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  • Semester 1Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Campus Attendance



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to extend the knowledge and skills that have previously been taught in a three-year undergraduate psychology program and provide a basis of professional knowledge and skills for of psychological testing and assessment.

This unit covers principles and methods of psychological test construction, administration and interpretation of widely used standardised psychological test instruments. The unit familiarises students with the theoretical and empirical foundation that underpin the implementation, and interpretation of some of the more widely used cognitive/intelligence, neuropsychology and personality assessment tools.

The aim of this unit is to facilitate the acquisition of a pre-professional level of understanding of psychological testing and assessment tools that underpin psychological practice, and consider ethical and cross-cultural issues.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Critically evaluate and analyse a range of psychological assessment tools, and the limitations inherent in these approaches, taking into account the unique needs of culturally diverse and vulnerable groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Describe and critically evaluate principles underlying the purpose, administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests including psychometric principles, and the advantage and limitations of psychological assessment tools, and their potential benefits and misusesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO3Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and professional issues involved in the process of psychological assessment and reporting, particularly when providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO4Demonstrate cultural sensitivity in the process of psychological assessmentGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11


Topics will include: 

  • The theoretical and empirical basis of psychological assessment. 
  • Principles in the implementation, and interpretation of some of the more widely used psychological tests. Specific topics may include: evaluation of appropriate normative data; the impact of demographic variables upon IQ estimation; estimates of pre-morbid level of intellectual functioning and memory; pattern analysis and inter-subtest scatter; considerations of abnormality versus clinical significance; evaluation of psychosocial functioning and personality.  
  • Ethical, legal frameworks and professional issues that apply in psychological assessment.
  • Cross cultural-considerations and best practice guidelines especially when delivering psychological assessment services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit has the equivalent of three contact hours per week over twelve weeks which involves lectures, workshops, and web-based learning. Lectures are structured to deliver essential content whilst allowing students the opportunity to critically discuss issues that arise in the unit. Workshops provide students with opportunities for reflective/critical thinking, role play and group discussions, which will enhance both practice and critical analysis of the unit content. Web-based learning will allow for the delivery of unit content. Teaching and learning strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within class activities. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit all the assessment tasks. In addition to this, students must obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50% to pass the unit.

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate acquisition of knowledge and the ability to critically analyse and evaluate key concepts. The case study allows students to apply their understanding of an assessment strategy and critically evaluate evidence provided from a case study. The group task allows students to demonstrate their ability to critical evaluate an assessment and their ability to work effectively in a group. The exam allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of principles underlying the use of psychological tests.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1

Case Study 

In this task students will be able to demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate and apply data from a case study involving a psychological assessment.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2

Group Presentation and Learning Activity 

To demonstrate ability to critical evaluate an assessment and lead the class in a relevant learning activity 


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 3


This examination will assess knowledge and understanding of material related to course content. 


LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Australian Psychological Society (2018). Ethical guidelines for psychological assessment and the use of psychological tests. Author.

Australian Psychological Society (2014). Ethical guidelines for the provision of psychological services for, and the conduct of research with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Author.

Australian Psychological Society (2007). Code of ethics. Melbourne, Australia: Author.

Dingwall, K., Pinkerton, J, & Lindeman, M. (2013). People like numbers: A descriptive study of cognitive assessment methods in clinical practice for Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory. BMC Psychiatry, 13(42), . Doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-13-42

Groth-Marnat, & Wright, A. J. (2016). Handbook of psychological assessment (Sixth edition.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Kaplan, R. M. & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2018). Psychological testing: Principles, application, and issues (9th ed.). Wadsworth. 

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