VET recognition of prior learning (RPL) assessment instruction


Instruction statement

This instruction is designed to demonstrate how to undertake and document the TAFE Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment, and administrative processes to record the result in the Student Administration Management System (SAMS).

Definitions and scope

RPL is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning – see definitions of these in the Credit policy) to determine the advanced standing or credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) facilitates the progression of students through qualifications by giving credit for learning outcomes they have already achieved. This may allow for entry into a qualification and/or provide credit towards the qualification. It also may reduce the time required for a student to achieve the qualification.

The following principles, which underpin RMIT RPL policy and procedures, are derived from the key RPL principles of the Australian Qualifications Framework and other Commonwealth and State policies and guidelines:

  • RPL involves undertaking an assessment of each individual who applies to determine the extent to which that individual’s previous learning is equivalent to the learning outcomes of the components of the qualification.
  • It is the responsibility of RMIT to offer RPL assessment to students. RPL policies and practices must ensure that decisions about granting RPL take into account students’ likelihood of successfully achieving qualification outcomes and ensure that integrity of qualification outcomes is maintained (AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy section 2.1.6).
  • The opportunity to apply for RPL for all or part of a program must be offered to students before enrolment and before delivery of structured training.
  • The RPL process does not include any additional training at the unit of competency or module level. If a unit of competency or module has any training activity (e.g., students attending classroom delivery or undertaking any formal training) associated with it then this cannot be classified or reported as RPL.
  • The standard admission process to admit students into the program must be followed for external applicants, including assessment for eligibility for the Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG).
  • The scheduled class start date for RPL must reflect the date the student first submitted their RPL evidence for assessment.
  • Gap training cannot be reported as an RPL outcome.
  • For all Training Package qualifications, the RPL assessment decision must be made against the unit requirements.
  • The standards governing assessment methods used in RPL are the same as those governing assessment following a sequence of learning towards a qualification (refer to Practical guide teaching – Assessment).
  • Where groups of units of competence are being assessed, efforts are made to assess holistically.
  • Consideration of prior learning for international onshore students will be consistent with the requirements of the ESOS Act 2000 and the National Code. For further information on RPL and international onshore students refer to the Credit policy


This instruction applies only to onshore TAFE and preparatory students. It excludes Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) and credit transfer.

Instruction steps and actions:

The Recognition of prior learning (RPL) assessment process consists of the following stages:

  • Identifying the evidence required;
  • Providing advice to students about the process;
  • Providing students with sufficient information to enable them to prepare their evidence to meet the standard required for the RPL assessment process;
  • Assessing using appropriate evidence-gathering methods and tools;
  • Recording the outcome; and
  • Reporting to key internal and external stakeholders.

Instruction (including key points)



1. Advice and planning

Pre-training review

1.1 Conduct a pre-training review of current competencies including literacy and numeracy skills, to identify any competencies previously acquired (e.g. RPL, Recognition of current competency (RCC) or credit transfer).

1.2 Document outcomes from the pre-training review and retain on student file.

Note 1: Refer to Vocational education student pre-training review to determine language literacy and numeracy support needs instruction
Note 2: Refer to Schedule 1 [3.5 a. and b.] of TAFE Performance Agreement Training Services Delivery (the Service Agreement)


Before enrolment and before commencement of structured training.

2. Enrolment

2.1 Student enrols in the program for which they are seeking RPL under a fund source applicable to their Victorian Training Guarantee (VTG) eligibility requirements.


As per the advice in the offer letter or as directed by the relevant school.

3. Recognition of prior learning (RPL) application and evidence gathering

3.1 Student identifies units of competency for RPL.

3.2 RPL assessors conduct a professional conversation with the RPL students before the assessment process starts, to review the likelihood that the student can provide evidence of competency in the courses for which RPL is sought.
Details of this conversation must be documented; a copy of the record of conversation must be forwarded to the student’s RMIT email and retained in the student file.

Note 1: The conversation must be face to face or via the telephone.

Note 2: The preliminary review is very important in ensuring that the student is clear on the RPL process and on what they will need to do to provide appropriate evidence. This will also ensure that students and staff do not waste time collecting and assessing evidence if it is highly likely that the student does not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate competency.

3.3 The student collects and presents evidence (evidence may include, but is not limited to, written, verbal, demonstration, third party testimonials).

3.4 The TAFE Recognition of prior learning application form is completed and lodged at the relevant school





4. Check RPL application for accuracy and completeness

4.1 The RPL application is checked for accuracy and completeness using the TAFE RPL Administration record keeping checklist.

School Administrator

5. RPL interim grade

5.1 Check the class start date to ensure it is within 60 days before recording RNY result.

5.2 If the class start date is not within 60 days, organise class swap before entering RNY result.

5.3 Interim grade RNY (RPL assessment started and results not yet available) is entered either via Results Processing Online (RPO) or in the Student Administration Management System (SAMS).

Note: The RNY result is confirmable and will be reported to indicate RPL assessment has commenced, which will trigger funding payments.

The outcome of the RPL must be finalised and the completed application form forwarded for processing by the end of the calendar year.

School administrator

Before the 20th calendar day of the month in which the application is lodged, in line with the Assessment: Management of Results procedure – Results grade tables

6. Recognition of prior learning assessment

RPL assessment:

  • As with all assessment, this should be undertaken by academic or teaching staff with expertise in the subject, content or skills area, as well as knowledge of and expertise in RPL assessment;
  • Should be of the same standard as other assessment for the qualification;
  • Should recognise learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided the learning is relevant to the learning outcomes in the qualification;
  • Must ensure that evidence provided is valid, authentic, current and sufficient and that the process is fair, flexible, reliable and valid.

Assessment methods:

  • Should include reasonable adjustment for the literacy levels, cultural background and experiences of students, and it should not be a proxy for the assessment skills such as literacy except where these are intrinsic to the learning outcomes of the qualification component;
  • Should address the specific evidence required to demonstrate prior achievement of the learning outcomes and assessment requirements of the particular qualification for which RPL is being sought;
  • Should provide a range of ways for individuals to demonstrate that they have met the required outcomes.

6.1 Assessor reviews all evidence provided by the student and confirms competence (or not) per unit of competency/course/module.

6.2 The RPL Record of Assessment form is completed in line with the requirements above and retained in the student file.


The RPL must be assessed in line with the Assessment: management of results procedure section 4:


No later than two weeks after the class end date

6.3 RPL Application form is updated for each unit of competency to record:

  • Assessment outcome – RLG (RPL granted) or RLN (RPL not granted);
  • Date of assessment for each unit of competency/course/module;
  • Name and signature of assessor


At the same time as the Record of Assessment form is completed

6.4 Record of Assessment and RPL Application form are reviewed to ensure the process requirements listed under Step 6 have been met.

6.5 The Dean/Head of School or delegate signs the RPL Application form to indicate all aspects above have been reviewed.

Head of School or delegate

Within two weeks of initial assessment

7. Communication to students

7.1 Forward letter to student advising outcome of RPL assessment.

School administrator

On completion of assessment

8. Application submitted for processing

8.1 The RPL Application form is forwarded to Data Management Services via the courier.

  • Brunswick or Bundoora campus: can lodge the RPL application form at the Hub to be forwarded via courier.
  • City campus: can take the RPL application form to the courier pick-up locations.

School administrator

8.2 The RPL Application form is logged onto the Document Tracking System

Data Management Services

9. Record in SAMS

9.1 Application is checked for accuracy and completeness

9.2 Interim ‘RNY’ grade is changed to reflect the final assessment outcome RLG – RPL granted or RLN – RPL not granted in SAMS.

9.3 Upon completion the RPL Application form is returned to the school to be placed in the student file.

Data Management Services (DMS)

10. Issue resolution

10.1 Where issues arise during the checking or processing of an RPL application, the form is raised as an issue on the Document Tracking System (DTS).

10.2 The form is forwarded to Records Management Services (RMS) to investigate and work with school staff to resolve.

10.3 Once the issues are resolved, the documentation is returned to Data Management Services for completion.

Data Management Services (DMS)

Records Management Services (RMS)

11. Student file

11.1 The following documentation is placed in the student file for audit purposes:


12. Annual Review

This document will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it captures changes to the TAFE Performance Agreement Training Services Delivery (the Service Agreement) and government notifications

Enrolments and Records, ARG


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