Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is defined as:

‘A method of assessment that considers whether a learner can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for a unit through knowledge, understanding or skills that they already possess and do not need to develop through a course of learning.’
(Ofqual 08/3726)

This essentially means that as long as a learner is able to meet all of the assessment requirements of a QCF unit, RPL allows them to receive credit for their learning (regardless of the method it was accessed). This can reduce duplication of learning activities but needs the Centre to assess and verify the learner’s claim.

It should be noted that the learner is still required to demonstrate that they meet (or have met) the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of a QCF unit.

The RPL Process:

Stage 1: Awareness

All learners should be informed about RPL or how they can ‘claim credit’ for prior learning so they are in a position to make an active choice whether to pursue this option. This awareness should detail the philosophy of RPL, the process, support available and any impact on costs.

Stage 2: Pre-assessment

The learner should collect all relevant evidence with support available from the centre in guiding the learner. The nature and content of the evidence will be driven by the learning outcomes and assessment criteria of the unit for which they are seeking RPL against.

Stage 3: Assessment

The Assessor must review the evidence submitted and make a judgement as to its suitability in meeting the requirements of the unit (usually achieved through a mapping exercise). Assessment must be valid and reliable to ensure the integrity of the units, qualification and RPL system as a whole – to achieve this; the same QA mechanisms as for a standard assessment apply (e.g. IQA/EQA).

Stage 4: Awarding Credit

This is done the same as a standard approach to awarding credit – recorded in the learner record and issue of certification.

Stage 5: Feedback

The Assessor will feedback to the learner indicating and discussing the results

Stage 6: Appeal

If a learner wishes to appeal against a decision the normal route and process of appeal should be followed.

All centres should make sure that claims for credits using these methods are correctly identifying the exemptions and where there is any doubt, the External Quality Assurer should be contacted for clarification. It is important to make sure that any claim for certification to SFEDI Awards using these exemptions should make it clear in the documentation exactly what is being claimed and against which unit(s).

Recognised Prior Learning will be available for a period of 12 months from the point at which the evidence has been generated. This is to ensure that the learner demonstrates current knowledge and skills within the qualification.