Information for RPL

Information for RPL Application

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process which recognises the knowledge and skills which you have achieved from:
• Life experience
• Work experience
• Non-accredited/accredited training programs
These experiences are measured against the qualification/unit in which you are enrolled or intend to enroll. If what you have learned at work or elsewhere is relevant to your course or qualification, you may be granted exemptions in one or more units of this course.

How does RPL work?

If you decide to apply for RPL, you will be asked for detailed records of your experience, employment, training, etc, which may be relevant. Part of the process requires you to conduct a self assessment of each element.
Most importantly, you will need to provide evidence against each of the element in a unit of competency (i.e. evidence that you have the skills and knowledge outlined in the element).
You will then have an interview with your trainer/assessor who will go through your evidence portfolio with you.

Please note: RPL is awarded for a total unit of competency (no partial RPL of a unit will be awarded).

What is Evidence?

Evidence is the material that you have that is an indicator of your competence.
Evidence may be collected via:
• Documentation of practical experiences in the workplace or the community including photo’s newspaper articles, reports etc • Statements of results from both formal and informal training that you have completed • Copies of projects that you have undertaken • Documents you create that link your training and assessment to the units of competency
Your evidence is your proof that you have reached a level of performance that meets that outlined in the unit of competency. This evidence should be current (show that you are still competent), authentic (it is your work) and be at a level of complexity that matches the unit of competency. A variety of evidence allows for sufficient evidence to make the assessment decision. Logically the evidence should be valid, that is it should relate directly to the unit of competency.
Note that original documents such as certificates, workplace reports, etc, should be copied after being sighted by the assessor and then signed with a date, signature, printed name and a brief statement of what unit this relates to and how it relates to the required competency.
Remember you can use a piece of evidence as many times as you like provided it shows that you have achieved the competencies outlined in the unit in question. This means that a piece of evidence such as a set of meeting notes may show your competence for more than one unit.

What is a portfolio of evidence?

A portfolio is a collection of items – in this case, a collection of evidence of competence.
Portfolios will usually include a combination of many different types of evidence.
Evidence can take the form of:
• Products or models you have made
• Projects including drawings
• Reports you have written
• Statements made by you (written or verbal)
• Video or audio tapes

Evidence groups

Products

Products are things you MAKE or help make in the workplace. However, while this is an excellent source of evidence, you will generally need to support it with other types of evidence that can demonstrate more about HOW you managed it.

Records

Records can be any type of work or professional document. For example; copies of qualifications, result notices or even extracts from your work diary are your professional records. Minutes of meetings, timesheets and personnel records are examples of work records. It is often useful to have work records verified by another person from your workplace. They can do this by writing a statement to this effect on the copy of the record you are submitting and then signing it.

Statements by you

These statements about your own competence may be either written or spoken. Another way is to write a special report that provides a case study relevant to the unit. You could describe how you set up a process, or how you resolved a particularly difficult situation. You could use the report to address several units of competence (especially if no other evidence is available). Once again, a statement by you will need to be verified by a third party.
Dos Don´ts
WDo show reasons why you believe you are competent. e.g. I have been working in a drafting office or in the office of an interior designer for three years. I believe I am competent because I finish my tasks on time, I have a strong record on working safely and I follow plans precisely. Evidence of this is contained in my supervisor's report, which is Item 1 in my portfolio. Don't assume you're competent simply because you have been doing the job for a long time. e.g. I have been working in the industry for three years. My tasks include drafting plans, liaising with clients, quoting jobs, writing reports, etc
Do get external support for your examples. Wherever possible, back up your claims by reports from witnesses or supervisors, or maybe even prizes, awards, qualifications or newspaper items. Don't rely on your own word only to prove your competence. It is the weakest form of evidence.

What does a portfolio need to include?

A good portfolio will usually include:
A title page • Your name
• The qualification or individual units you are seeking recognition for
• The date of submission
A Table of Contents A listing of the contents of your portfolio
Information about you At a minimum, you need to include the following information about yourself:
• Your name (as you would like it to appear on your qualification)
• Your organization (if applicable)
• Your postal address
• Your home phone number
• Your work phone number (if applicable)
Your fax number and email address
The evidence The evidence must be clearly cross referenced against each performance criteria using the pro-forma supplied for each unit.

The Academic Institute of Melbourne implements an assessment system that ensures that assessment (including recognition of prior learning):
• complies with the assessment requirements of the relevant training package or VET accredited course; and
• is conducted in accordance with the Principles of Assessment contained in Table 1.8-1 and the Rules of Evidence contained in Table 1.8-2.
Table 1.8-1: Principles of Assessment

Fairness

The individual learner’s needs are considered in the assessment process.
Where appropriate, reasonable adjustments are applied by the RTO to take into account the individual learner’s needs.
The RTO informs the learner about the assessment process, and provides the learner with the opportunity to challenge the result of the assessment and be reassessed if necessary.

Flexibility

Assessment is flexible to the individual learner by:
• reflecting the learner’s needs;
• assessing competencies held by the learner no matter how or where they have been acquired; and
• drawing from a range of assessment methods and using those that are appropriate to the context, the unit of competency and associated assessment requirements, and the individual.

Validity

Any assessment decision of the RTO is justified, based on the evidence of performance of the individual learner.
Validity requires:
• assessment against the unit(s) of competency and the associated assessment requirements covers the broad range of skills and knowledge that are essential to competent performance;
• assessment of knowledge and skills is integrated with their practical application;
• assessment to be based on evidence that demonstrates that a learner could demonstrate these skills and knowledge in other similar situations; and 
• judgement of competence is based on evidence of learner performance that is aligned to the unit/s of competency and associated assessment requirements.

Reliability

Evidence presented for assessment is consistently interpreted and assessment results are comparable irrespective of the assessor conducting the assessment.
Table 1.8-2: Rules of Evidence

Validity

The assessor is assured that the learner has the skills, knowledge and attributes as described in the module or unit of competency and associated assessment requirements.

Sufficiency

The assessor is assured that the quality, quantity and relevance of the assessment evidence enables a judgement to be made of a learner’s competency.

Authenticity

The assessor is assured that the evidence presented for assessment is the learner’s own work.

Currency

The assessor is assured that the assessment evidence demonstrates current competency. This requires the assessment evidence to be from the present or the very recent past.