The quality of assessment of prior learning (APL) in university programmes: perceptions of candidates, tutors and assessors

D. Joosten-ten Brinke, D.M.A. Sluijsmans, W.M.G. Jochems

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)


    Formal diplomas and certificates have been accepted as proof that students may receive exemption for parts of their educational programme. Nowadays, though, it is socially desirable that informal and non-formal learning experiences are also recognised. Assessment of prior learning (APL) addresses this issue. In APL, the candidate's knowledge, skills or competences required in informal and non-formal learning are measured against a standard to determine whether they match the learning objectives. Although APL is frequently used in workplaces and vocational education, it is practised less in universities, and research is lacking in this context. This study aims to evaluate the first APL procedure in an academic computer science programme, and an adjusted APL procedure in an educational science masters programme. This is done from the perspective of the APL candidates, tutors and assessors, using the theoretical framework by Baartman et al. (2006). The computer science participants comprised 23 candidates from a police software company, four tutors and four assessors. From educational science, nine candidates, two tutors and two assessors participated. The results show that the APL procedure in educational science is viewed significantly more positively than that in computer science; further, the computer science assessors differ considerably from the other participants in their perceptions relating to the quality criterion 'cognitive complexity'. Explanations for the difference between the two programmes are discussed in this article and assessor and tutor training highly recommended.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-76
    JournalStudies in Continuing Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    Dive into the research topics of 'The quality of assessment of prior learning (APL) in university programmes: perceptions of candidates, tutors and assessors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this