Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a method of assessment that allows an assessor to consider the knowledge, skills and understanding that a learner has gained prior to undertaking their qualification. This RPL could be in a formal or informal setting and should be mapped directly into the assessment criteria for the qualification. The assessor may then allow the learner to complete a unit within a qualification without the need to assess them further.
Where this applies, the centre must ensure that personnel who are competent and qualified to support the decision are involved in the decision-making process and that all evidence is sent to Highfield’s EQS department to review prior to use.
Please note that RPL would not typically be used to award a full qualification and would normally be considered for individual units within it.
All evidence used towards completion of assessments under Highfield Qualifications must meet the requirements of VARCS (please see FAQ 13 above). This means that prior learning may need to be supported by further assessment to ensure compliance against the requirements of the qualification. Our EQS team will expect to see where RPL has been used and where it has been mapped in full against the requirements of the qualification.
Alternatively, evidence of a learner's prior achievements, knowledge, skills and understanding may be considered by an assessor to reduce the time spent in study. In these instances, all the assessment criteria would be evidenced and assessed throughout the duration of the qualification, but the learner would agree with the assessor that less time is needed to complete. In these instances, Highfield EQS would not need to provide prior approval but would expect to see evidence of this discussion and planning within the learner record.
There may be occasions where a learner has undertaken a qualification that has a unit or units that map directly into the new qualification the learner is undertaking. This would be classed as an exemption rather than RPL. However, we ask all assessors to be mindful of the date the unit was achieved, and the content as follows:
- where specific pathways may have been followed these should be in keeping with the new qualification. Where they are not, further assessment will be required.
- where a full unit has been undertaken over 12 months prior to the learner's registration on the new qualification, further questioning or evidence of CPD should be added to support currency.
Where an exemption is being used towards an externally set and marked qualification, your centre will need to submit evidence of this with the examination paperwork to achieve the overall pass result for your learner.
For the examples specified within this FAQ, Highfield will require all evidence to be retained within the learner's portfolio of evidence and/or workbooks and submitted to Highfield EQS upon request.
Please note, some qualifications do not allow for RPL or the reduction of learning time. These requirements will be set out within the qualification specification and/or any supporting documentation for the qualification.