An assessment-recognition matrix for analysing institutional practices in the recognition of open learning

This paper shares some of the findings of the OpenCred study, conducted by the Institute of Learning Innovation at the University of Leicester in collaboration with the European Commission’s Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), and funded by the IPTS. It describes a range of initiatives by higher education and professional training institutions in Europe in which non-formal, open learning achievements are recognised. Recognition of learning is almost always conferred in consideration of the type of assessment used, and so a matrix has been developed to show the relationship between these two features. The vertical axis of the matrix comprises a five-level hierarchy of formality of recognition (from no recognition to full recognition in line with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), while the horizontal axis represents a five-level hierarchy for robustness of assessment (from no assessment to formal examinations). Examples of European open education initiatives are discussed and plotted on the assessment-recognition matrix. The paper concludes with a summary of the tensions between the assessment procedures used and the recognition awarded, and offers recommendations for institutions wishing to evaluate the nature of recognition awarded to open learners. It also identifies further areas in which the framework could develop.