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Advanced Standing Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) This Policy details La Trobe University’s commitment to the principle of increasing opportunities for students to study by providing credit towards programs of study (i.e. advanced standing) from previous studies or activities.

(2) This Policy is informed by and consistent with the Australian Higher Education Standards Framework and the Australian Qualifications Framework.

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Section 2 - Scope

(3) Applies to all coursework students. Graduate research students are covered by the Graduate Research Candidature Policy.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(4) Advanced standing enhances lifelong learning opportunities for students by facilitating mobility into and through higher education institutions. In formalising credit transfer arrangements and articulation agreements the University ensures that students are not required to repeat material previously mastered and, in addition, that they are adequately prepared to achieve the learning outcomes of the award in which they enrol. These arrangements are also intended to standardise the credit available for individual courses.

(5) Decisions regarding advanced standing applications are:

  1. timely
  2. evidence-based and transparent
  3. fair and consistent
  4. academically defensible, and
  5. mindful of the student’s ability to successfully meet the learning outcomes of the course.

(6) The assessment of advanced standing at La Trobe takes account of:

  1. learning outcomes
  2. volume of learning
  3. content of study, and
  4. course level.

(7) Credit towards a La Trobe University course is granted as follows:

  1. for a block component of a course (for example, a completed VET diploma may entitle the holder to exemption from the first year of a La Trobe three year degree course);
  2. for specific La Trobe University subjects (if there is direct correlation between the prior learning and the La Trobe subject) or unspecified subjects (if there is no direct correlation, unspecified credit may be granted towards elective requirements of a La Trobe course).

(8) Credit towards an individual course at La Trobe University is granted for activities and studies that would form an acceptable part of that course. Credit may result from an individual application by a student or through an articulation agreement between institutions. Eligibility for advanced standing is not affected by:

  1. the location at which the destination course is taught, or
  2. the grades received in a subject, providing a pass grade has been achieved. A conceded pass does not constitute a pass for this purpose.

(9) The application of advanced standing is consistent with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework for the award of a qualification, as set out below:

  1. for a diploma and associate degree awards, a student must complete at least 50 per cent of the required credit at La Trobe;
  2. for a Bachelor’s degree and bachelors double degrees, a student must complete at least 33 per cent of the course at La Trobe;
  3. for Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters awards a student must complete at least 50 per cent of the course at La Trobe;
  4. advanced standing is offered for final year subjects in undergraduate degrees only where these do not form a core requirement of the degree;
  5. advanced standing is not offered for capstone subjects or thesis components of any course;
  6. advanced standing may not provide partial credit for a subject;
  7. advanced standing is subject to the conditions of professional accreditation bodies, where these exist.

(10) Advanced standing is only available for learning that is deemed current, i.e. learning that is:

  1. less than eight years prior to the application
  2. within a shorter timeframe, as set by the Course Coordinator and approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) of the relevant College in order to meet professional registration requirements or where there have been significant discipline advances, or
  3. when under an articulation agreement, consistent with the current articulation tables that form part of the agreement.

(11) When determining the currency of the learning for which advanced standing is sought, the year of study is the year of completion of a subject or group of subjects, or conferral of the award, whichever is most recent.

(12) Eligibility for credit does not guarantee a prospective student automatic entry into a La Trobe program of study.

(13) Where completion of studies or a previous course is a prerequisite for admission to a course, these prerequisite studies may not be used to also claim advanced standing.

(14) Credit is not granted more than once for studies previously undertaken.

(15) The University may designate courses where there is only admission into first year. This will be made clear to prospective applicants and be clear within offer letters.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Application

(16) Applications for advanced standing may be made:

  1. at the time of an application for admission; or
  2. after a person has been enrolled and become a student of the University, but prior to the commencement of teaching for the subject(s) for which advanced standing is sought.

(17) Applications for advanced standing for international students are lodged with La Trobe International at the time of applying for admission to the University.

(18) All applicants must complete their advanced standing application by the due dates advertised on the La Trobe website.

(19) Applicants for advanced standing must submit:

  1. a good quality copy of the academic transcript; and
  2. where relevant, subject guides or equivalent, showing learning outcomes and assessment activities for the subjects/units for which credit is being sought.

(20) All supporting documentation must be in English. Documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by certified translations.

Part B - Assessing Advanced Standing Based on Prior Credentialed Studies

(21) All credit decisions are recorded as precedents, and administered by admissions staff. 

(22) Precedents may include articulation tables created under articulation agreements as outlined in the Educational Partnerships Procedure - Articulation.

(23) Where there is no precedent Course Coordinators or nominees are responsible for assessing individual applications for advanced standing.

(24) Credit decisions and precedents are subject to periodic University-level review.

Part C - Process for Assessment of Non-Credentialed or Informal Learning

(25) Assessing applications for credit based on work or other non-credentialed experience, rather than prior study, is the responsibility of the relevant Course Coordinator or nominee.

(26) Applicants may be required to supply certified copies of statements from employers, present a portfolio or curriculum vitae, attend an interview, and/or demonstrate their competence through any appropriate form of assessment. 

(27) Applicants’ prior learning will be assessed for: 

  1. relevance to the learning outcomes at subject and/or course level;
  2. evidence of skills and knowledge that are pre-requisites for later subjects; or 
  3. where relevant, meeting the requirements of a professional body. 

Part D - Notification and Review 

(28) Applicants making a request for advanced standing prior to admission to the University will be informed of the amount of advanced standing granted in their letter of offer. However, in some instances: 

  1. the assessment process may take longer than the period necessary to send the offer of admission; or 
  2. the applicant may be required to provide further evidence or undertake an additional assessment.

(29) In all other cases: 

  1. applicants for credit based on prior credentialed studies will normally be formally notified of the outcome within 10 University business days;
  2. applicants for recognition of informal or non-credentialed learning will normally be officially notified of the outcome within 20 business days of the provision of materials, interview or assessment activity, whichever is the later.

(30) Notification to students will be forwarded to the email address provided in the application and will outline:

  1. the outcome
  2. the amount of credit granted; and
  3. review and appeal options.

(31) Applicants should attend classes as normal until advised of advanced standing outcomes.

(32) An applicant may make a request for a review of a decision if they believe the policy or procedure was not followed. Details of the review process are available on the La Trobe Student website. The relevant Head of School is responsible for making a decision on the review application.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(33) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Advanced Standing: Credit granted towards a La Trobe University course for prior learning including, but not limited to, any course of study or subject passed in another educational institution. Advanced Standing is the outcome of the process of Recognition of Prior Learning.
  2. Articulation: the process of linking two or more qualifications together by creating/identifying the content relationships between them.
  3. Credit: the number of subjects or credit points that a student who has been granted advanced standing will be excused from studying within a La Trobe University course.  
    1. Specified credit is credit granted towards specific subjects of a course.
    2. Unspecified credit is credit granted towards optional components of a course, such as electives.
  4. Credit Transfer: A means of linking subjects of current course to facilitate advanced standing into another course.
  5. Non-Credentialed Learning (Informal): learning achieved through a structured program of learning outside the environment of an accredited higher education or vocational education provider. For example, in a private education institution, a workplace, or through a professional body.
  6. Recognition of Prior Learning: the process by which prior learning is identified and assessed for relevance and value against the requirements of a La Trobe course to determine the exemptions or advanced standing that may be granted towards that course.