Credit is a convenient device for describing the amount and level of learning achieved by a student on a course or a course component.
Credit is used widely to help students move between courses and institutions and works on a common UK standard framework called the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credit rated courses
Where Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), including Brookes, have signed up to using the CATS, established protocol ensures that the credit rating ascribed by an HEI to their course/units is accepted by other HEIs - ie the volume and level awarded is not to be reconfigured on transfer so, for example, credit at Level 4 stays at Level 4 and 115 points is not rounded up to 120.
However, the accepting HEI must always scrutinise the course information in order to ascertain which credit it is appropriate to assign to the ‘new’ course that is to be studied and its rules. Once admitted to Brookes, a credit entry student is subject to the same subject rules as standard students according to the Stage they are in. See rules applicable to specific students.
- A single module at Brookes is worth 15 CAT Credits.
- A basic module is Level 4 (from September 2010).
- From September 2011, advanced modules are Level 5 and Level 6 honours modules.
When a student has been admitted with credit, specific UMP Regulations apply - please see the University’s Specific Regulations B2.14 Admissions with Credit and Credit Transfer. If you need further information about how these apply to specific students, please contact the Programme Support Team in Student Registry.
Assessing and reporting credit
Form M103 Statement of Credit must be completed as part of the offer process for admitting a student with prior credit.
The Examination Committee has the discretion to refuse a request for an award of prior credit to be considered after enrolment when the student did not make the request at the time of application.
A Guide to Credit Transfer (for students) is available from the Brookes website.
The issue of awarding credit arises most often when students are admitted with credit but applies in other contexts – eg exchange study. The QA Handbook states that a "credit rating (of a student’s prior learning) is subject to the authority of the appropriate examination committee, including the external examiners." For practical purposes, responsibility for awarding credit is devolved to the Programme Lead or another designated staff member who reports to the Examination Committee on the award of credit and to raise any issues arising from it.
Where it is anticipated that several or many students may come to Brookes with the same qualification or credit (eg students progressing from a particular Foundation Degree), it is expected that a template for a standard award of credit be recommended by the SEC to the Faculty Board for approval. Marks can only be transferred with specific credit where it has been agreed with a partner and has been approved by the University.
Admission with credit
Assessment of Prior Learning (APL)
- The description of the courses during which the learning took place, preferably with learning outcomes and assessment tools specified
- A transcript or other official institutional document specifying the students results in modules, course units or other assessed course components together with information on the grading system used so that passes and fails can be identified along with the level of the credit to be awarded, the size of the units in CAT points and the period of time over which the credit was accumulated.
Accreditation of Work-Based Learning (APEL)
Credit may be awarded for work-based learning on the grounds of achievement of appropriate and assessed learning outcomes.
Credit is NOT awarded for experience ALONE and NOT as general credit.
- The learning outcomes achieved must relate to HE levels and bear comparison with general level descriptors and any benchmarks in the subject area; the learning should demonstrate underpinning knowledge and concepts.
- The learning must be assessed through appropriate tasks (eg portfolio, interview) to determine the level and volume of credit to be awarded and, if appropriate, the grade/mark to be awarded.
The award of APEL credit must be verified by an Examination Committee and its External Examiner. The award is reported via Form M103.
Credit Transfer of Concurrent Learning
A student may seek credit for concurrent learning when he or she has been on exchange or has undertaken study at another institution in order to meet an Oxford Brookes' requirement. The principles of assessment by an Exam Committee remain the same as those used for the award of credit for prior learning, but the administration of transfer is handled differently.
In general, the award of credit for specific study proposed on exchange or at another HEI should be discussed and approved in principle before the student undertakes it. This means that information about the units to be studied (their content, credit volume and level) should be known in advance and a decision taken as to whether the study is compatible with the course and subject requirements.
Once the agreement is in place, it should be recorded in writing and a copy retained by the subject and the student. Each Faculty has an Exchange Coordinator responsible for liaison with the Exchanges Team to support staff and students involved in Exchange arrangements.
Brookes has signed up to the European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS) as a condition for participation in EU Exchange Schemes. When a European transfer is completed, the other institution should provide a transcript in which the study is specified as ECTS credits. These units are twice the size of the units used in the UK so that 7.5 ECTS credits correspond to one module credit at Brookes. If the results are reported as ECTS grades (A, B, C, D, E & F) then a mark should also be transferred as specified on form M8 using schedule 4 of the University Regulations (A3.14.4).
Other than EU Exchanges operating within the ECTS framework, institutional grades may only be transferred with marks if a complete schedule has been recommended by the Faculty Board and approved by the Combined Studies Examination Committee.
Recording Transferred Credit
When the student has completed the study and submitted a transcript confirming the award of credit, the subject checks it against the agreement and uses Form M8 to award the appropriate credit. Both passed and failed credit must be reported on the M8. Passed credit is awarded as XC grades and failed as XF. It is possible to award generic credit if there is no specific equivalent module at Brookes.
For further information, please see the Study Abroad and Exchanges webpage.