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EDIP607 Exceptional Learners and Learning


EDAP610 Educational and Behavioural Functional Assessment

Unit rationale, description and aim

Educational assessment and evaluation is critical to enhancing the learning outcomes of exceptional learners and guiding effective teaching practices for them. Educators who implement inclusive practice need a repertoire of assessment and evaluation skills that enable them to identify individual learning profiles and to interpret diagnostic data from a range of paramedical sources, including information from psychological, paediatric and medical, language development and speech pathology, motor development and kinaesthetic professionals.

In this unit educators will learn to identify and apply a range of assessment, evaluation and diagnostic skills including cognitive, emotional, behavioural and academic assessments. They will  interpret and evaluate a range of psychometric data and analyse it for diagnostic purposes and to plan individual learning and teaching programs.

The aim of this unit is to provide educators with the knowledge, ability and skill to implement cognitive, emotional, behavioural and academic assessments, to interpret, evaluate and analyse a range of psychometric data in order to plan and implement learning diagnostic protocols and to support individual planning to support enhanced learning and teaching.

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 - Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the theoretical perspectives and practical aspects of gathering and interpreting educational and behavioural data (GA4, GA8; APST (Lead) 1.2, 2.3)

LO2 - Make assessment decisions based on current ethical, legal and professional expectations demonstrating awareness of the challenges in assessing children. (GA1, GA4, GA6; APST ( Lead) 2.3, 5.1, 5.3, 7.1)

LO3 - Understand and apply relevant screening measures and identify when and how to make a referral to allied health professionals (GA4, GA6, GA8; APST ( Lead) 1.2, 3.7, 5.1, 5.4, 7.4)

LO4 - Develop individual programs based on data collected from assessments, interviews, observations and reports from other professionals (GA1, GA4, GA6, GA8; APST ( Lead) 1.2, 2.3, 3.6, 4.3, 5.1, 5.4, 7.4).

Graduate attributes

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

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively 

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

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


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.2 Understand how students learn (Lead)

Lead processes to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programs using research and workplace knowledge about how students learn.

2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting (Lead)

Lead colleagues to develop learning and teaching programs using comprehensive knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

3.6 Evaluate and improve teaching programs (Lead)

Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/carers, students and colleagues.

3.7 Engage parents/carers in the educative process (Lead)

Initiate contextually relevant processes to establish programs that involve parents/carers in the education of their children and broader school priorities and activities

4.3 Managing challenging behaviour (Lead)

Lead and implement behaviour management initiatives to assist colleagues to broaden their range of strategies.

5.1 Assess student learning (Lead)

Evaluate school assessment policies and strategies to support colleagues with: using assessment data to diagnose learning needs, complying with curriculum, system and/or school assessment requirements and using a range of assessment strategies.

5.3 Make consistent and comparable judgments (Lead)

Lead and evaluate moderation activities that ensure consistent and comparable judgements of student learning to meet curriculum and school or system requirements

5.4 Interpret student data. (Lead)

Co-ordinate student performance and program evaluation using internal and external student assessment data to improve teaching practice.

7.1 Meet professional ethics and responsibilities (Lead)

Model exemplary ethical behaviour and exercise informed judgements in all professional dealings with students, colleagues and the community.

7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities (Lead)

Take a leadership role in professional and community networks and support the involvement of colleagues in external learning opportunities.


Topics will include: 

  • Key concepts and tools in educational assessment in cognitive, emotional, behavioural and academic domains: purposes, tasks, contexts for data collection, types of scores (raw scores, derived and standard scores (z and t scores, specialized standard scores), types or levels of measurement or scaling (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio, Rasch scaling), descriptive statistics for a cohort (central tendency and standard deviation), the concepts of a population and a sample, norm-referenced and criterion referenced decisions and assessments, types of distributions that are relevant to students outcomes, summative and formative assessment. 
  • Introduction to measurement and scores characteristics of the normal distribution and variants, interpreting outcomes on individual assessment tasks (confidence limits). 
  • Psychometric features of a standardized test: its reliability, validity (content, criterion, predictive, construct), standard error of measurement. 
  • Types of assessment in the cognitive, emotional, behavioural and academic domains. Examples of typical assessment tests and the interpretation of assessment data using them; literacy and numeracy tests, general ability tests, nonverbal tests, oral language tests, functional assessment procedures, perceptual motor tests. Strategies for evaluating and selecting assessment scales according to the intended purposes. 
  • Interpreting scores on multiple tests; combining and comparing scores from two or more assessments comparing means using t-test, correlations. Reading and understanding reports from allied health professional. 
  • Assessment of extended responses: examples of tasks comprising multiple dimensions for assessment (problem solutions, essays, projects, products, authentic assessments, oral presentations), steps in developing the task (planning, developing, critiquing the assessment, developing the dimensions for assessment (rubric), content-process grids, combining scores for multi-dimensional tasks.  
  • Observational and behavioural assessments:  analysis of the teacher observation process; collecting and recording evidence of student behaviours and learning; planning for teacher and parent observations, naturalistic data collection, factors that affect the validity of teacher observations; analysis of measurements of frequency of behaviours, Functional Behavioural Analysis . Conducting and interpreting structured observations. Conducting interviews. Response to Intervention – Individual level. 
  • The diagnostic process and the decisions made at each phase (screening, analysis of patterns, causes, recommendations). Dynamic assessment procedures. Screening and when to make a referral 
  • reviewing the quality of assessment; assessment results analysis, moderation processes, student evaluation feedback on teaching and assessment, staff peer reviews of assessment designs and tasks, benchmarking processes 
  • Developing an individual assessment plan.  
  • Effective selection and evaluation of assessment tools  
  • Ethical, legal and professional issues. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum. The unit will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and incorporate: 

  • Use of a core set of digital resources (including modules; readings; suggested websites and other electronic resources) to support learning and assessment; 
  • Use of online tools to build a community of learners (e.g. forum; chat; podcasts; WIKI); 
  • Engagement in reflective practice supported by the study of scholarly literature; 
  • Critical analysis and applied learning to educational case studies for the purposes of assessment. 
  • Classes may be face to face intensives and/or online 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort, for example, students may be working in a classroom, in an administrative role or currently on leave from teaching. 

To successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy used allows students to demonstrate their knowledge in a creative and practical manner. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Extended written task that unpacks and synthesizes the knowledge and skills teachers need to implement effective evidence-based practice for exceptional learners. This will include: 

  • multiple definitions and purposes of assessment for intervention, 
  • theoretical perspectives of cognitive, behavioural and academic assessment for diagnosis, 
  • the collection, interpretation and synthesis of data to assist decision-making 
  • generation of key diagnostic ‘hypotheses’ and analysis of the diagnostic process 
  • the development of individual assessment plans 
  • protocols for the selection and evaluation of appropriate assessment scales 
  • controversies in relation to assessment, 
  • and ethical, legal and professional expectations.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA4, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 2 

Practical case study of an individual student 


  • tests/checklists 
  • Interviews 
  • Observations 
  • Other reports 
  • Outcome evaluation 
  • Development of a program


LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Alberto, P.A., & Troutman, A.C. (2013). Applied behavior analysis for teachers (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Lamprianou, I., & Athanasou, J.A. (2009). A teacher's guide to educational assessment. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

McEwan, E.K., & Damer, M. (2000). Managing unmanageable students: Practical solutions for administrators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Merrell, K.W., Ervin, R.A., & Peacock, G.G. (2012). School psychology for the 21st Century: Foundations and Practices (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Ridden, P., & Heldsinger, S. (2014). What teachers need to know about assessment and reporting. Australia: ACER Press. 

Sattler, J.M. (2018). Assessment of children: Cognitive foundations and applications (6th ed.). La Mesa, CA: Jerome M. Sattler 

Sattler, J.M. (2014). Foundations of behavioral, social, and clinical assessment of children (6th ed.). La Mesa, CA: Jerome M. Sattler.

Taylor, A., & Brueggemann,  E. (2014).  Diagnostic assessment of learning disabilities in childhood bridging the gap between research and practice. New York, NY: Springer Behavioral Science eBooks.

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