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  /  Recognition of Prior Learning ( RPL)

Information for Students

In accordance with the requirements of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, Rockford College provides the opportunity for students to apply to have prior learning recognised toward a qualification or units of competence for which they are enrolled.

What is recognition?

Recognition involves the assessment of previously unrecognised skills and knowledge an individual has achieved outside the formal education and training system. Recognition assesses this unrecognised learning against the requirements of a unit of competence, in respect of both entry requirements and outcomes to be achieved. By removing the need for duplication of learning, recognition encourages an individual to continue upgrading their skills and knowledge through structured education and training towards formal qualifications and improved employment outcomes.  This has benefits for the individual and industry. Most importantly, it should be noted that recognition is just another form of assessment and requires the same application of the principles of assessment and the rules of evidence which are applied in any form of competency base assessment.

Recognition guidelines

The following guidelines are to be followed during the preparation and application for recognition:
• Any student is entitled to apply for recognition in a course or qualification in which they are currently enrolled.

• Students may not apply for recognition for units of competence or qualification which are not included in Rockford College scope of registration.
• Whilst students may apply for recognition at any time, they are encouraged to apply before commencing a training program. This will reduce unnecessary training and guide the student down a more efficient path to competence.
• Students who are currently enrolled in a training program are eligible to apply for recognition in that program at no additional charge.
• Assessment via recognition is to apply the principles of assessment and the rules of evidence.
• Recognition may only be awarded for whole units of competence.

Forms of evidence

Recognition acknowledges that workplace skills and knowledge may be gained through a variety of ways including both formal and informal learning or through work-based or life experience.

In evaluating assessment evidence, Rockford College applies the following rules of evidence:
• Sufficient
• Valid
• Authentic, and
• Current

Like assessment, recognition is a process whereby evidence is collected and a judgement is made by an assessor or assessment team. The judgement is made on evidence provided by candidates of the skills and knowledge that they have previously learnt through work, study, life and other experiences, and that they are currently using. It also includes evidence to confirm a candidate’s ability to adapt prior learning or current competence to the context of the intended workplace or industry.

Forms of evidence toward recognition may include:
• Work records;
• Records of workplace training;
• Assessments of current skills;
• Assessments of current knowledge;
• Third party reports from current and previous supervisors or managers;
• Evidence of relevant unpaid or volunteer experience;
• Examples of work products;
• Portfolio of design products;
• Observation by an assessor in the workplace;
• Performance appraisal; or
• Duty statements.

Many of these forms of evidence would not be sufficient evidence on their own. When combined together with a number of evidence items, the candidate will start to provide a strong case for competence. Rockford College reserves the right to require candidates to undertake practical assessment activities of skills and knowledge in order to satisfy itself of a candidate’s current competence.


Appealing recognition outcomes

If the student is not satisfied with the outcomes of a recognition application, they may appeal the outcome like other assessment decisions. Further information on the appeals process is available within the Student Information Booklet and Rockford College policy and procedure manual.

To have skills formally recognised in the national system, Rockford College assessors shall make sure the students have the skills and knowledge to meet the industry standard. This means the student must be involved in a careful and comprehensive process that covers the content of all unit/s or qualification/s the student can be recognised for.

Assessment happens in a variety of ways. Being prepared can save the student valuable time and hassle and make the recognition process stress-free for the student.

Here are some tips and hints for the student:

  1. Be prepared to talk about your job roles and your work history. Bring a resume or jot down a few points about where you have worked, either paid or unpaid, and what you did there.
    2. Bring your position description and any performance appraisals you have from any business offices or facilities you have worked in.
    3. Consider the possibilities for workplace contact. Are you in a workplace that is supporting your goal to get qualified? Would you feel comfortable to have the assessor contact your workplace or previous workplaces so your skills can be verified?
    4. Think about who can confirm your skill level. Think about current or recent supervisors who have seen you work in the past and will be able to confirm your skills. The assessor will need to contact them. You may also have community contacts or even clients themselves who can vouch for your skill level.
    5. Collect any certificates from in-house training or formal training you have done in the past.
    6. You can speak with your assessor about other ways you can show your skills in the business sector. These could be letters from employers, records of your professional development sessions, employers or clients in related industries or government agencies, acknowledgements, workplace forms (as long as they don’t show client details) or other relevant documents.

Steps in the RPL Process (for the student)

Step 1 – Provide information

Go through the RPL Kit thoroughly. Relate as much information of your previous experience in business management/industry as you can. This is your first opportunity (and not the last) to understand and gather proof of your variety of experience in the industry. Here you can consider examples of your work history which could include:
• Resume/CV
• Certificates/results of assessment – universities, vendor training courses, in house courses, workshops, seminars, symposiums
• Diaries/task sheets/job sheets/log books/Work records;
• Records of workplace training;
• Assessments of current skills;
• Assessments of current knowledge;
• Third party reports from current and previous supervisors or managers;
• Evidence of relevant unpaid or volunteer experience;
• Examples of work products;
• Portfolio of design products;
• Observation by an assessor in the workplace;
• Performance appraisal;
• Duty statements;
• Membership of relevant professional associations
• Hobbies/interests/special skills outside work
• References/letters from previous employers/supervisors
• Industry awards
• Any other documentation that may demonstrate industry experience

Depending on the industry you have worked in, you may or may not have documentary evidence available. This should not deter you from seeking RPL as the Assessor will interview and work with you during the RPL process.

You will also need to supply contact details of one or more work referees who can confirm your skills in the industry.

Step 2 – Complete Recognition Self- Assessment Form

You shall be invited to carry out a self-assessment to determine your suitability for a recognition application (Recognition Self-Assessment Form). If required, you shall be provided an electronic version of other RPL application documents- RPL Application Cover Sheet, RPL Application Form, RPL Assessment Plan Interview and RPL Evidence Matrix.

Step 3– Interview with Assessor

After submission of your RPL application form, an assessor will be assigned to you. Assessor will contact with you to fix a RPL Plan Interview. This is to include where possible: helping you to identify appropriate forms of evidence; guiding you on the use of recognition tools; and informing you about the assessment process.

Step 4 – Providing the Evidence of your skills and experience

You will compile the evidence and submit the completed RPL Evidence Matrix to Rockford College office as per the plan.This form will allow you to record particular documentary evidence against each unit of competence.The assessor will review the information you have provided and begin to match up your skills to the units/subjects in the qualification. At this point, you may have further opportunities to discuss and identify your previous experience and submit the evidence with the assessor who may contact you.

Step 5 – Examination/Practical demonstration of your skills

The Assessor is then to review all the assessment the evidence and decide on the need for additional evidence on perceived gaps. The Assessor may invite you to undertake an RPL Interview to answer verbal questions or a practical assessment.You may revise and resubmit your RPL evidence matrix at this stage. At the end of the evidence gathering process, the Assessor is to provide you with written feedback (includes emails) regarding the assessment outcomes, including the procedure for the candidate to appeal the assessment outcome.

Step 6- Appeal Process

If you are not satisfied with the outcomes of a recognition application, you may appeal the outcome like other assessment decisions. Further information on the appeals process can be found in the Student Handbook or Rockford College policy and procedure manual.

Step 7 – Issuance of Certificate/Statement of Attainment

After successfully meeting all the criteria, you will be issued certificate for full qualification or Statement of Attainment for the units, subject to payment of fees, if any.