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Rules for Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning

Established by Regulation No 7 of 22 October 2019 of the Senate of Tallinn University of Technology (entry into force 01.08.2020)

In force from: 01.08.2020

This Regulation is established on the basis of clause 5 (3) 1) of the Tallinn University of Technology Act.

§ 1. General provisions

(1) These Rules apply to the terms and conditions and procedure for accreditation of prior and experiential learning (hereinafter referred to as “APEL”) at Tallinn University of Technology (hereinafter referred to as “TalTech” or “the university”).

(2) APEL is applied at the university:
1) for completion of a study programme in an unlimited volume, except in the cases specified in subsection (3);
2) for compliance with the admission requirements.

(3) APEL cannot be applied:
1) for passing a final examination or defending a graduation thesis;
2) to a part of a course which is accredited by agreement between the student and the lecturer of the relevant course;
3) to internship, which shall be accredited according to the internship guide.

(4) The goal of APEL is to:
1) value the competence of a person and provide equal opportunities for assessing and acknowledging it, regardless of the time, place and manner of acquiring the knowledge and skills;
2) increase educational and professional mobility of persons, including persons with special needs, and enhance opportunities for life-long learning;
3) enable recognition of outcomes of studying in the educational system consisting of cycles (formal education), other organised study activities (non-formal education) and learning through professional experience and during everyday activities and during leisure time (informal education) equally to compliance with the admission requirements or with learning outcomes achieved by completing a study programme;
4) enable the university to respond flexibly to changes in the labour market and change of labour needs.

(5) In addition to passing a final examination or defending a graduation thesis, the dean has the right to give an order determining the courses in the study programme to which APEL cannot be applied.

(6) Once the student has declared a course in the study information system ÕIS, passing of the declared course cannot be claimed for based on experiential, continuing education or other learning acquired before declaration.

§ 2. Providing advice and carrying out assessment

(1) A person applying for APEL receives general information on application of APEL from the specialist of the Office of Academic Affairs.

(2) Advice on APEL in a School is provided by a person/persons appointed by the dean (hereinafter referred to as “APEL adviser”) and assessment in a School is carried out by a person/persons appointed by the dean (hereinafter referred to as “APEL assessor”). In cases specified in subsections 4 (7) and (8) of the Rules the dean shall establish a committee for APEL assessment.

(3) The Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs shall establish an APEL Advisory Committee comprising representatives of the Schools, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Open University and students. The student representative to the APEL Advisory Committee shall be appointed by the Student Union.

(4) The APEL Advisory Committee is responsible for ensuring a uniform level of implementation of APEL, deciding on general issues related to APEL, analysing the cases related to APEL and making proposals for amendment of the Rules.

§ 3. Submitting and processing of applications for completion of a study programme

(1) An applicant can apply for the recognition of learning gained from formal education courses, continuing education or professional experience in order to complete a study programme in compliance with the submitted application.

(2) An APEL application (hereinafter referred to as “application”) shall include:
1) the applicant’s personal data;
2) the list of the subjects included in the application and the data indicating compliance with the learning outcomes of the course;
3) evidence.

(3) A student shall submit an application in the study information system ÕIS. A person who is not a student shall fill in and sign an application available on the TalTech website under APEL and send the application to an APEL adviser of the School.

(4) Documents and materials that can be used as evidence include:
1) a diploma, a certificate or other documents certifying prior studies, including a continuing education course;
2) a self-analysis and other relevant evidence of learning from professional work experience or daily and leisure activities (a job description, a directive on appointment to office, a professional certificate, a portfolio or reference to work completed, etc.).

(5) The applicant shall be liable for the veracity of documents and other materials submitted by him/her.

(6) Paper documents certifying formal education shall be submitted to the dean’s office in the form of original documents. An employee of the dean’s office has the right to request an assessment of qualifications acquired abroad from the ENIC/NARIC centre.

(7) A fee is charged for the review and assessment of applications. Payment shall be made on the basis of an invoice. The rates and payment procedure of APEL fees shall be established by the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.

(8) An invoice shall be submitted to the applicant based on his/her application. Upon receipt of the fee in TalTech’s bank account, the APEL advisor will forward the application to the APEL assessor. If the invoice is not paid by the due date, the application will not be processed and will be rejected.

(9) An APEL assessor shall review the application and make an assessment decision within 30 calendar days. The APEL assessor has the right to ask the applicant to pass a test, an assessment or an examination or to submit additional documents or to have an interview, if necessary. The period designated for making the assessment decision shall be extended according to the time spent on additional operations. Both in case of approval or rejection of an application, the APEL assessor shall include the reasons of his or her decision in the application. The APEL adviser shall mark a positive assessment decision made based on a student’s application in the study information system ÕIS as completion of the study programme. An applicant, who is not a student, shall receive the assessment decision in writing.

(10) The courses that have received a positive decision based on an application submitted before 30 November in the autumn semester and before 30 April in the spring semester are counted toward completion of a study programme in the current semester. These deadlines do not apply to courses taken during a semester as a visiting student or while studying abroad.

(11) The APEL adviser shall:
1) check the submitted application and asks the applicant to supplement the application if necessary;
2) submit an invoice and check payment of the invoice;
3) forward a duly completed application to the assessor;

4) approve and register a student’s APEL application in ÕIS if the application is partially or fully approved. The assessment decision is available to the student in the study information system ÕIS. If the applicant is not a student, the APEL adviser shall formalise the assessment decision and forward it to the applicant within 14 calendar days as of making the decision. The assessment decision applies until the study programme version underlying the application is taught. If the applicant submits the assessment decision to the APEL adviser of the corresponding School upon matriculation, completion of the study programme shall be recorded in the study information system ÕIS based on the assessment decision.

§ 4. General principles of assessment upon completion of a study programme

(1) When applying for the recognition of learning gained from prior formal education, the suitability of acquired learning outcomes for completing the study programme shall be assessed. If the decision is positive, the original performance shall be recorded in the student’s results. If the assessment system of the other educational institution differs from the assessment system valid at TalTech, pass/fail assessment shall be used, marking a positive result as “passed”. In case of accreditation of learning gained from formal education abroad, the positive result is marked as “passed”. The Office of Academic Affairs shall enter the courses passed outside TalTech in the non-TalTech courses register and link them to the corresponding institution of higher education. If the institution of higher education is in a foreign country, the country shall be specified in the study information system ÕIS. If the date of performance is not specified in the document annexed to the application, the date of transfer of the learning results shall be deemed as the date of performance.

(2) When claiming for learning from continuing education or professional experience to be awarded towards completion of a study programme, compliance of the knowledge acquired with the courses suitable for completion of the study programme shall be assessed. If the decision is positive, the course suitable for completing the study programme shall be recorded in the student’s results. Single courses passed in continuing education can be counted separately or the continuing education programme can be counted as a whole towards completion of a study programme. Learning gained from work experience can be used for completing a study programme in the corresponding course. The result of the assessment shall be marked as “passed”, using pass/fail assessment. The date of transfer shall be marked as the date.

(3) When claiming for learning from continuing education to be awarded towards completion of a doctoral study programme, which does not include a course corresponding to the learning, compliance of the knowledge acquired in the courses with the learning outcomes of the study programme or its module shall be assessed. The learning outcomes acquired at a training must be approved by both the PhD student’s supervisor and the programme director before attending the training. If the PhD student’s supervisor and the programme director are the same person, the learning outcomes acquired at the training must be approved also by the dean. The volume, content and goal of the training must be clearly evidenced by the PhD student. The volume of the course must be expressed in ECTS credit points or it must be possible to convert it into ECTS credit points. If the decision is positive, original performance shall be recorded in the student’s results; the positive result is marked as “passed”.

(4) In case of an application for a combination of APEL, it is possible to accredit courses passed in formal education and continuing education or learning gained from professional experience. It must be verified that the contents of prior learning corresponds to the learning outcomes of the course suitable for completing the study programme. If the assessment decision is positive, the course included in the study programme shall be recorded in the student’s results. The result of the assessment shall be marked as “passed”, using pass/fail assessment. The date of transfer shall be marked as the date.

(5) When applying for accreditation of learning gained from continuing education, professional experience or from combination of different types of APEL in order to complete a free choice courses module, compliance with the courses included in the course listing shall be assessed. The name of the APEL assessor is displayed in the study information system ÕIS.

(6) If necessary, the APEL assessor may involve an academic staff member in the relevant field in the assessment process. In this case, the name and opinion of the lecturer who provided the assessment shall also be marked in the application.

(7) APEL assessment shall be organised by the APEL assessment committee established by the dean and including a representative of the Office of Academic Affairs, if completion of more than 50% of the volume of a bachelor’s, professional higher education, integrated or master’s study programme is applied for by accreditation of learning from professional experience, independent studies or continuing education or by combined APEL.

(8) APEL assessment shall be organised by the APEL assessment committee established by the dean and including a representative of the Research Administration Office, if completion of more than 50% of the volume of a doctoral study programme is applied for by accreditation of learning from professional experience, independent studies or continuing education or by combined APEL.

(9) Courses in the volume exceeding the maximum established in the study programme can be recorded in the student’s results based on an APEL application if:
1) the courses are taken as an exchange student at a higher education institution abroad;
2) the courses have been passed previously in TalTech.

(10) The way the assessment decision was developed must clearly and unambiguously become evident from the documents used for making the decision. An assessment decision shall be made based on the compliance of the applicant’s knowledge and skills with the learning outcomes of a course or module.

§ 5. Applying APEL for compliance with the admission requirements upon applying for master’s studies

(1) An APEL application (hereinafter referred to as “application”) shall include:
1) the applicant’s personal data;
2) data on acquisition of the required prior professional knowledge;
3) evidence.

(2)For accreditation of prior and experiential learning, applicants who do not meet the requirements for admission to a master’s program shall submit a standard application to the School’s APEL adviser no later than on 10 June of the current admission period. With the approval of the dean, an exception can be made so that it is possible to submit documents until the end of the admission period.

(3) APEL assessment shall be carried out as follows:
1) An APEL assessor shall review the application and make a decision within 14 calendar days. The APEL assessor has a right to ask the applicant to pass a test, an assessment or an examination or to submit additional documents or to have an interview, if necessary;
2) An APEL assessor shall declare that the results of prior learning either meet or do not meet the requirements for applying for a master’s programme;
3) If the results of prior learning do not meet the requirements set for applying for the desired study programme, the APEL assessor shall, at the request of the applicant, determine which courses have to be passed before application;
4) The assessment decision is issued to the applicant from the dean’s office of the School.

§ 6.Contesting

(1) Decisions arising from implementation of APEL may be contested pursuant to the procedure provided for in the Academic Policies.

§ 7. Implementation of the Regulation

(1) The Regulation No 4 of the Senate of Tallinn University of Technology of 21.03.2017 “The Procedure and Terms and Conditions for Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning” is repealed.

(2) This Regulation shall enter into force on 1 August 2020.