescales for APECL p Appendix B APECL Glossary p Appendix C FAQs p. 18 1

3 Section A Understanding APECL This section is designed to provide the background information you need to understand APECL and help you decide whether to make an APECL claim. Existing students will also find this information useful. If you are an existing student and believe you have prior learning/experience that may be relevant to an upcoming part of your programme, you should first approach your Programme Leader directly to see if you may have a claim. 1. Introduction to APECL What is APECL? The Accreditation of Prior Experiential and Certificated Learning (known as APECL at Kent) offers potential students the opportunity to gain recognition for qualifications previously achieved at other institutions, and to gain recognition for learning from other experiences, for example, in the workplace. It enables prior learning/learning from experience to be assigned an academic credit value (credit is explained in more detail in part 2), which can then be used to gain exemption from relevant modules, or even stages, of a university level programme. 1 It enables people to enter a university level programme at the point that best suits their experience and skills and helps ensure that learners do not have to repeat learning they have previously gained. APCL Recognition of previously achieved learning is called Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL): this process considers previously assessed and certificated learning and, as appropriate, recognises it for academic purposes. 2 A typical APCL claim might be: An applicant who has completed a programme, such as a Foundation Degree, who would like to use the credit from that degree towards a degree at Kent in a similar subject area. Recognising this type of prior learning is straightforward, provided: it can be evidenced through a certificate or transcript it is at the right level it is relevant to the prospective university programme the content of the prior learning can be mapped with the content of the prospective university programme APEL Recognition of learning that has not been formally awarded is called accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL): this process assesses learning achieved outside of education or training systems and, as appropriate, recognises it for academic purposes. 3 The skills and knowledge gained from these experiences can be assigned an academic credit value. To decide upon the academic value of learning from experience, applicants are asked to complete and submit a portfolio of evidence (APEL Portfolio). 4 Within the portfolio of evidence, applicants are asked to reflect on what they have learnt from their experience and identify how it is relevant to their chosen university programme. 1 Academic credit, usually referred to as credit, is awarded on completion of learning, and indicates the level and the amount of learning that has been completed. For example, a typical degree is worth 360 academic credits An APEL Portfolio is a collection of reflective writing and evidence demonstrating how experience of an applicant meets the learning outcomes of the modules for which credit is sought. See part 5 of this guidance What is APEL? for further information. 2

4 Typical APEL claims might be: Applicants with several years of work-based learning through their employment, who wish to have that learning assessed and an academic credit value assigned, to go towards a degree at Kent. Applicants who have learnt from undertaking voluntary work, self-study and/or leisure pursuits, who wish to have that learning assessed and an academic credit value assigned, to go towards a degree at Kent. Provided the evidence in the APEL Portfolio is at the right level and relevant to the prospective university programme, it is given an academic credit value. The academic credit gained for the APEL Portfolio can then be used towards a qualification, such as a degree in a subject relevant to their work experience, voluntary or leisure pursuits. APEL is a good way to convert relevant experience, particularly from the workplace, into credit at university level; however, the process is more involved than APCL and requires commitment from the applicant to produce their portfolio of evidence at the correct academic level and within the required timeframe. Benefits of APECL APECL benefits those wishing to gain university level qualifications because it: makes university level education accessible to a wide variety of individuals allows individuals to enter university at the point which best suits their skills and knowledge, avoiding the need to repeat learning already completed and saving time converts an individual s work in a professional practice into academic credit APECL is straightforward There are a number of new terms and processes to learn when considering an APECL claim, which can seem complicated at first, but the process is straightforward. A glossary of terms is included in Appendix B of this guide, and further information is available at Additional information on APECL and credit is available from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education at Credit transfer Applicants currently studying at another university, who wish to transfer to Kent, may not need to use the APECL processes described in this guide. In such cases, Kent offers the option of credit transfer, but this only relates to applications for "full stage" advance standing using an official transcript of modules from a recognised higher education provider. For example, a student completing the first year of an Economics D egree from another UK university, may be allowed to transfer directly into the second year of the Kent Economics Degree Programme provided they have supplied a transcript of 120 credits and have appropriate grades. To apply for a credit transfer in this way, you must be transferring from another university and your application must be made via UCAS. For further information, please contact the Academic Division at or visit 3

5 2. What is credit? Academic credit APECL relies on the use of academic credit (usually referred to as credit ) and transfers that credit towards university programmes. Academic credit is described by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), the body responsible for checking how universities maintain standards and quality, as being used to: summarise and describe an amount of learning; it can help to identify 'how much' learning was involved and 'how hard' it was. 5 Academic credit is given a volume and level, the volume relates to how much learning has been completed, and the level refers to the type of learning completed i.e. undergraduate or postgraduate. Volume: Typically, 1 academic credit equates to 10 hours of learning. Level: At Kent, the levels for undergraduate programmes are referred to as: - F Foundation, (also known as level 3) - C Certificate, (also known as level 4) - I Intermediate, (also known as level 5) - H Honours, (also known as level 6) Postgraduate levels are referred to as: - M Masters, (also known as level 7) - D Doctoral, (also known as level 8) How Volume and Levels Work in Practice: The following example shows how credits work in practice for a typical undergraduate Honours Degree, i.e. a BA or BSc. These are normally worth 360 credits, awarded over different levels, typically made up in the following way: credits at Certificate level/ level 4 (typically the first year of a degree) credits at Intermediate level/ level 5 (typically the second year of the degree) credits at Honours level/ level 6 (typically the third year of the degree) This example of how credit works in practice is at the postgraduate level. A Master s Degree, i.e. an MA or MSc, is typically worth 180 credits at just one level, Master s level credits at M level/ level 7 APECL enables individuals to use credit gained through prior learning, or credit awarded for learning from experience, towards a new programme of study at university. Case studies of how credits work for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes can be found in part 4 of this guide. Full information on the range of different qualifications that can be studied in the UK and the levels at which each qualification sits can be found on the QAA website: 5 4

6 3. Terms used (modules, learning outcomes and mapping) A number of terms used in APECL can appear confusing at first; a full glossary can be found in Appendix B of this guide to explain these terms. However, three frequently used terms are modules, learning outcomes, and mapping. Making an APCL or APEL claim involves mapping your prior learning with the content of your chosen university programme. Mapping is carried out by matching your prior learning/experience with the most relevant module, stage, or learning outcomes of the programme towards you wish to claim credit. Because these terms are frequently used in this guide and in the process of making an APECL claim, they are described in more detail below. Modules Modules are units of learning that make up an academic programme (i.e. a BA/BSc). A module is in a specific subject area, has a specific credit value attached to it (determined by the amount of learning involved in its completion) and has a level assigned to it (dependent on the difficulty of the content). For example, the following might represent a module on a BA/BSc in History. Module Title Amount of Credit Worth Level of Module Introduction to History 15 credits level C/ level 4 Modules are made up of learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are achieved by taking the module and passing the assessment for it (i.e. essays, exams). Once the learning outcomes for the module have been achieved, credit is awarded towards your final qualification (i.e. BA/BSc). Learning outcomes Learning outcomes are statements of what you as a learner are expected to know, understand and demonstrate following study of a particular module or academic programme. In terms of APECL, it is vital that your prior learning matches the relevant learning outcomes of the module or academic programme of study towards which you want to claim credit. This demonstrates that through your prior learning you already have the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to be assigned some credit towards your new programme of study. To identify whether you can meet the learning outcomes of your new programme, a mapping exercise is carried out. Mapping Mapping compares your prior learning with the relevant learning outcomes of the module, stage or programme at Kent towards which you want to claim credit. This process identifies learning outcomes from your prior learning and lays them side by side with the relevant learning outcomes for which you want to claim credit. You are not required to have a 100% fit between your prior learning and the relevant learning outcomes you want to claim credit for, but a visibly close match is required to show that you have achieved the learning required for credit towards your new programme of study. The mapping process differs depending on the type of APECL being claimed: APCL mapping You will identify the learning outcomes of previously achieved certificated learning and map these against the relevant learning outcomes of the module(s), stage or programme for your new programme of study. You will be required to hand in your certificate and/or transcript as evidence of your achievement. APEL mapping You will map the learning from your experience against the relevant learning outcomes of the module(s), stage or programme for your new programme of study. 5

7 You will be required to present an APEL Portfolio a collection of work produced by you to demonstrate your learning from experience. The portfolio you will present both the mapping and how your prior learning relates to the programme towards which you want to claim credit. 4. Case studies How your APECL claim is assessed and processed will depend on your own prior learning. The following case studies give you some guidance on how APECL works in practice. Please note that these examples are used for illustrative purposes only. Case study 1 - Using APCL toward a BA/BSc (Hons): John has a Diploma in Accounting, worth 120 credits at level C/level 4, achieved when studying with a UK professional body. He would like to attend University A to complete a BA/BSc in Accounting, and believes he may be able to use some credit from his Diploma towards the programme. Looking at the modules for the BA/BSc in Accounting, he sees that there is a clear fit between his prior learning and two 15-credit modules on the first year of the BA/BSc. When making his application to University A, he indicates that he believes he has a claim for APCL. This is considered with his application, and following a mapping carried out between the learning outcomes of his Diploma in Accounting and the two modules on the BA/BSc in Accounting, he is awarded 30 credits. John is now able to complete his degree more quickly, as he is not required to take the two modules for which he has been awarded APCL. Case study 2 - Using APEL toward an MA/ MSc: Sarah has been working in a large organisation for many years and has the responsibility for collaborative partners. She wishes to come to University A to take an MA/MSc in Professional Practice. Looking at the modules for the MA/MSc Professional Practice, she sees that her knowledge and skills gained through the experience of leading projects and working with collaborative partners means she may be able to meet some of the learning outcomes of a 15 credit module Collaborative Working. When making her application to the university, she indicates that she believes she has a claim for APEL. This is considered with her application, and on discussion with the Programme Leader, it is agreed she can make a claim for APEL against the Collaborative Working module. Over a several weeks, she creates an APEL Portfolio detailing evidence of her learning, which is relevant to the learning outcomes of the module, and reflective accounts of what the experience has taught her, to support her claim. The APEL Portfolio is submitted to University A for approval and she is awarded 15 credits for the Collaborative Working module; therefore, reducing her study time on the MA/MSc in Professional Practice. The above examples demonstrate how both APCL and APEL work in practice. It should be noted that it is possible to claim APCL and APEL for either taught undergraduate/postgraduate qualifications. Existing students For existing students, the process for claiming APCL or APEL is the same as in the examples above; however, you should first approach your Programme Leader directly to see if you may have a claim. Further information on the process for preparing an APEL claim can be found in part 5 of this guide What is APEL? Please see Section B of this guide for further details on how to make an APECL claim. 6

8 5. What is APEL? People often develop skills and knowledge applicable to university level programmes without realising. This includes skills developed through the workplace, short courses that are not assessed, volunteer work and other activities. Through APEL, these experiences can be turned into learning achievements that can be measured and used to claim credit towards a qualification. Whilst the approval of previously assessed and certificated learning through APCL can be straightforward, approval of learning based on experience for an APEL claim can be a much more involved process. How is experience assessed? Because experience is not usually assessed, this learning has to be captured in some way. Normally, this is achieved through creating an APEL Portfolio. An APEL Portfolio is used to collect evidence of the knowledge and skills gained from your experience and to reflect on what you have learnt from it, such as what works well, what you may do differently in the future and why. This allows you to demonstrate your knowledge, understanding and skills in a similar way to how you would demonstrate them through formal learning. As shown in the APEL Case Study in part 4 of this guide, it is possible to map your knowledge and skills to relevant learning outcomes and make an APEL claim for academic credit towards a university programme. Which prior learning from experience is relevant? By considering your experiences, you are able to reflect on them and identify work, or other experiences, that have allowed you to gain knowledge and skills. It is important to identify learning gained by undertaking work, leisure activities, etc. which has the potential to be at the higher education level. The process of reflection, and writing about the learning you have gained from experience, will also help raise this to higher education level, as it will show that you can analyse your experience and gain new knowledge from this analysis. The learning must reflect the learning outcomes of the module, stage or programme for which you are applying. Reflection is an important stage of the APEL process, as it allows you to assess your experiences in relation to the programme(s) of interest. Once this stage is complete, you are able to map your experience to the contents of the programme you wish to claim credit towards, giving you a better idea of whether you may have an APEL claim. What counts, learning or experience? An APEL claim measures the learning you have achieved from your experiences. Once you have identified the experiences relevant to the programme you wish to join, it is important to identify the learning outcomes on that programme, which you may be able to match. This may be learning outcomes of a module or a stage of the programme you wish to join. An APEL Portfolio Supervisor will be assigned to you if you have grounds for an APEL claim. They will be able to offer guidance on the most relevant learning outcomes to the learning achieved from your experiences. What evidence is needed for an APEL claim? As with learning in a classroom, which is evidenced through assessments such as essays, presentations or examinations, to make an APEL claim you must provide evidence that you possess the knowledge and skills that you claim to have. The evidence you provide in your portfolio will of course depend on the programme you wish to join and the knowledge and skills that you are trying to demonstrate. 7

9 For example, evidence may be in the form of reports you have written, presentations you have given, a project plan you have developed, or references from relevant colleagues or certificates from attended workshops, which have not been assessed. However, it is normally a mix of both and it depends on your individual claim as to what exactly is included. You should only include the most relevant evidence to demonstrate the skills that you have learnt and developed, and evidence should always have a direct link to the credit you are trying to claim. What is involved in putting together an APEL Portfolio? Once it has been agreed you can make an APEL claim, and you have discussed your claim with someone in the school/centre responsible for the programme you wish to join, the next stage is to develop your APEL Portfolio. The school/centre responsible for the programme you wish to join will identify someone who can act as your Portfolio Supervisor, and guide you through the compilation of your portfolio of evidence and reflection. The format and content of an APEL Portfolio will always depend on your individual experience and the programme you wish to join. However, you should ensure that your APEL Portfolio demonstrates you have met the relevant learning outcomes against which you wish to claim credit, that you can do what you claim, and that your learning is at the right academic level (your Portfolio Supervisor should be able to provide guidance on this). It is also important to make sure that you clearly label and organise your APEL Portfolio so that it is easy for your Portfolio Supervisor and the University s approval groups to assess. APEL word counts When developing an APEL Portfolio, it is important to ensure that you demonstrate not only that you have experience in a certain area, but also the learning you have achieved through that experience. When applying for credit using APEL, it is more important that the evidence demonstrates how you meet the relevant learning outcomes that you wish to claim against, rather than the amount of evidence you include. APEL Portfolios should aim to strike a balance between reflective statements and evidence in order to show sufficiently that learning outcomes have been met. As a guideline for the size of your portfolio, you may want to consider the length of the assessment for the module(s) for which you are claiming credit. However, the final total word count for your portfolio may be less/more than this amount depending on your individual experience and the programme for which you are seeking credit. You should also check with the relevant programme or module leader for any requirements they may have in terms of the size and content of your portfolio. APEL is a learning experience APEL is not right for everyone; your experience and learning needs to fit the programme that you wish to join. Putting together a portfolio is also time consuming and involves a lot of work. However, it can also be a very rewarding experience that can help you develop new skills while gaining credit for experience you already have. The process of putting together an APEL Portfolio is not only about presenting your experience, but also gives you the opportunity to learn about your experiences, and the skills and knowledge you have developed. Creating an APEL Portfolio also enables you, as with formal learning, to develop new skills in areas such as reflection, writing and analysis. 8

10 Section B Making APECL Claims This section is designed to guide you through the process of making an APECL claim. Existing students If you are an existing student at Kent and you believe that you may have grounds for an APECL claim on future a part of your programme, you should contact your Programme Leader directly for advice on whether you are able to make a claim. The advice included in this section should give you a clearer understanding of the process for claiming APECL, and where applicable Admissions Officer should be substituted for Programme Leader. 6. How do I know if I have an APECL claim? How do I know if I have an APCL claim? If you have achieved some previously assessed and certificated learning, you may be able to gain credit for it via an APCL claim, provided that the learning meets the University s requirements and regulations (i.e. is in a relevant subject area, at the required level, and you have not previously used the credit to gain exemptions onto Kent programmes). An APCL claim will allow you to enter a new programme at the point that best suits you, and will help ensure that you do not have to repeat any learning. How do I know if I have an APEL claim? If you have achieved some learning through experience outside of education or training systems (i.e. through work, short courses, voluntary activities) that has not been formally recognised, you may be able to gain credit via an APEL claim on the provision that the learning meets the University s requirements and regulations (i.e. is in a relevant subject area, at the required level, and you have not previously used it to gain exemptions onto Kent programmes). An APEL claim will allow you to enter a new programme at the point that best suits you, and will help ensure you do not have to repeat learning. Please note: As learning from experience used for APEL is not formally recognised, you are required to demonstrate, through an assessment method (usually a presentation of a portfolio of evidence and reflective statements), that your experience meets the required level and the relevant learning outcomes of the Kent programme you wish to join (please see part 5 of this guide, What is APEL? for more details). What are the next steps? If you have prior learning, which you believe could be used for either APCL or APEL, the next step is to identify a programme or area of interest that you would like to study at Kent. Kent programme details can be found at: Kent module details can be found at: Please use the available information to identify any programme(s) you may be interested in joining and consider whether you may have any prior learning/experience that could be used for credit. If you are unsure, please contact the school/centre responsible for the programme that you are interested in joining to see if you have grounds for a 9

11 claim. Alternatively, if you are unsure which programme you would like to enter, but feel you have some relevant prior learning/experience, please contact the Information and Guidance Unit in Admissions at: If you are an employer with staff that could benefit from APECL for university level programmes, please contact either the school/centre related to the subject area of interest or the Centre for Professional Practice at: 7. How do I make an APECL claim? When you are ready to make an APECL claim, please follow the next steps listed below. APCL To make an APCL claim, you must indicate on your UCAS form that you have prior learning you wish to have considered. If you are applying directly to the University, you need to make sure that you clearly state on your application that you wish to be considered for APCL credit. Once you have indicated your interest in claiming APCL, the relevant Admissions Officer for the programme you wish to join will be notified. They will make a decision on your APCL claim, which will be one of academic judgement based on the prior learning you have and how that relates to the programme you wish to join. To make your claim for APCL, you will need to be prepared to provide evidence of your prior learning through a certificate and/or transcript. If your prior learning was obtained more than 5 years ago, you should be prepared to provide evidence of how you have remained up to date with your subject knowledge. If you have changed your name since achieving your prior learning, you should be prepared to provide evidence of this. You should be prepared to identify the syllabus and details of your prior learning to allow the Admissions Officer to make their decision. You should also be prepared to demonstrate how your prior learning meets the relevant learning outcomes you wish to claim against. A template for this is available. Claiming APCL reduces the amount of modules that you are required to study, and can therefore affect your full/part-time student status. It is worth checking whether this affects you with your programme/module leader, as it can affect certain benefits of a full-time student status, e.g. council tax exemption. PLEASE NOTE: There is no guarantee that you will be given credit for your prior learning. APECL approval is an academic decision based on the match between your prior learning/experience and the relevant learning outcomes and requirements of the programme you wish to join. 10

12 APEL To make an APEL claim, you must indicate on your UCAS form that you have experience you wish to have considered. If you are applying directly to the University, you need to make sure that you clearly state on your application that you wish to be considered for APEL credit. Once you have indicated your interest in claiming APEL, you will have an initial discussion with an appropriate member of staff from the relevant school/centre that runs the programme you wish to join. You will then be referred to an appropriate APEL Portfolio Supervisor, who will decide whether you have APEL that can be used, and will support you in creating an APEL Portfolio. The APEL Portfolio is required to present evidence of your experience and learning. If your learning from experience is older than 5 years, you should be prepared to provide evidence of how you have remained up to date with your subject knowledge. Claiming APEL reduces the amount of modules that you are required to study, and can therefore affect your full/part-time student status. It is worth checking whether this affects you with your programme/module leader, as it can affect certain benefits of a full-time student status, e.g. council tax exemption. PLEASE NOTE: There is no guarantee that you will be given credit for your prior learning. APECL approval is an academic decision based on the match between your prior learning/experience and the relevant learning outcomes and requirements of the programme you wish to join. APEL Portfolio When making an APEL claim, you need to demonstrate how your prior learning meets the learning outcomes of the module(s)/programme you wish to study, usually through production of an APEL Portfolio (a collection of evidence and reflective statements related to your experience, linked to the relevant learning outcomes you wish to claim against). There is the option to use alternative methods that are appropriate for the needs of the programme for which credit is sought, depending on the individual case. The format of APEL Portfolios may vary depending on the nature and requirements of a particular programme. The APEL Portfolio Supervisor will determine with the applicant/student the most suitable format for their APEL Portfolio. Please see part 5, What is APECL? for further information on APEL Portfolio development. Important APEL Portfolio development is a learning process, reflecting on the learning from experience you have gained; therefore, you will need to ensure you are able to complete the requirements for developing a portfolio and that you make your claim early enough to allow time for the APEL Portfolio to be completed, assessed and approved. For more information on the process for approving APEL, please see Part 9 Process for Approval of APECL at Kent. 11

13 8. Things to consider Important things to consider when making a claim these do not prohibit claims, but you should be aware of them. Credit limits To ensure a student achieves a sufficient amount of new learning at the University before being awarded a Kent qualification, limits are placed on the amount of APECL that can be claimed for a programme. For example: The University of Kent Credit Framework states a BSc/BA (Hons) student entering with APECL would be required to complete a minimum of 120 credits of the Kent programme of study (with 90 of these credits being at level H/6 or above). As a BSc/BA (Hons) Degree is worth 360 credits, a maximum of 2/3 rds credit value of the programme can be claimed through APECL, which is equivalent to a maximum of 240 credits. The University of Kent Credit Framework states that an MA/MSc student entering with APECL would be required to complete a minimum of 90 credits of the Kent programme of study, with all credits being at level M/7. As an MA/MSc is worth 180 credits, a maximum of ½ of the credit value of the programme can be claimed through APECL, which is equivalent to a maximum of 90 credits. The full Kent Credit Framework can be found at Currency of credit The University requires that credit is current i.e. that your prior learning is up to date. This is not only because it is important that your knowledge and skills are up to date, but also because academic programmes develop and change over time. The University recommends that your prior learning is no more than 5 years old. If your prior learning is more than 5 years old, you may still be able to use it if you can provide evidence to show how you have stayed up to date with your subject area. For example, through a CV, evidence of CPD, and information on training or other courses you have attended. PLEASE NOTE: Some schools/centres may have different time limits on currency, especially in subjects that change at a fast rate, so it is always best to check. Spent credit The University has regulations regarding the re-use of credit. This means that credit previously obtained through prior learning cannot be used more than once. If you believe that your credit for prior learning may already have been spent on a Kent programme, please consult the relevant section of the Kent Credit Framework at 12

14 9. Processes for the approval of APECL at Kent The APECL approval process differs between APCL and APEL due to the way in which the prior learning for APCL and APEL is assigned a credit value. APCL For APCL, where your prior learning has normally already been assessed formally, a comparison can be made between the learning outcomes of your prior learning and the relevant learning outcomes of the programme you wish to join. The following process is used to assess whether a claim for APCL can be agreed. Applicant expresses an interest in claiming APCL when making an application to the University either via UCAS or directly. Admissions Officer in the relevant school/centre requests any supporting information and evidence from the applicant to make their decision. Decision is reached by the Admissions Officer. Applicant is informed of the decision in writing. APEL For APEL, where your prior learning/experience has not been formally assessed and assigned a credit value, evidence is required to prove that your prior learning can be mapped clearly to the relevant learning outcomes of the programme you wish to join. To assess whether a claim for APEL can be agreed requires a different process to that for APCL. The following process is used to ensure that the evidence in the APEL Portfolio (or from other APEL assessments) meets the relevant learning outcomes and is sufficient in terms of volume and level. Applicant expresses an interest in claiming APEL when making an application to the University either via UCAS or directly After initial discussion, usually with the Admissions Officer or Programme Leader of the relevant school/centre, applicant is assigned a Portfolio Supervisor. Applicant creates an APEL Portfolio with support from Portfolio Supervisor. Portfolio Supervisor assesses completed APEL Portfolio and makes a recommendation to APECL Sub-group. APECL Board/Sub-group ratifies the recommendations of the Portfolio Supervisor credit is awarded to the applicant. Applicant is informed of the decision in writing. PLEASE NOTE: There is no guarantee that credit will be awarded for your prior learning. APECL approval is an academic decision based on the match between your prior learning and the relevant learning outcomes and requirements of the programme you wish to join. 13

15 Appendix A Recommended timescales for APECL The following timescales provide a guide for staff and applicants when an APECL claim is made; however, as each APECL claim is different, the exact length of time it takes to develop, submit and approve an APECL claim depends on the individual case. Any claim for APECL MUST adhere to individual programme deadlines and MUST be approved prior to the commencement of the specific module(s) for which credit is being sought. Further information on APECL and how to claim APECL is available in the applicant guide at [10] APCL: Recommended timescales APCL claims should be made and approved prior to the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. Intention to request APCL is made via the UCAS form or notified on the University of Kent application form for direct entry applicants. APCL decisions are made by the relevant school/centre; it is recommended that these claims are made at least six weeks before the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is being sought. This is to allow time for a decision to be ma de, for any follow up work to be carried out if a claim for credit is rejected and subsequently resubmitted, and for an applicant to be registered on the upcoming module(s) if their claim is finally accepted. Applicants should be contacted by the school/centre to progress any claim for APCL; however, if applicants do not receive notification of a decision on an APCL claim within 6 weeks, they should the school/centre directly. APCL claims are straightforward provided all required information or evidence is supplied by the applicant and there is sufficient time to make an assessment of prior learning. No claims for APECL can be made after the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. Existing students Existing students should contact their Programme Leader if they believe they have grounds for an APCL claim. Again, it is recommended that any claim be made at least six weeks prior to the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. It is the existing student s responsibility to contact the Programme Leader within a suitable period of time. No claims for APECL can be made after the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. APEL: Recommended timescales Claims for APEL must be made and approved prior to the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. However, this process takes longer for APEL than APCL. Intention to request APEL is notified via the UCAS form or notified on the University of Kent application form for direct entry applicants. Before a claim for APEL is made, applicants should consult the information and guidance available on the website of the central APECL unit (the Centre for Professional Practice (CPP)) at [11]. This will guide applicants who are considering whether to make a claim and advise on the type of information to include in their APEL Portfolio. APEL applicants should contact the CPP or the relevant Admissions Officer/Programme Leader as soon as possible to begin discussing how to develop an APEL Portfolio to support their claim. The school/centre will co-ordinate the appointment of an APEL Portfolio Supervisor and the CPP will offer advice and guidance, and help applicants and school/centres develop the portfolio. APEL is a good way of making use of relevant experience, particularly from the workplace, to gain credit at university level; however, APEL Portfolio development can take a long time and requires commitment to produce the portfolio of evidence at the correct academic level and within the required timeframe. 14

16 When assessing suitability of an APEL claim, or making an APEL claim, the following timescales should be considered: A minimum of six weeks should be allowed for the development of an APEL Portfolio. The actual amount of time required to develop an APEL Portfolio is dependent on the programme and the individual s experience; it can take more than six weeks. Time should be for the APEL Portfolio to be completed and assessed. Assessment of an APEL Portfolio by the university can take up to six weeks after submission. This timescale allows for assessment by a Portfolio Supervisor and the APECL Sub-group. Enough time should be allowed for changes to be made to the APEL Portfolio if it is not successful after the first submission. The APEL Portfolio will then need to be reassessed. Therefore, where possible a minimum of 12 weeks/1 term should be allowed prior to the commencement of the module(s) onto which credit is sought to develop, submit and approve an APEL Portfolio. Existing students Existing students should contact their Programme Leader if they believe they have grounds for an APEL claim 12 weeks/1 term prior to the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. It is the responsibility of existing students to contact the Programme Leader within a suitable period of time. No claims for APEL can be made after the commencement of the module(s) for which credit is sought. 15

17 Appendix B APECL Glossary Admissions Officers APCL Admissions Officers: make decisions on claims for prior certificated learning, based on evidence provided, to ensure that the prior learning can be mapped to the relevant learning outcomes ensure that claims for prior certificated learning are processed within the University s Code of Practice APCL APECL APEL Code of Practice for Quality Assurance of Taught Programmes of Study Credit (Academic Credit) Credit transfer Currency CPP External Advisor for APECL General credit APEL Admissions Officers: act as the liaison point for the school/centre on the development of claims for APEL, identifying as an APEL Coordinator the most suitable Portfolio Supervisor for an applicant provide, when required, appropriate subject specific advice on APEL claims help ensure that APEL Portfolios and claims are within the University Code of Practice and Credit Framework Short for Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning, this is the process through which previously assessed and certificated learning is considered and, as appropriate, recognised for academic purposes. Short for Accreditation of Prior Experiential and Certificated Learning, this is the umbrella term used by the University of Kent to describe recognition of formally completed prior learning, and learning from experience which can be used to gain academic credit. Short for Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning, this is the process through which learning achieved outside o f education or training systems is assessed and, as appropriate, recognised for academic purposes. The University of Kent s Code of Practice for Quality Assurance of Taught Programmes. Annex R details the rules and processes for APECL at Kent. Academic credit is awarded to students on achievement of learning. Through APECL, it can also be awarded for prior learning from experience. Academic credit indicates the level of learning and the amount of learning completed. This relates to when an applicant wishes to transfer whole stages of a programme into a Kent programme from another university where they currently study. This is not subject to APECL procedures, as the study being used for credit has ECTS equivalence. Currency refers to when the learning was completed. To be considered current, learning must normally have been completed within the last 5 years. CPP stands for Centre for Professional Practice, which is the department within the University that is responsible for managing the APECL process. The External Advisor is a member of the APECL Board who supports monitoring and review of APECL claims, sampling some prior to the APECL Board. He/she is able to offer advice on difficult claims, or changes to the University APECL policy. General credit refers to the amount of academic credit that a programme is worth once it has been completed. E.g. a BA/BSc Honours Degree is worth 360 general credits. It is important, when assessing and advising on an applicant/student s claim, to take into account the difference between their general credit and specific credit. General credit represents the whole of the learning achieved on an accredited course. An Honours Degree would have a general credit value of 360 credits. Specific credit is the amount and level of credit that can be transferred from this general credit value onto another course. A full definition for general credit can be found at 16

18 Learning outcome Level Level C (also known at Kent as Level 4) Level I (also known at Kent as Level 5) Level H (also known at Kent as Level 6) Level M (also known at Kent as Level 7) Mapping Module Quality Assurance Agency Portfolio Portfolio Supervisor Programmes Reflective writing Specific credit Stage The Credit Framework for Taught Programmes A learning outcome is a statement of what a learner is expected to know, understand and demonstrate following completion of a particular module/programme of study. Learning outcomes are vital in APECL, as prior learning needs to be mapped to the learning outcomes of the new programme of study to determine if credit can be awarded. Refers to the level of learning completed. Different higher education institutions refer to levels in different ways. Stands for Certificate level. This is normally the first level of an Honours Degree, and the first level taken on the way towards higher-level qualifications. Certificates of Higher Education can be awarded at this level. Stands for Intermediate level. This is normally the second level of an Honours Degree, other programmes at Intermediate level are ordinary (non-honours) Degrees, Foundation Degrees, Diplomas of Higher Education, and other higher diplomas. Stands for Honours level. This is normally the third level of an Honours Degree, leading to a BSc or BA Honours Degree. Other programmes at this level are Graduate Certificates or Graduate Diplomas. Stands for Master s level. This is the level normally taken by students who already have an undergraduate Honours Degree or equivalent. Other programmes at this level include Master s Degrees in science and engineering that have been awarded after extended undergraduate programmes. Other programmes at this level also include Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas. Mapping is comparing the prior learning of an applicant/student, to the learning outcomes of their chosen Kent programme. A module is unit of education on a specific subject area. A module is made up of a number of learning outcomes. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) ensures universities maintain their own academic standards and quality. They review and report on how universities meet their responsibilities, identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement. They publish guidelines to help institutions develop effective systems to ensure students have the best learning experience. In the context of APECL, a portfolio is a collection of work designed to demonstrate an applicant/student s learning from experience and show how this learning relates to the programme for which they are seeking credit. Acts as the liaison point for APEL applicants/students on the development of their APEL Portfolio, guides applicants/ students through production of their APEL Portfolio and makes recommendations to the APECL Sub-group on whether credit should be awarded for an APEL Portfolio completed under their supervision. Programmes are the courses of academic study that the University offers. For example, a BA (Hons) is a degree programme. Reflective writing in the context of APEL is looking back on your experience, analysing what you have learnt from it, assessing how that will affect you in the future, in work or as a student, and linking it to the modules for which you are seeking credit. Specific credit is the amount of credit that can be specifically mapped to the learning outcomes of the Kent programme for which you are claiming APECL. (Please see General Credit above.) This refers to the stage of the programme for which you are seeking APECL. A full-time BA/BSc (Hons) would normally have Stages 1, 2 and 3. This is Kent s Credit Framework, which details the limits and rules on the use of academic credit at Kent. Annex 3 relates specifically to the limits on the amount of credit that can be used for APECL. 17

19 Appendix C - FAQs What is the difference between general and specific credit? General credit is the amount of credit that prior learning is worth in total, i.e. a degree is worth 360 general credits. Specific credit is the amount of general credit that can be specifically mapped against the learning outcomes of the modules for which credit is being claimed. E.g. an applicant/student has 360 credits from a degree, but only 120 of these are relevant to the modules for which they are seeking credit; therefore, the general credit value would be 360 credits and the specific credit value would be 120 credits. What limits are there on the amount of credit that can be claimed? There are certain limits on the amount of credit that can be used as APECL towards a new Kent programme. This is to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of new learning carried out at the University of Kent before a student can be awarded a Kent qualification. The exact limits are detailed in the University s Credit Framework at What grade will an applicant/student receive for APECL? Credit approved via the APECL process does not carry a numerical mark or contribute to the classification of the programme for which credit is claimed. In other words, the prior learning submitted towards an APECL claim provides credit towards the overall programme, but cannot be used towards the final grade for the programme. This may mean that credit cannot be claimed against certain compulsory modules or pieces of coursework that count towards a programme s overall classification. What are the deadlines for APECL claims? It is important APECL claims are made prior to the commencement of any modules for which credit is being claimed. This allows assessment of the claim, and if a claim is unsuccessful, allows students to register for the modules for which they were claiming credit. When making an APECL claim applicants/students should always be made aware of the specific admission deadlines of the programme they are applying to join. What happens if an APECL claim is not successful? There is no guarantee that an APECL claim will be successful. If, for any reason, you are unable to claim credit against modules in your chosen programme, you would be required to take those modules as normal. Depending on the reasons for your claim being unsuccessful, you are usually entitled to one re-submission attempt in line with the recommended timescales detailed in Appendix B. Where can I find more information on the regulations and process of APECL at Kent? Kent Quality Assurance Code of Practice Kent Credit Framework

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