Recognition of Prior Learning in Next Generation Awards
SQA’s policy on Recognition of prior learning (RPL) outlines how we take into account the knowledge, understanding and practical experience learners have before they start a qualification when we consider whether they have met that qualification’s evidence requirements.
We recognise that learners gain knowledge and skills through formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts. A learner is unlikely to have the appropriate prior learning and experience to meet all the requirements of a full group award before they start the course.
Recognition of prior learning in Next Generation Higher National Qualifications
SQA’s RPL policy also applies to Next Generation Higher National Qualifications (NextGen HNQs). We have produced this FAQ guidance to help you apply RPL to these qualifications. In this guidance, we refer to non-NextGen HNQs as current HNQs.
If a learner has completed a NextGen HNC, can they move onto a current HND?
Yes. The knowledge, skills and understanding learners develop during their NextGen HNC puts them in a good position to articulate to the HND. The delivering centre should use SQA’s RPL guidance to facilitate this.
NextGen HNCs don’t have a graded unit. Does this mean a learner can’t move onto to a current HND?
No. The absence of a graded unit does not affect a learner’s ability to progress to the next level. The evidence learners generate across the award determines their grade. The NextGen award is still graded, with learners receiving a grade of ‘achieved’, ‘achieved with merit’ or ‘achieved with distinction’ when they complete the award. Delivering centres should use SQA’s RPL guidance to help them with this. You can find more information on grading models in NextGen HNQs on our website.
If a learner has completed a NextGen HNC and moves onto a current HND, the centre must enter a grade for the graded unit for them. How should they go about this?
The NextGen grading model differs from the current HNQ model. In NextGen: HNQs, instead of using a single 1-credit unit as the grading vehicle, grading is generated across the award. The NextGen award is still graded, with the learner receiving a grade of ‘achieved’, ‘achieved with merit’ or ‘achieved with distinction’. These grades are not aligned to the graded unit model of A, B and C.
In this situation, we expect practitioners to use their professional judgement of the learner’s NextGen HNC grade to make a fair decision on the graded unit element, while following the existing requirements and guidance for the current HND. Practitioners use their professional judgement when using SQA’s RPL policy when learners enter any SQA course.
Does a NextGen HNC together with a current HND give sufficient credits needed for direct entry to university?
Yes. NextGen HN awards, both NextGen HNCs and NextGen HNDs, are distinct qualifications consisting of 15 credits each, while current HNDs consist of 15 credits. This means that if a learner completes a NextGen HNC and then completes a current HND, they have achieved 30 credits, equal to university entry requirements when articulating from an HND to a degree programme.
Does a NextGen HND together with a current HNC give sufficient credits needed for direct entry to university?
No. NextGen HN awards, both NextGen HNCs and NextGen HNDs, are distinct qualifications consisting of 15 credits each, while current HNCs consist of 12 credits. This means that if a learner completes a current HNC and then completes a NextGen HND, they have achieved 27 credits. In this situation, the centre should support the learner by providing a route to the 30 credits required for articulation.
Can a learner move onto a current HND in a different centre having completed a NextGen HNC?
Yes. NextGen HNQs are stand-alone qualifications. A learner who has successfully completed a NextGen HNC brings 15 credits as an entry offer to a NextGen HND. Centres must assess whether the learner has sufficient relevant knowledge to indicate their potential success in an HND and beyond. Centres must enter and result the learner for the units in the current HNC. This is the same approach they would use for a learner coming from a current HNC in one college to a current HND in another. Centres can use RPL to facilitate this.
If a learner has completed a NextGen HNC and moves into a current HND, are there any additional entry cost implications for centres when implementing the RPL guidance?
No. When a learner completes a NextGen HNC and moves onto a current HND, the delivering centre should use SQA’s RPL policy to facilitate this. This means that the centre enters and results the learner for the first year of the HND (HNC year). There is no additional cost for this; the current pricing structure for an HND still applies.