Principles for Good Practice Information Provision on Credit Transfer and Articulation from Vocational Training and Education to Higher Education
Credit transfer and articulation acknowledges outcomes achieved from prior study and encourages students with prior vocational and technical education (VTE) experience to access higher education. Student mobility between institutions and sectors is enhanced.
In May 2005 the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs endorsed a series of initiatives to improve credit transfer and articulation from VTE to higher education. One element was a set of draft Principles for Good Practice Information Provision aimed at improving the information available to students and prospective students.
The draft Information Principles were widely circulated to stakeholder groups from both the higher education and VTE sectors for consultation. These final Principles respond to the issues raised in those consultations.
MCEETYA considers that students and potential students should be able to access information that enables them to make well-informed choices about where and what they should study. These Information Principles embody good practice and aim to set a standard that a growing number of institutions will be able to meet over time.
MCEETYA recognises that these Information Principles should not impinge upon or replace the academic integrity of courses and programs and the responsibility of individual institutions for setting academic standards related to admission, prerequisites for study and the amounts of credit conferred.
These Information Principles have been developed in the context of the Australian Qualifications Framework Advisory Board’s National Guidelines on Cross-Sector Qualification Linkages and the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee’s Policy Guidelines on Cross-Sector Qualification Linkages1
, which suggest levels of credit as a guide for articulation arrangements and dual award qualifications between Diploma and Bachelor qualifications in the same fields. These Information Principles will complement the AQFAB and AVCC Guidelines by focussing effort on improving credit transfer and articulation from VTE to higher education.
These Principles have been prepared for all accredited providers of VTE and higher education. While specifically written for the context of movement from VTE to higher education, they provide a useful guide for credit transfer in other transitions.
1 Both sets of Guidelines were developed jointly by AVCC and ANTA in 2002 to update and rationalise previous arrangements and, whle tailored to their respective owners, share identical wording for the most part, except that the AQFAB guidelines have subsequently been expanded to include the schools sector.
- Student Recruitment – General information on credit and articulation pathways should be provided to prospective students so that they are made aware of the opportunity and application process. This should cover how to obtain further information to enable informed comparisons about the consequence of enrolment in various courses.
- Enrolling Students – Enrolling students should be able to access detailed information on credit transfer and articulation where they wish to apply for credit. Key information, including the date at which this information is current, should be made available in a single source/site, with links to more detailed information in other documents or sites as appropriate.
- Explanation of Terms – Terms should be explained in “simple” language, using standardised terminology across the institution. Key terms used by the institution should be defined and illustrated where appropriate with examples, both to reinforce understanding of the approach used by the institution and to encourage students to consider seeking credit transfer. Where possible these terms should be consistent with nationally agreed terminology, e.g. the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) National Guidelines on Cross-Sectoral Qualification Linkages and the AQF National Principles and Operational Guidelines for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), produced by the AQF Advisory Board.
- Limits of Credit – Academic rules, regulations and any results which set precedents that govern credit decisions should be "transparent". These should be accessible to potential applicants and clearly explained so that applicants know in advance where they stand.
- Contact Officers – Information for students should include a list of contact officers who have appropriate expertise and resources to advise on the process and likely outcomes of applications in individual programs.
- Credit Application Form – Students should be able to access the relevant credit application form on-line or in hard copy, including instructions for completing it. Students should not have to search separately for additional information to understand the terms used in the instructions. The evidence required to be submitted in support should be spelt out along with a brief explanation of the rationale, e.g. to assure academic integrity.
- Similar Requirements for Evidence – There should be similar requirements for supporting evidence across faculties, unless variations are approved by the institution.
- Onus of Proof – In general the onus of proof in making a case for credit transfer and articulation rests with the applicant. Where formal arrangements exist between a university and a VTE provider, information relevant to an individual's application should be verified through institutional systems wherever possible.
- Ease of Lodgement – Students should be able to lodge applications on-line where possible. Supporting documents may be required to be provided separately.
- Timing of Lodgement and Processing – Appropriate and reasonable time frames for the lodgement and processing of applications should be advertised to students.
- Follow-up during Processing – Applicants should be able to seek information about the processing of their application and to obtain information on any alternatives where the application is rejected.
- Avenues of Appeal – Grounds for appeal and appeal procedures should be specified and be explained clearly to students. Appeal procedures should be consistent across the institution.