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ERIC Number: EJ973634
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL): Can Intersubjectivity and Philosophy of Recognition Support Better Equity Outcomes?
Australian Journal of Adult Learning, v51 spec iss p90-109 Dec 2011
The formal recognition of prior learning (RPL) has long been lauded and even, one might suggest, doggedly pursued as a tool of social justice and equity within education sectors across the world (Harris, 1999; Wheelahan, Miller & Newton, 2002; Castle & Attwood, 2001; Cleary et al., 2002). It can accredit skills and knowledges that have evolved from diverse, informal learning experiences and cultural locations and is thought to be "a powerful tool for bringing people into the learning system" who have otherwise become disengaged (Hargreaves, 2006: 2). Many strategies have been identified to increase access to RPL in Australia, including targeted promotion, reduction of bureaucratic procedures, and creative evidence-gathering and assessment techniques. But the fruits of these efforts are not sufficiently realised in increased social inclusion. The data indicate that, while RPL is on the increase in some quarters, there is still limited uptake by traditionally marginalised learners, such that more RPL overall does not necessarily lead to better outcomes for equity groups (Misko, Beddie & Smith, 2007). After more than a decade of focused attention, I believe this situation demands broader, less instrumental thinking, in favour of a more relational analysis of the meaning of recognition assessment and a different conceptualisation of RPL overall. In this paper I draw on qualitative research in progress to explore the meaning of RPL to candidates and the significance of the candidate-assessor relationship as a site of negotiated meaning and identity construction (Hamer, 2010). Looking through the lens of a philosophy of recognition (Honneth, 1995) and postmodern understandings of the discursive production of the self (Chappell et al., 2003; Benhabib, 1992), I ask questions about the nature and effects of the assessment relationship. I invite considerations of this relationship as an intersubjective exchange within a wider, more fundamental "struggle for recognition" as part of human self-actualisation (Honneth, 1995). I will use emerging data to illustrate the meaning and effects of RPL within this theoretical framework and propose a reconceptualisation of recognition assessment that aims to enhance our efforts towards access and equity goals.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Prior Learning, Recognition (Achievement), Philosophy, Postmodernism, Interpersonal Relationship, Access to Education, Inclusion, Adult Vocational Education, Evaluation, Identification
Adult Learning Australia. Level 1, 32 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra, ACT 2603, Australia. Tel: +61-02-6274-9515; Fax: +61-02-6274-9513; Web site: http://www.ala.asn.au
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia