Recognition of prior learning: Is our performance test of English a good fit for the purpose?

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Living in learning societies has brought an increased focus to lifelong learning and educational policies that support it. One such policy is recognition of prior learning (RPL). In Finnish higher education, the most popular procedure for RPL is a test. This raises the question of how well this assessment method serves its purpose. To examine this theoretically, we used Andersson's 2006 template. Empirically, we gathered anonymous data on the type and range of prior learning among 273 students from engineering and industrial design seeking RPL of English, and analyzed the data in Excel using raw numbers. This analysis shows that the tasks in our RPL test of English differs considerably from those reported in our survey of RPL seekers. This mismatch indicates that we should either adopt an open, divergent assessment method, such as a portfolio, or change our undergraduate English curricula for both engineering and industrial design to better align them with the working-life communication tasks identified in this study - if a closed, convergent assessment method (such as a test) is preferred. Either way, the change would provide better support for RPL and for development action at our university related to strengthening academic-industry relations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 45th SEFI Annual Conference 2017 - Education Excellence for Sustainability, SEFI 2017
    PublisherSEFI Société Européenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)9789899887572
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education - Terceira Island, Azores, Angra do Heroismo, Portugal
    Duration: 18 Sep 201721 Sep 2017
    Conference number: 45


    ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
    Abbreviated titleSEFI
    CityAngra do Heroismo


    • Curriculum development
    • Engineering education
    • Learning assessment
    • University practices


    Dive into the research topics of 'Recognition of prior learning: Is our performance test of English a good fit for the purpose?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this