Credit transfer in higher education

A review of the literature

Pollard E, Hadjivassiliou K, Swift S, Green M |   | Department for Education | Mar 2017

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This Rapid Evidence Assessment literature review, conducted by IES on behalf of the Higher Education Directorate of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (now part of the Department for Education), considers the current thinking and research about credit transfer as a method to support flexibility of study in Higher Education (HE).

Credit transfer is the mechanism that allows credit that is conferred by HE awarding bodies to be recognised, quanitified and included towards the credit requirements for a programme or degree delivered by another HE provider, or between programmes offered by a single provider. This European-wide system of credit transfer, the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), allows students to move between programmes, providers and countries and retain the credits they have gained at different providers or on different programmes.

This literature review offers a detailed history of credit transfer in HE, before considering the benefits, both for HE providers and employers, and the challenges and barriers to an effective and widely used credit transfer system.