What do we mean by credit?

In the world of qualifications a credit is the smallest award that can be given to a learner in recognition of their learning achievements.

Of course there are many other definitions of credit. In the world of finance, credit often refers to the creation of a debt: having something now and paying for it later. This is almost opposite to the meaning in qualifications, where credit refers to a “payment” for having achieved something.

In the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), credit is the basic currency of the system: it sets the value of learning achievements. In this system the value of each credit is 10 hours of learning time, and each set of learning achievement (or unit) may be worth 1, 2, 3, 4 or more credits. Credit can be saved up (accumulated) toward qualifications. There is also a system of credit transfer; from one qualification towards another: together a system known as credit accumulation and transfer.

Credit is an enabling mechanism – of itself it cannot deliver the reforms to the learning and skills system that are needed. However the QCF system of units, credits and levels, with a mechanism of credit accumulation and transfer does enable qualifications to be designed that are responsive, adaptive and flexible. It also enables a system that is efficient and avoids un-necessary duplication and repetition of learning and assessment. To achieve this however it will not be enough to use credit to simply disaggregate or add numbers to conventional qualifications. You need to use the features of the QCF to design these improvements into the system.

You can learn more about credit and the QCF here.