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Negotiating credit transfer: an examination of institutional practices

posted on 27.02.2017, 22:14 authored by Deschepper, Anne M.
Increased activity in vocational (VET) and higher education institutions to negotiate credit arrangements between their courses is designed to provide a seamless pathway for students into their next level of learning. This study explores the credit negotiation process between a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and a University to identify the factors that influence the construction, realisation and containment of credit which influence the potential transition of students between VET courses and Bachelor degrees. The research draws on literature that reviews the distinguishing features of the two education institutions with particular attention to their distinct knowledge traditions. It reviews literature around the recognition of knowledge within academic institutions and identifies the features that have been found to influence credit negotiation between education institutions and sectors. Underpinned by a qualitative approach employing a case study methodology, two cases examining the credit negotiation process between a TAFE Institute and a University in Australia are described. The cases draw on observation of two workshops and interviews with the 10 educators who took part in the negotiation process and who were positioned across TAFE and Higher Education. Four key themes emerge which influence the construction, realisation and containment of credit. They are i) the values ascribed to academic and vocational knowledge; ii) the binding rules of credit within Higher Education which determined the amount of credit given; iii) the educators acting as agents of their institution; and iv) the educational values and orientation of the educators involved in the negotiation process. The study suggests that establishing the equivalence of the courses is impeded by the contrasting beliefs of the TAFE and University educators around the value of academic knowledge within University courses and the vocational knowledge within TAFE courses. The University, and its traditions, set the conditi,ons for, and parameters of, the credit exercise and emerged as authoritative in the negotiation process. By implication, the study highlights that the concept of seamless transition between education institutions, through credit transfer, is by no means smooth. It is subject to barriers that influence the construction of credit transfer arrangements which, in turn, affects its ultimate realisation for potential transitioning students. 

Awards: Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Masters Thesis Excellence in 2013.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Allie Clemans

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Monash University. Faculty of Education. Education


Faculty of Education