Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The aim of this unit is to assist Pre-service teachers to develop advanced understanding of the inclusion of students with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools. The unit will assist pre-service teachers to develop an in depth understanding of a range of prevalent disabilities including diagnostic criteria and differential diagnoses. The unit will also help pre-service teachers to understand the ethical, legal and professional issues in relation to assessment and develop familiarity with a range of assessment tools. Pre-service teachers will learn to read reports from other professionals and to develop intervention strategies based on their own assessments and other professionals' reports.

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 - analyse the inclusion movement and factors influencing legislation and policy in the area of inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream schools (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA6; APST 1.6, 4.4) 

LO2 - demonstrate a broad understanding of a range of disabilities including aetiology, prevalence, characteristics and educational implications (GA1; APST 1.1, 1.2, 4.3, 7.4) 

LO3 - choose, administer, interpret and report on a range of assessment tools (GA1, GA3; GA4; APST 5.1, 5.2, 5.5) 

LO4 - use a range of resources to develop data driven, evidence based solutions to common classroom problems related to specific disabilities. (GA1, GA4, GA6; APST 1.2, 1.5, 2.5, 2.6, 3.6, 4.1, 6.2) 

LO5 - exercise critical thinking and judgements through a systematic approach to the assessment of children to develop new understandings in relation to the educational needs of students with disabilities (GA3, GA4, GA6; APST 1.2, 3.1, 6.2). 

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 

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


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

1.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.3 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Topics will include: 

  • The rights of students with disabilities 
  • Person first language 
  • Ethical, legal and professional issues in assessment 
  • Cultural considerations relating to assessment tasks 
  • Useful statistical and measurement concepts 
  • Assessment processes 
  • Assessment tools 
  • Interpreting assessment results 
  • Learning disabilities 
  • Cognitive disabilities 
  • Sensory disabilities 
  • Physical disabilities 
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • Speech and language disabilities 
  • Behavioural disabilities 
  • Giftedness 
  • Reading assessment reports 
  • Designing interventions based on assessments 
  • Response to intervention 
  • Adjusting teaching and assessment  
  • Differentiating classroom programs (e.g., using Universal Design for Learning) 
  • Data driven evidence based evaluation of classroom programs. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit will consist of the equivalent of 150 hours of study. This could include any combination of lectures, workshops, tutorials, school visits, case study development, classroom simulations and other online activities. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements and the development of Australian Graduate Teacher Standards. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, essays, reports, examinations, online activities, student presentations and case studies. This unit requires that two or three assessment tasks be completed one of which is the common assessment task. The total of assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 5,000 words. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Case study – assessment of a student including any ethical considerations, observations, choice of an assessment tool, reasons for choice, interpretation of results and development of an intervention which could be incorporated in the student’s current classroom program. 


LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA6 

Assessment Task 2 

Essay –  

  1. Factors influencing the inclusion movement or 
  2. Analysis of a popular intervention program such as Reading Recovery. or 
  3. Ethical, legal and professional issues. 


LO1, LO2, LO5 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA6 


Exam of short answers and extended responses that demonstrates achievement of the unit outcomes and addresses the key content of lectures and tutorials. 


LO1, LO2, LO5 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA6 

Representative texts and references

Edwards, M. (2014). Every child, every day: A digital conversion model for student achievement. USA: Pearson. 

Gargiulo, R.M., & Metcalf, D. (2013). Teaching in today’s inclusive classrooms: A universal design for learning approach (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 

Hallahan, D.P., Kauffman, J.M., & Pullen, P.C. (2009). Exceptional learners: Introduction to special education (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson Incorporated. 

Kirk, S., Gallagher, J., Coleman, M.R., & Anastasiow, N. (2012). Educating exceptional children (13th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 

Lerner, J.W., & Johns, B. (2015). Learning disabilities and related disabilities: Strategies for success (13th ed.). USA: Cengage. 

Pierangelo, R., & Giuliani, G. (2007). EDM: the educator’s diagnostic manual of disabilities and disorders. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass 

Rathvon, N. (2008). Effective school interventions: Evidence-based strategies for improving student outcomes. New York: The Guilford Press. 

Salvia, J., Ysseldyke, J.E., & Bolt, S. (2013). Assessment: In special and inclusive education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wandsworth/Cengage Learning. 

Westwood, P. (2009). What teachers need to know about students with disabilities. Camberwell, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Research Press. 

Wilmshurst, L., & Brue, A.W. (2010). The complete guide to special education: Expert advice on evaluations, IEPs, and helping kids to succeed (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 

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