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lundi 27 juin 2011

Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

The Dutch study workload is measured in credits. These credits are based on workload. Workload includes contact hours, but also practical assignments, lab work and self-study at home. Up to and including 2003-04 the Dutch system was based on 42 credits a year (credits normally being abbreviated with 'SP', which means "StudiePunt", in English: “Study Credit”).

A credit of 1 SP corresponded to 40 hours of workload, which equals one week of work. In the Netherlands, a full academic year comprises 42 SP (thus 42 weeks) by definition.

However, from the academic year 2004-05 onwards alls credits will be based on the European Credit Transfer and accumulation System scheme only. As a result of the Bologna-process the Netherlands has adopted a 60-credit per year system. This means that 60 credits (also called ECTS) represent one year of study in terms of workload.

Below follows more information on ECTS and credits, as well as information on the grading system in the Netherlands.

What is a credit system and what is ECTS?
A credit system is a systematic way of describing an educational programme by attaching credits to its components. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a student-centred system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a programme, objectives preferably specified in terms of learning outcomes and competences to be acquired.

Why introduce ECTS?
ECTS makes study programmes easy to read and compare for all students, local and foreign. ECTS facilitates mobility and academic recognition. ECTS helps universities to organise and revise their study programmes. ECTS can be used across a variety of programmes and modes of delivery. ECTS makes European higher education more attractive for students from other continents.

What are the key features of ECTS?
ECTS is based on the convention that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year. Workload refers to the notional time an average learner might expect to complete the required learning outcomes. Student workload in ECTS includes the time spent in attending lectures, seminars, independent study, preparation for, and taking of, examinations, etc.

Credits are allocated to all educational components of a study programme (such as modules, courses, placements, dissertation work, etc.) and reflect the quantity of work each component requires in relation to the total quantity of work necessary to complete a full year of study in the programme considered.

Credit is also a way of quantifying the outcomes of learning. Learning outcomes are sets of competences, expressing what the student will know, understand or be able to do after completion of a process of learning, short or long. Credits in ECTS can only be obtained after completion of the work required and appropriate assessment of the learning outcomes achieved. Thus, credits are awarded only when a student passes the assessment of the work.

The allocation of ECTS credits is based on the official length of a study programme cycle. The total workload necessary to obtain a first cycle degree (bachelor degree) lasting officially three years is expressed as 180 credits.

26 June, 2011

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