AN EXPLORATION OF RPL IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN IRELAND WITH PARTICULAR FOCUS ON QUALITY ASSURANCE
This paper focuses on examining the practice of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) a provision which allows a learner present previously acquired relevant learning for assessment for credit. In general all forms of learning are formally recognised within an RPL system which includes informal, non formal and formal learning. The key misconception within higher education can be that RPL requires a different quality assurance system than that of conventional assessment methods.
This paper explores current assessment policies and practices in Ireland with a particular focus on the structural realities required to deliver good practice with RPL provision for summative purposes. It seeks to identify how aligned the assessment of prior learning is with the more conventional formal systems of assessment and the implications for QA systems.
This paper will present the early findings of research into Recognition of Prior Learning practice in higher education in Ireland. It will provide insight into the diversity of the extant policies and their application within higher education institutions. It will illustrate the range of assessment methods and practicalities of RPL within the broader context of Quality Assurance.
Beyond the scope of this paper the findings of the research will provide an overall picture of how assessment methods are considered whilst not compromising quality standards. It will outline the enablers and challenges in current practice in responding to the area of RPL within a dynamic economic climate within which higher education plays a key role in supporting the reskilling and up skilling needs of the workplace.