The Assessment of Prior Learning (APEL) has a long history in the UK. It was introduced in the early 1980s through the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) which was the awarding body for academic qualifications in Polytechnics.1 The CNAA developed a Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) within its regulatory framework that established APEL as a legitimate means of awarding academic credits. More recently, the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education has issued guidance for the accreditation of prior learning (QAA, 2004). Consequently, the overwhelming majority of UK universities have policies and regulations pertaining to APEL at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. It is the case, however, that take-up
of APEL assessment by students in the UK remains low (Garnett, Portwood, & Costly, 2004; Merrifield, McIntyre, & Osaigbovo, 2000; Pokorny, 2011). In exploring this issue of low take-up by students, this article seeks to examine the process of preparing claims for APEL from student and tutor perspectives, with the aim of understanding what is involved and how the process is experienced by some students with prior professional learning.