Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Second International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Researching Recognition of Prior Learning; the significance of assessor’s values and beliefs within the Totally Pedagogised Society
Phil O'Leary, Ann Ledwith

Last modified: 06-06-2016


This research is exploring the values and beliefs of academic assessors around Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in order to better understand their mindset and provide a foundation for best practice informed by all actors. An interpretative research design and random stratified sampling allowed for 31 interviews with assessors in an institute of technology setting in Ireland. Bernstein’s theories of classification and framing of knowledge and the related ideas of power and control provided the conceptual framework for analysis of the data.  The notion of assessors as actors within the totally pedagogised society also supported analysis.

Results are presented in two themes.  The first theme reports that the primary values and beliefs of assessors around RPL are related to defending the standards of the formal learning system. The second theme ‘balancing,’ diverges from this and provides further understanding as to positions taken with the assessment of RPL. This theme is discussed within the context of the totally pedagogised society. The research concludes that practitioner networks are necessary to cultivate pedagogic agency for RPL through both the official and pedagogic recontextualisation fields.

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