RRC uses four main approaches for the assessment of prior learning. These include:
- Assessment of educational documents for transfer credit
- Portfolio or evidence collection assessment
- Challenge process assessments (i.e. challenge examinations, projects, assignments, practical skill demonstrations, simulations, interviews and product assessments)
- External course/program assessment
Assessment of Educational Documents for Transfer Credit
Formal courses completed through recognized post-secondary institutions may be assessed to determine whether they are equivalent to courses in the student’s program of study at RRC. The student must be enrolled or accepted in a course or program, complete a “Transfer Credit Request Form,” pay a fee (if any), and submit original and detailed course outlines. The College’s International Credential and Transfer Credit Officer provides assistance with this process. Transfer credit decisions are made by the Chair/Manager or designated program faculty and are documented on the form.
If previous formal education does not meet currency guidelines a combination of a review of educational documents combined with another RPL method(s) may be required to ensure currency of learning.
Portfolio or Evidence Collection Assessment
- What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a detailed document developed by the student which identifies the learning acquired, through work and life experience, which may be equivalent to the learning outcomes in a College course(s). The portfolio describes the learning achieved from prior experience, relates the learning toward specific course/program requirements and verifies the learning through documentation or proof of learning. The student may be required to provide additional proof of learning and/or participate in an interview as part of the portfolio assessment process.
NOTE: For some courses, students may be required to prove prior learning through an Evidence Collection. This is a compilation of specific documentation identified by faculty as required to prove prior learning for the course(s) learning outcomes.
- Where can a student get assistance to develop a portfolio?
Portfolios can be developed in 3 ways:
- The RPL Advisor assists with the portfolio development process and can provide the Portfolio Development Resource Guide.
- Program faculty in specific College programs may provide advice and or clarification.
- Students may complete a specific Portfolio Development workshop/course.
Students should contact the RPL Advisor for assistance with the portfolio development process and to use the Portfolio Development Resource Guide.
RPL Challenge Process Assessments
- What is a “challenge process?”
A challenge process is a method of assessment other than portfolio, developed and evaluated by the Program faculty to measure a student’s prior learning as it relates to the learning outcomes for a particular course/program. It measures learning through a variety of written and non-written evaluation methods.
- What are some examples of challenge process assessments and what are the fees associated with these? Challenge examinations (i.e. oral/written tests, projects, assignments, interviews, product assessments)
Assessments are designed by Program faculty to assess the learning outcomes for a specific course(s). Students possessing prior learning related to a specific course(s) are provided with course learning outcomes, and access course resources to prepare for the challenge process assessments. RPL Resource Guides are available for selected courses and guide students in preparing a demonstration of learning. RPL Resource Guides include course learning outcomes, a self-assessment based on the course learning outcomes, recommended resources, detailed information on challenge process assessments (i.e. what the student will be required to do to demonstrate learning) and assessment criteria (i.e. how the learning will be assessed). Through the challenge process, students demonstrate that they have equivalent or comparable learning. The Program faculty (usually the instructor who teaches the course) assesses the learning and, if the course challenge processes is successful, then credit is granted.
- Skill Demonstrations (i.e. practical examinations, skill demonstrations, simulations)
Practical examinations, skill demonstrations and simulations involve the actual demonstration of a student’s prior learning as it relates to the learning outcomes of a course(s). The specific requirements have been designed by Program faculty. The students are provided with course learning outcomes and may access performance checklists, texts and other resources. Program faculty assess the learning and if the skill demonstration is successful, credit is awarded. Program faculty record assessment results on the “Results of the Portfolio and/or Challenge Process Assessments” form.
External Course/Program Assessment
RRC has a process to evaluate courses/programs offered through business, industry, community and other organizations (i.e. non-post secondary institutions) to determine if the courses are equivalent to the learning required in College courses. RRC recognizes that many employers provide upgrading and training courses to enhance employee skills. Significant learning may occur through these work based training courses and, when employees become College students, they bring the skills and knowledge acquired from these courses. RRC compares learning gained in employer based courses, to learning required in specific College course(s) and where equivalent, employees are eligible to receive course credit.
Note: Students are required to pay fees for the RPL processes. These fees are based on the services performed in the process and not by the amount of credit awarded. Fees vary depending on the RPL method used.
Application forms for RPL – The Transfer Credit Request Form and the RPL Portfolio and/or Challenge Process Assessments form – are available by contacting the RPL Advisor. Staff and faculty may access the forms from the Anytime Anywhere Instructor Resource site.