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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should apply for RPL?
  • Students who feel they have significant learning from work and life, which may be equivalent to NSCC courses, are encouraged to apply.

  • How many courses can I challenge?
  • Once admitted, a student can challenge up to two thirds of the courses in a program. This two thirds includes all credit gained through credit transfer and/or challenges.

  • What is the difference between challenging for credit and credit transfer?
  • Challenging for credit focuses on what has been learned experientially, and/or through informal (non-credit) courses, etc. It is unique to each individual. The process involves NSCC assessing the individual's learning. Credit transfer compares the learning outcomes and standards of two different credit courses, one offered by the NSCC and one offered by another accredited institution. These two processes are described below.

  • How do I challenge for credit?
  • Where the learning to be assessed has been achieved through life and work experience and/or informal courses and workshops, your prior learning may be assessed through one or more of the following methods:

    1. Demonstration (you performs tasks, procedures in a clinical setting, use computers and other equipment properly and safely to perform specific tasks, etc.)
    2. Written tests/exams (including essays, short answer exams, objective tests such as multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank)
    3. Oral presentation (you present concepts, ideas, etc. to demonstrate learning and competency)
    4. Interview (you respond to assessor questions in a formal way by responding to set questions, or in a more informal dialogue with the assessor
    5. Product or project assessment (you produces a product or project and responds to assessor questions
    6. Simulation (you engage in role plays or case studies to show competency used in real life situations)
    7. A combination of any of these or other methods developed by assessors.

    Where the learning to be assessed has been achieved through formal credit courses at other post-secondary institutions, credit transfer assessment may be more appropriate.

  • How does credit transfer work?
  • Once a course has been assessed, and determined to be equivalent, any individual who has successfully completed that course will be granted credit for the course, until either of the courses changes. The assessment of the individual has been completed not by the NSCC but by some other post-secondary institution.

  • What is a portfolio?
  • A portfolio is a collection of materials about a learner's past which demonstrates and documents learning which meets each of the stated learning outcomes for the course(s) being challenged.

  • What is my responsibility in challenging through portfolio?
  • Your responsibility is to develop a portfolio which clearly and thoroughly demonstrates and documents how you have met each of the stated learning outcomes for the course(s) you are challenging. The learning needs to be presented in a clear and logical manner. The reader should be able to easily identify the learning, the 'match' to the individual learning outcome(s), and the documentation that verifies that the learning has been achieved. For more information download the challenge portfolio guidelines (PDF 196KB) or contact Student Services at the campus nearest you.

  • What kind of documentation do I need?
  • The documentation included in your portfolio can be primary or direct forms of evidence (products or artifacts you have produced yourself) or secondary or indirect sources of evidence (what others say or observe about you). Please note that the documentation must be thorough and sufficient so that the person assessing your request can confidently determine that you have met the stated learning outcomes at the required level.

  • Who will assess my learning?
  • All RPL challenges are assessed by subject matter experts, usually NSCC faculty.

  • What is the cost to challenge for credit?
  • The cost for full time learners is covered in their program tuition. The cost for part time learners is the equivalent of one sixty hour course and includes all courses challenged.

  • How can I find out more about PLAR?
  • The campus Student Services teams are your first point of contact to learn about current RPL procedures and to make inquires about the process.


Need help?

Find a Contact
For more information or general inquiries, please contact the Student Services Team at a campus near you!
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