Interpretation of credits

It is recommended that credits be taken into consideration in the process of credential evaluation. Credits provide an indication of the amount of study already completed, often reflect a learning path and are thus a useful tool to provide recognition of prior learning. They are also fundamental to the recognition of periods of study which, like completed qualifications, should be given fair consideration. It is important to assess the same qualification at the same level each time notwithstanding a difference in grades or a difference (lower number) in credits which could be due to recognition of Prior Learning by the awarding institution.

Credential evaluators should take into account:

  • The credit system presented; what does it reflect?
    • learning outcomes
    • workload or
    • both learning outcomes and workload?
  • Who is responsible for the assigning of credits and what quality control measures are in place to ensure consistency? For instance, are the credit-allocation procedures validated and reviewed by an external body?
  • Do the credits form part of a larger credit transfer system? If so, what are the processes of credit transfer within that system?
  • At what level have the credits been achieved?
    • Is there a difference between credits at one level (Bachelor’s) and another level (Master’s)?
    • What influence should this have on assessing the final level of learning outcome?

Based on the information gained from the considerations above, it should be possible to form a decision on the recognition of prior learning depending on how the credits link into the system to which access is being sought.

Example 1: Credit transfer
Example 3: Accumulation of credit

Interpretation of grades

Depending on the specific educational system in question, grades may or may not have a direct impact on the assessment of a given qualification. When considering grades obtained in a foreign system, it is recommended to:

  • consider grades in the context of the education system in which a qualification or learning has been achieved;
  • keep in mind that both grading criteria and distribution can vary to a great extent and that the comparison of grades from different grading systems can be problematic.

It may, therefore, be wise to use grades merely as an indicator of a student’s academic performance in general and not as a numerical tool that is easily translatable into one’s own grading system.

Example 2: Poor performance