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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfer within VET courses

Refer to Recognition of Prior Learning for the Higher School Certificate for information about RPL and credit transfer for the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

What is RPL and credit transfer?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfer refer to the acknowledgement of evidence of a student’s achievement of competencies or learning outcomes. They are processes that allow students to have their previous learning – both formal and informal – count towards Stage 5 (Year 9 or 10) or Stage 6 (HSC) VET courses and AQF VET qualifications.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that assesses the individual student’s formal, non-formal and informal learning to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the competency standards.

Credit transfer

Credit transfer is a process that provides credit for a unit of competency previously achieved.


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfer within VET courses

Students can be granted credit (recognition of prior learning or credit transfer) for:

  • units of competency within AQF VET qualifications
  • VET course outcomes and content as defined by the indicative hour requirements of Stage 5 or Stage 6 VET courses
  • mandatory work placement requirements.

Students may be awarded recognition for:

  • units of competency achieved in another VET course (whether the VET course is undertaken as a part of their Record of School Achievement (RoSA) or HSC, or as an independent activity outside of their RoSA or HSC)
  • learning and experiences gained outside VET courses that are awarded through RPL.

Refer to Official Notice BOS 16/09 – Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer within VET Courses

RPL and credit transfer for indicative hour requirements

Where a student is granted credit through RPL or credit transfer for units of competency in one or more VET courses, they are not required to undertake additional units of competency to meet the VET course indicative hour requirements.

RPL and credit transfer for HSC Content in Industry Curriculum Frameworks

Where a unit of competency has been awarded through RPL or credit transfer, the RTO delivering the HSC Framework course is responsible for determining any gaps in learning for unit(s) of competency associated with the HSC focus areas (HSC Content) and to provide a program which enables the student to address the identified gaps.

RPL and credit transfer and the VET HSC examination

Access to the VET HSC examination for HSC Framework courses is restricted to students undertaking the corresponding 240-hour course.

Students who have been granted credit through RPL or credit transfer for some or all units of competency in an HSC Framework course will still be eligible to undertake the HSC VET examination provided they have met the requirements of the respective 240-hour course.

It is the responsibility of the school/RTO delivering the HSC Framework course to support HSC examination preparation for students who intend to undertake the HSC examination and who have been granted credit through RPL or credit transfer for some or all of the HSC focus area associated units of competency.

Estimated examination mark

It is the responsibility of the school/RTO delivering the HSC Framework course to determine an appropriate estimated exam mark for all students entered for the HSC VET examination. This includes students who have been granted credit through RPL or credit transfer for some or all of the HSC focus area associated units of competency.

Refer to ACE 8097 - Assessment, Certification Examination (ACE) website for further advice.

RPL for work placement

RPL may be granted for mandatory work placement requirements. Students’ outside employment (ie not under the auspices of the school) may be recognised towards the requirement for work placement in a VET course. Refer to ACE 8051 - Assessment, Certification Examination (ACE) website for further advice.

Credit transfer cannot be granted for work placement as no formal learning and assessment program is deemed to be equivalent.


Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfer within VET courses

It is the responsibility of the student to initiate applications to the school/RTO delivering the VET course. Schools/colleges and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) should support students in completing their application.

An RTO with the AQF VET qualification on their scope that RPL and/or credit transfer is being claimed against must be involved in the process.

Completed applications should be retained on record by the school or college and the RTO.

Flowcharts of processes

Determining RPL/credit transfer for unit(s) of competency and indicative hour requirements (PDF, 50 KB)
Determining RPL for work placement requirements (PDF, 50 KB)
Updated September 2014

Application form template for RPL and credit transfer within VET courses

Generic for Stage 5 (Year 9 or 10) or Stage 6 (HSC) VET courses (Word, 175 KB)
Updated September 2014
Reporting and credentialling credit granted through RPL/credit transfer within VET courses (PDF, 35 KB)
Updated September 2014

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) has delegated to principals the authority to assess and approve applications for RPL or credit transfer for VET course outcomes and content as defined by the indicative hour requirements for the Stage 5 or Stage 6 VET course and the mandatory work placement requirements.

Informing students of the result of their application

Principals should formally inform students of the outcome of their application for RPL or credit transfer for the VET course and what this outcome means for the student.


Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and credit transfer for students studying more than one VET course

Some units of competency may be included in a range of different VET courses in various industry areas. It is possible that a student may undertake different VET courses that include common units of competency.

Once a student has achieved a unit of competency in one Stage 5 or Stage 6 VET course (either via assessment, RPL or credit transfer) the unit should then be awarded as credit transfer in other VET courses. The indicative hours for the unit of competency should be counted towards the indicative hour requirements for each VET course. Students awarded RPL or credit transfer within a VET course are not required to undertake additional units of competency to meet the course requirements.


Exclusions between VET courses

Where there is significant overlap between VET courses the BOSTES will apply an exclusion between the VET courses. Some specific exclusions also apply between VET courses and other general education courses.

Details of Exclusions applying to the Industry Curriculum Frameworks can be found on the Vocational Education page of the BOSTES website.

Details of exclusions applying to Board Endorsed VET courses can be found in the Stage 5 and Stage 6 VET Board Endorsed course descriptions on the Vocational Education page of the BOSTES website.


Examples of scenarios for RPL or credit transfer

Example 1 – A student who already holds an AQF VET qualification

Scenario

A student is enrolled in Retail Services (240 indicative hours) and has achieved Certificate II in Retail Services outside of schooling through a part-time traineeship.

The student has applied for:

  • credit transfer for the units of competency that are included in the 240-hour Retail Services course – this equates to the full 240-hour course
  • RPL for the mandatory work placement requirements.

The student wishes to undertake the optional HSC examination.

Process

The school/RTO delivering the HSC course reviews the evidence provided by the student and determines that the student is granted:

  • credit transfer for units of competency achieved
  • credit for HSC indicative hours for units of competency achieved – they will not be required to undertake any additional units of competency
  • RPL for mandatory work placement requirements based on the workplace experience that they have completed as a part of their traineeship.

The student is required to undertake some study to address gaps in learning they have in relation to the HSC Content (focus areas).

The student is eligible to undertake the Retail Services HSC examination in the year in which they are entered in the course. The school/RTO will determine an appropriate estimated exam mark and will provide the student with learning opportunities/a program to support their HSC examination preparation.

The school will enter the student in the full 240-hour course in one year (4 units x 1 year) and enter the outcomes for the units of competency as credit transfer. They will also enter the student in the Retail Services HSC examination.

Example 2 – A student who has experience in the industry but holds no formal qualifications

Scenario

A student lives on a property and works as a farm hand before and after school. The student is entered in Primary Industries (240 indicative hours).

The student has applied for RPL for:

  • 50 indicative hours of units of competency that are mandatory for the HSC course
  • 70 indicative hours of units of competency that are elective for the HSC course
  • the 70-hour mandatory work placement requirement.

The student wishes to undertake the HSC Primary Industries examination.

Process

The school/RTO reviews the evidence provided by the student and assesses the student. The outcome of the assessment results in the student being granted:

  • achievement of all of the units of competency assessed through RPL
  • credit for 120 HSC indicative hours for the units of competency awarded through RPL – the student will not be required to undertake any additional units of competency to make up the indicative hours which have been awarded RPL.

Under the provisions in ACE 8051 – Assessment, Certification and Examination (ACE) website the school grants the student RPL for 50% of the mandatory work placement requirement.

The student is required to:

  • complete the remaining HSC VET course requirements (80 HSC indicative hours of mandatory units of competency, and 40 HSC indicative hours of elective units)
  • undertake some study to address gaps in learning they have in relation to the HSC Content (focus areas) for the associated units of competency awarded through RPL
  • complete the remaining 50% of the mandatory work placement requirement.

The school will enter the student in the full 240-hour course in one year (4 units in 1 year) and enter the outcomes for the units of competency assessed as RPL.

The school has decided to timetable the student into the Year 12 class while they are in Year 11 to complete the remaining 120 hours of units of competency.

The student is eligible to undertake the Primary Industries HSC examination and could choose to do so at the end of Year 11.

The school makes provisions so that the student can undertake a 120-hour specialisation study in Year 12 and gain higher–level AQF VET qualifications or valued skills sets.

Example 3 – A student who is undertaking more than one VET course with common units of competency

Scenario

A student has completed a first aid course as a part of their HSC PDHPE course.

The student also studies VET courses containing a first aid unit of competency.

The student has applied for RPL for the first aid unit of competency which is mandatory in one VET course and elective in another VET course they are undertaking.

Process

The school/RTO reviews the evidence provided by the student and assesses the student as a part of one of the HSC VET courses (in this case 'VET course A').

As a result the student is:

  • awarded RPL for the first aid unit of competency in 'VET course A'. This is entered in Schools Online (Administration) as ‘RPL’ for this unit of competency.
  • subsequently awarded credit transfer for the same first aid unit of competency in 'VET course B'. This is entered in Schools Online (Administration) as ‘credit transfer’ for this unit of competency.
  • given credit for the HSC indicative hours for the first aid unit of competency in both VET courses – they will not be required to undertake any additional units of competency in either course to make up these hours.

The student is required to:

  • undertake some study to address any gaps in learning they may have in relation to the HSC Content for the first aid unit of competency if it is an associated unit of competency for a Framework HSC focus area (this may include contextualising the unit to the HSC VET course)
  • complete the remaining HSC course requirements.

The NSW Department of Education and Communities State Training Services website contains information and resources which may assist schools/RTOs and students with regards to RPL.

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