Assessment of Prior Learning in Adult Vocational Education and Training


  • Vibe Aarkrog Aarhus University, Department of Education
  • Bjarne Wahlgren Aarhus University, Department of Education



adults, skilled qualification, school-based assessment of prior learning, knowing how, knowing that, assessor qualifications


The article deals about the results of a study of school-based Assessment of Prior Learning of adults who have enrolled as students in a VET college in order to qualify for occupations as skilled workers. Based on examples of VET teachers’ methods for assessing the students’ prior learning in the programs for gastronomes, respectively child care assistants the article discusses two issues in relation to Assessment of Prior Learning: the encounter of practical experience and school-based knowledge and the validity and reliability of the assessment procedures.  Through focusing on the students’ knowing that and knowing why the assessment is based on a scholastic perception of the students’ needs for training, reflecting one of the most important challenges in Assessment of Prior Learning: how can practical experience be transformed into credits for the knowledge parts of the programs? The study shows that by combining several Assessment of Prior Learning methods and comparing the teachers’ assessments the teachers respond to the issues of validity and reliability. However, validity and reliability might be even further strengthened, if the competencies are well defined, if the education system is aware of securing a reasonable balance between knowing how, knowing that, and knowing why, and if the teachers are adequately trained for the assessment procedures.


Final Publication Date


How to Cite

Aarkrog, V., & Wahlgren, B. (2015). Assessment of Prior Learning in Adult Vocational Education and Training. International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training, 2(1), 39–58.