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PSYC104 Research Design and Statistics I AND PSYC213 Individual Differences

Teaching organisation

3 hours contact per week over 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

The use of testing and assessment has a long history in psychology, as it allows the accurate measurement of psychological (and non-psychological) constructs that can be compared between individuals, or can compare an individual's performance from one time point to another. Psychological assessment has been used in education placements (the identification of special needs or of gifted learners), workplace selection and promotion, career testing, and mental health to name but a few. It is the science of psychometric test development, based in classical testing theories, that allows these psychological fields to prosper and evolve in stable and predictable ways. Thus, the overarching aim of this unit is to train students in methods for the development and refinement of new psychological tests and assessments, and to understand the use and appropriate applications of those already in use in the field.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - understand the major issues pertaining to test construction, administration, analysis and interpretation (GA1, GA3, GA5);

LO2 - describe the ethical guidelines pertaining to assessment in the administration, interpretation and reporting of psychological assessment tools/techniques, including the need for factors such as culture to be taken into consideration (GA1, GA5, GA9); 

LO3 - explain the major psychological assessment techniques, including appropriate use/s, and advantages and disadvantages of those assessment techniques (GA4, GA5, GA8); 

LO4 - relate the properties and applications of a number of commonly used psychological tests to contemporary uses in various fields of psychology and related disciplines (GA5);

LO5 - apply this knowledge to psychological research using principles of classical testing theory and psychometric assessment (GA3, GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9). 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Introduction to psychological assessment 
  • Test construction 
  • Applications of psychological testing 
  • Ethics and culture in assessment 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with 3 contact hours per week: each week there will be a 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial. This mode of delivery is designed to enhance discussion and engagement in the content covered in the unit. The lectures are to aid students with the acquisition and understanding of knowledge while the tutorials are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that knowledge. To assist students in their self-directed learning, other learning resources are utilised including: online quizzes and activities; online forums; and lecture recordings.

Assessment strategy and rationale

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

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a written assessment task assessing student's understanding of ethical and cross-cultural considerations specific to psychological assessment; an APA style Lab Report to demonstrate student's understanding and ability to apply key psychometric concepts (i.e., test reliability and validity); and an exam which provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding, consolidation and application of the content covered in the unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Assignment (1000 words)  

This assignment will require answering short answer questions designed to assess students' understanding and ability to apply ethical and cross-cultural considerations (particularly in regard to working with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples) when conducting psychological assessments. The ability to understand and apply ethical and cross-cultural considerations are essential in activities involving the application of psychological tests.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Lab report (1500 words) 

Students are to submit an APA style laboratory report to demonstrate their ability to discuss and consolidate research literature to develop a new psychometric assessment, to provide a description of the methodology of a study, and to interpret and discuss research findings. Students are to demonstrate their skill in locating and evaluating scholarly research and applying the APA referencing system to written work.


LO1, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Final exam (1.5 hours) 

The exam will contain multiple choice and short answer questions. The exam provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding, consolidation and application of the content covered in the unit.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Cohen, R.J., Schneider, W.J., & Tobin, R. M. (2021). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (10th ed.). McGraw Hill.

Kaplan, R. M., & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2017). Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications and Issues (9th ed.). Cengage.

Rust, J., Kosinski, M., & Stillwell, D. (2020). Modern psychometrics: The science of psychological assessment. Routledge.

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