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Recognised criteria

Academic credit is a measure of the outcomes of a course or other learning process. A Credit Rating is expressed as a 'points value' representing the amount of learning and a 'level' representing the difficulty of learning.

The Open Universitys ratings conform to widely recognised European standards.

The OU can credit rate learning programmes from a range of providers, including professional bodies and employers, by comparing their delivery and outcomes with those of higher education awards.

In order to be considered for assessment external courses must meet the following criteria:

  • be presented at a prescribed UK education level, (FE Level 3 to HE Level 8 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and SCQF Level 6 to Level 12 in Scotland) with evidence of mapping of the programme's objectives, learning outcomes, assessment criteria and actual assessment to the credit level descriptors.
  • be formally assessed, by appropriately qualified people, with external validation or moderation by at least one independent external assessor. In this context external means 'external' to the institution as a whole. The external must be able to make judgements and have experience at the appropriate level;
  • have appropriate quality assurance arrangements to monitor the delivery of the programme, reporting annually on the course to the University;
  • be essentially academic, although they may include an assessed practical, vocational or professional element.

Where programmes meet the criteria the procedures for credit rating are designed to be streamlined. The Client Manager will provide information and advice to the organisation at every stage of the process and collect details of the course/s and supporting evidence.

Where programmes do not meet the criteria the OU has trained a number of independent consultants who can be called upon to provide advice and support on a fee paying basis. A list of Consultants can be provided on request.