Introduction to Advanced Entry.

The West of Scotland Consortium's DipSW Programme received approval in 2000 for its AP(E)L or Advanced Entry arrangements. These apply to the courses at Glasgow Caledonian, Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities but not to the course run from Paisley University.

An AP(E)L scheme for the entry with credit to the DipSW

Commitment to widening access and providing a variety of routes to the DipSW is part of both SSSC and West of Scotland Consortium policy. The latter had its framework for advanced entry through AP(E)L approved in May 2000. The AP(E)L scheme for the West of Scotland DipSW is presently available in the routes at Glasgow University, Glasgow Caledonian University and Strathclyde University.

The scheme would allow students to claim credit within the DipSW on the basis of their prior certificated or experiential learning. Students would therefore be able to enter the programme at an advanced stage and continue to accumulate credit, in the usual way, until they had gained the whole award. Institutions have agreed to operate just one advanced entry point. This will be the Intermediate Assessment point for the DipSW. Therefore succesful Advanced Entry candidates would start their course at the beginning of Part 2 of the DipSW Programme.

The SSSC define APL as the accreditation of prior certificated learning, i.e. learning which has taken place on a previous course of study which may exempt the learner from part of the DipSW programme. The accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) is the process of assessing and then credit rating learning which has its source in some experience prior to the point of entry onto a course. It recognises that adults can gain valuable learning as a result of work, voluntary or life experiences. This is particularly the case in social work where many skilled and knowledgeable staff work in a range of social work settings but do not hold formal qualifications. The APEL mechanism can also be applied to any learning resulting from education or training experiences that have not been formally assessed and certificated.

The abbreviation which is used to refer collectively to both these processes, i.e. the accreditation of prior certificated learning and/or the accreditation of prior experiential learning, is AP(E)L. Our proposed Admission with Credit Scheme focuses primarily on people claiming credit in this combined way.

The general principle underlying AP(E)L is that appropriate learning, wherever it occurs, is worthy of credit towards a qualification, provided that:

It is important to remember that it is the learning that attracts credit, not simply the experience. This principle reflects the way in which different individuals can share similar experiences but learn different things as a result. It follows from this that the responsibility for identifying their learning and making an AP(E)L claim rests with the student and will require significant effort on the part of that individual.

©West of Scotland Consortium for Education and Training in Social Work 2001.