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Academic Credit Policy
Student Handbook > Student-Academic Policies & Procedures
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Purpose

The institution encourages lifelong learning and provides the opportunity to have students’ previous learning recognised for credit in their courses where appropriate. The institution is committed to ensuring fair, transparent and flexible credit arrangements in order to award credit for learning already undertaken while maintaining its commitment to ensure the integrity of learning outcomes.

Scope

This policy applies to applicants or students who are currently enrolled in a higher education course who are seeking academic credit based on:

  • successful completion of an accredited subject and/or
  • recognition of prior learning

Definitions

Articulation is a formal agreement which enables students to progress from a course at another institution to a course at the institution with a specified amount of credit.

Block credit is credit granted for components or groups of subjects within a course as part of an articulation agreement or on an individual basis subject to satisfying AQF level criteria.

Credit is the value assigned for the recognition of equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications. Credit reduces the amount of learning required to achieve a qualification and may be through credit transfer, articulation, recognition of prior learning or advanced standing.

Formal learning is learning undertaken through a structured program of learning and assessment that leads to the full or partial attainment of a recognised Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification.

Informal learning is learning gained through work-related, social, family, hobby or leisure activities and experiences. Unlike 'formal' and 'non-formal' learning, 'informal learning' is not organised or externally structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support.

Non-formal learning is learning that is undertaken through a structured program of learning but does not lead to a formally recognised qualification.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

Specified credit is granted towards specific subjects. Specified credit is applied when the learning outcomes achieved in a subject undertaken at another higher education provider are deemed equivalent to the learning outcomes of a subject at the institution.

Unspecified credit is granted towards elective components of a course, where an exact or near exact subject equivalence cannot be determined. 

Policy principles

This policy is underpinned by the following general principles:

  1. the institution encourages lifelong learning and provides the opportunity to have previous learning recognised for credit in their courses where appropriate;
  2. entry to a course is based on specific published entry criteria and decisions regarding student selection are made in accordance with the Admissions Policy;
  3. an offer of credit does not guarantee admission  into a course;
  4. the assessment of the amount of credit to be granted in particular courses shall be determined by the relevant Associate Dean Undergraduate or Associate Dean Postgraduate dependent on the level of course for which credit is applied;
  5. credit will only be considered for equivalent qualification levels and must satisfy AQF level criteria or overseas equivalencies;
  6. regardless of the nature or amount of credit granted any specific course requirements must be fulfilled and the learning outcomes met;
  7. credit may be given in the form of block, specified or unspecified credit.

Principles guiding decision making

The following principles are applied by the institution when making decisions making to grant credit. Decisions will:

  1. be evidence‐based, clear, equitable and transparent;
  2. be applied consistently and fairly with decisions subject to appeal and review;
  3. take into account prior learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided that the prior learning is relevant, current and has a relationship to the learning outcomes of the course;
  4. academically defensible and take into account the student’s ability to meet the course outcomes and complete the course successfully;
  5. normally be decided in a timely manner; and
  6. be formally documented on the student’s file including any reasons for not granting credit.

Types of learning

The institution recognises the following forms of prior learning:

  1. Formal learning
  2. Non-formal learning
  3. Informal learning

Currency of knowledge and skills

Credit will not normally be granted for learning completed more than ten years prior to application unless evidence is provided of continued relevance of study for the course towards which credit is sought. Assessment of these applications are made on a case by case basis.

Types of credit

The following types of credit may be granted at the institution:

  1. Specified credit;
  2. Unspecified credit; or
  3. Block credit

The total amount of credit granted may comprise a combination of credit for formal, non-formal and informal learning.

Credit for formal learning

The term ‘credit transfer’ is used to define the process for granting credit for formal learning of equivalent subjects completed at a recognised institution.

Credit may be granted for the successful completion of:

  1. subjects which form part of an accredited course provided by a recognised higher education institution;
  2. non-award courses offered by a recognised higher education institution;
  3. accredited courses (AQF Level 5 and above or equivalent overseas qualification frameworks) offered by a registered vocational training provider or equivalent;
  4. courses provided by a professional association or other similar body; or
  5. training delivered by employers or other similar training.

Guidelines for granting credit for formal learning

Credit may be granted where there is substantial overlap with content and/or learning outcomes of the subject for which credit is claimed.

When assessing credit for formal studies the following will be taken into account:

  1. the general educational practices and standards of the provider(s) or any accreditation obtained by the provider that may be relevant;
  2. the objectives of the particular course and the methods adopted to achieve those objectives
  3. admission requirements to the course;
  4. the duration of the course, having regard to entry requirements and course objectives;
  5. the breadth, depth and balance of the course material involved and the intellectual effort required;
  6. the methods of assessment; and
  7. any arrangements for practical training and experience as part of the course.

Credit for informal learning

Credit may be granted for work experience where that learning can be documented to the satisfaction of the relevant Associate Deans Undergraduate/Postgraduate.  The onus is on the applicant to provide appropriate evidence or demonstrate the relevant skills, knowledge and understanding.

When assessing credit for informal learning, the following is taken into account:

Authenticity

the applicant can demonstrate the learning outcomes that are being claimed

 

Currency

the learning outcomes are still valid and performable

 

Quality

the learning has reached an acceptable level

 

Relevance

the learning is applicable to the subject claimed

 

Transferability

the learning outcome can be applied outside the context in which it was learned

 

Comparability

the prior learning is comparable in content and standard with the subject(s) in which credit is sought

 

 

AQF

the learning must satisfy AQF level criteria or overseas equivalencies

Block credit

When assessing individual credit transfer applications, block credit may be applied when demonstrated competencies or learning objectives have been met at an AQF level consistent with the relevant course of study. 

Block credit exempts a student from completing a specified group of subjects – usually specified stages or components of a course (e.g., Year 1) – and is recorded as ‘Exemption’ against each of the subjects comprising that component of the course. The utilisation of block credit does not recognise that the student has achieved equivalent learning outcomes for each subject but rather that the student has met the course learning outcomes for that component of the course.  Importantly, when block credit is applied, pre-requisite requirements cannot be met and this therefore must be considered in any decision about applying block credit.

Assignment of block credit will take into account then following considerations:

  • the comparability and equivalence of the learning outcomes at the appropriate AQF level;
  • volume of learning; and,
  • whether the course is a cognate (related) course of study including content, and learning and assessment approaches.

Block credit cannot be applied in individual cases where a student’s previous study is in an area unrelated (non-cognate) to the course of study for which credit is sought. In these cases, specified and unspecified credit is to be applied.  

Study abroad and student exchange, articulation and cross-institutional

Learning completed during student exchange and study abroad is considered to be directly equivalent to study completed at ICMS when approval, is gained from ICMS, prior to participating in the student exchange and study abroad. Students must apply for credit after the student exchange and study abroad has been completed. Credit will be given on receipt of a transcript or other satisfactory confirmation of completion. Credit will be in the form of exemptions and the grade awarded by the student exchange and study abroad partner institution will not be recorded on the ICMS transcript and will not contribute towards the calculation of the students ICMS GPA.

Credit for cross institutional study (study at another institution that is concurrent with the student's enrolment at ICMS) will not be granted unless prior approval has been obtained from the relevant Associate Dean.

Vocational to higher education credit transfer

Credit may be granted from previous vocational studies towards an ICMS course within the limits permitted by the Academic Credit Policy and where it has been satisfied:

  • That the work previously completed by the applicant was of the appropriate AQF level and completed at the appropriate standard;
  • In the case of specified credit, that the applicant's previous formal studies or prior learning satisfy the objectives or learning outcomes of one or more units of the applicant's current or proposed course of study; and,
  • Where relevant, that the knowledge gained by the applicant is current (i.e. normally completed within the previous 10 years).

Maximum credit limits

Regardless of the nature or amount of credit granted, any specific course requirements must be fulfilled and the learning outcomes met. On this basis, students seeking a qualification from the institution are required to complete a minimum number of subjects directly with the institution. Credit granted for any course must comply with the limits set by the Academic Board. The Academic Board may, at its discretion, approve an exception to the credit limits under exceptional circumstances.

Course

Maximum credit limits

Diploma

50% of the total credit points required for the qualification

Associate Degree

50% of the total credit points required for the qualification

Bachelor Degree

Typically 50% of the total credit points required for the qualification.  However 66.6% (⅔) of the total credit points required for the qualification is permissible, in cases where appropriate evidence supporting the increased amount of credit is provided.

Graduate Certificate

50% of the total credit points required for the qualification

Masters Degree

50% of the total credit points required for the qualification

 

Undergraduate courses:
1. For undergraduate courses, normally all 300 level studies are required to be completed at the institution. Credit is not normally granted for 300 level subjects.

2. In exceptional circumstances, maximum credit limits may be varied in cases where a student has applied for credit for work integrated learning. All applications are considered on an individual basis by the DVC (Academic).

Postgraduate courses:

For postgraduate courses, normally all 800 level studies are required to be completed at the institution. Credit is not normally granted for 800 level subjects.

Successful applications for credit

Successful applications of credit will be recorded on a student’s academic record with the letter "E" denoting "exempt". This will not affect the Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation.

Internal transfer between courses

For transfers between courses within the institution:

  1. credit may be granted for a subject completed in a course to a student who wishes to transfer to another course within the institution;
  2. credit will be granted for identical subjects that have been completed in a course which form part of the course into which the student is transferring; and
  3. the maximum credit that can be granted in these circumstances is subject to the normal credit limits.

Applying for credit

  1. an application for credit must be made on the appropriate form and should be lodged at the time of application for admission to a course.  The application must be submitted with supporting documentary evidence.
  2. the burden of evidence for any application for credit rests with the applicant. Evidence must reflect the student’s current levels of knowledge and skills;
  3. applications for credit will normally be considered as part of the admissions process and will not normally be considered after week 2 of any given study period unless an application for credit is a result of cross-institutional study completed concurrently to the student’s enrolment at the institution;
  4. in some circumstances an application for credit may require an interview or demonstration with an academic qualified to make an assessment and/or a challenge examination;
  5. the applicant must respond truthfully and accurately to all sections and questions on the application form. An applicant who provides false or misleading information in their application(s) may be disqualified as an applicant for admission and may be excluded from the institution if already enrolled;
  6. the assessment of applications for credit is undertaken by the relevant Associate Deans Undergraduate/Postgraduate;
  7. applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome of the decision; and
  8. any credit granted, including any reasons for not giving credit, will be recorded on the student’s file.

Quality assurance

The relevant Associate Deans Undergraduate/Postgraduate will ensure that a systematic approach to assuring the quality of credit recognition processes and decisions and for monitoring broad trends.

Articulation agreements

Credit may be granted to students through an articulation agreement. For matters relating to articulation, refer to the Articulations Policy and Procedure.

The existence of an articulation agreement does not preclude an individual student applying for additional credit under this policy, however in all cases the total amount of credit granted must comply with the maximum credit limits.

Appeals

A student may appeal a decision to grant credit on the basis that the decision was inconsistent with the rules outlined in this policy. Appeals must be made in accordance with the Academic Appeals Policy. 

Roles and responsibilities

  • Policy owner: DVC (Academic)
  • Associate Deans Undergraduate/Postgraduate: responsibility for considering credit applications.
  • Marketing and Recruitment and the Admissions Office: responsible for advising applicants and students in accordance with this policy.
  • Executive Management Group (EMG): overall responsibility for implementation of the policy in liaison with the policy owner.

 

Approved by Academic Board on 18 May 2018.