Microsystems  Acupuncture

Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning APEL

Microsystems of Acupuncture Council [MAC, pending]

Microsystems Acupuncture Regulatory Working Group (MACRWG)


English Language Proficiency! 3

Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL)! 3

General Policy! 4

Procedure for consideration of requests for APEL! 5


Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL): a process through which learning achieved outside education or training systems is assessed and, as appropriate, recognised for academic purposes. Registrants who have any APEL should consult the forums APEL document to appraise what elements meet the standards of the Microsystems PF.

a) English Language Proficiency

Candidates for admission to the Council shall have sufficient command of the language in which the course is taught to meet all the requirements of the course. New applicants who have not had their education through the medium of English should normally have attained the equivalent of IELTS 6.5, Cambridge Advanced. The Council approves the following range of English language requirements as acceptable for admission to the register; IELTS (International English Language Testing System) - 6.5

b) Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL)

It is a process that enables people of all ages, backgrounds and attitudes to receive formal recognition for skills and knowledge they already possess. Recognition may give the learning a credit-value in a credit based structure and allow it to be counted towards the completion of a programme of study and the award(s) or qualifications associated with it. It takes into account:

    • prior-learning where the learning has been assessed and where certificates are awarded on completion.

    • learning gained through experiences and short courses.

APEL is of particular value to:

    • Mature students returning to education who lack the formal qualifications required for entry to a course of study.

    • Past students who have previous educational qualifications but who now seek to add to those qualifications in order to broaden their expertise or change careers.

    • APEL can be used to avoid repeating specific modules of learning by providing evidence that prior learning has already taken place.

    • Those who are seeking the award of professional qualifications and need to provide evidence of specific training and practical work experience.

    • APEL provides the framework for collecting and presenting the evidence that is required

    • Students who wish to gain recognition for informal learning that has taken place through work or leisure-related activities.

c) General Policy

1. All applicants must be treated equitably regardless of the source of the learning which is being assessed.

2. All applicants, including those seeking exemption from units or parts of units on the basis of prior learning, must meet the learning outcomes for the Council.

3. Training organisations which routinely handle APEL applications as part of their normal processes should have clear written procedures in place for the consideration of such requests. These procedures must be rigorous, fair and transparent, and must specify where there are any differences in the mechanisms for considering claims based on prior certificated learning and prior experiential learning. Procedures should set out clearly for applicants the roles and responsibilities of those involved in advising on claims and in the decision making process.

4. Training organisations which routinely handle APEL applications are encouraged to develop a learning tariff which indicates where certificated credit from other institutions may be regarded as demonstrating equivalence.

5. Mechanisms for assessing learning must be rigorous in ensuring that the learning which has taken place through experience or prior certificated learning is equivalent to the learning which would occur from following those elements of the programme of study from which the applicant seeks exemption, and that equivalent learning outcomes have been met.

6. Credit must be given only for demonstrated learning, where equivalence of learning outcomes can be demonstrated, and not for experience alone. Learning must also be of an equivalent level and volume, and be valid, sufficient, authentic (i.e. related to the applicant’s own efforts and achievements), current, and relevant.

7. Applicants must in all cases present evidence that learning has taken place and that equivalence can be demonstrated. Appropriate evidence may include transcripts, portfolios, essays written for the purpose, interviews, work-based projects, vivas or completion of the usual assessment associated with the unit(s) for which equivalence is being claimed.

8. Claims for the consideration of APEL will be considered based on learning which was obtained no more than 5 years previously. However, claims based on learning outside this time-limit may be considered under APEL where a candidate is able to demonstrate evidence of continuous application, updating and relevance to their practice.

9. Training organisations should provide advice and support for applicants seeking APEL, including information on the types of evidence considered acceptable, the extent of evidence required. The extent of support available should be specified in advance to applicants, including where there may be limits on that support.

10. Training organisations should be aware that it may be necessary to provide additional advice for applicants for whom English is not their first language – for example about responsibilities for any translation required. It is however the applicants’ responsibility to prepare and submit their application in line with required procedures and deadlines.

11. Training organisations are encouraged to make clear in documentation that the views of an advisor on a draft claim does not guarantee the outcome of the claim when the request is formally assessed.

12. Training organisations should be aware that it may be necessary to vary arrangements, for example for vivas, where students have particular communication needs or other special requirements.

13. APEL applications should be available for scrutiny by external examiners in accordance with normal procedures for assessed work.

14. These procedures can be made available in alternative formats. Please contact the Microsystems PF in the first instance, indicating the format required

d) Procedure for consideration of requests for APEL

Applications for exemption must set out clearly how their prior learning achievements meet the specified learning outcomes at the appropriate level. Before admission to the register, the applicant should submit information on the prior learning concerned. The information submitted should normally include:

1. Confirmation from the awarding institution of the level of the course, the date of completion and the modules taken (e.g. a transcript).

2. Information from the awarding institution on the learning outcomes achieved, and details of the curriculum on the basis of which accreditation of prior learning is proposed.

3. If the application is for APEL, information on the applicant’s relevant professional background, including employment and any relevant training courses or other study undertaken.

4. A description of how the applicant’ s qualification or professional experience relates to the learning outcomes and curriculum of the modules from which exemption is requested.

5. The Council may also ask the applicant to complete a piece of written work or to follow an APEL module.

6. At least two members of the Council concerned should be involved in the consideration of the APEL application.

7. A letter will be sent by the Council or training organisation to the applicant informing them of the result of their application.

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