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EDIP608 Identifying How Exceptional Learners Learn


EDAP611 School and Class Wide Evidence-based Interventions

Unit rationale, description and aim

A key aspect of inclusive practice is the capacity to design and implement effective educational opportunities that optimize the likelihood of learning success for exceptional learners; those students who may otherwise be excluded for educational provision.  

This unit provides educators with the skill needed to plan and implement inclusive differentiated educational provision. It teaches educators to plan and administer inclusive teaching, curriculum, school culture and classroom climate for exceptional learning students generally and particularly in the domains of literacy and numeracy, social interaction skills, adaptive behavioural skills and learning self-teaching skills. Response to Intervention provides an organising structure for the differentiation. Educators learn to develop personal educational plans for these students. A range of relevant implementation strategies will be examined, including formative assessment and cognitive task analysis for exceptional learners.

The aim of this unit is to provide educators with the knowledge and skills to develop personal educational plans for exceptional learning students and to develop a range of relevant implementation strategies including formative assessment and cognitive task analysis for these students.

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 - Define a learning problem and develop and conduct a literature review to develop a base of evidence relating to the problem (GA4, GA6, GA8; APST (Lead) 1.2, 6.4, 7.4)

LO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of effective intervention including the “Response to intervention” model of facilitating change in learning and teaching and its application to particular problems (GA4, GA6; APST (Lead) 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 3.2, 3.6, 4.3, 5.4, 6.4, (HA) 2.5, 2.6)

LO3 - Demonstrate an understanding of the key principles of effective learning and teaching for atypical students and how these apply to individual classrooms (GA8, GA10; APST (Lead) 3.2, 3.6, 4.1, 4.3, 4.5, 6.4)

LO4 - Evaluate challenges at school and classroom level relating to cultural competence and the inclusion of culturally and linguistically diverse students in schools (GA4, GA6; APST (Lead) 1.3, 7.4, (HA) 1.4, 2.4)

LO5 - Develop classroom programs and strategies based on evidence-based interventions including “Response to Intervention” (GA4, GA10; APST (Lead) 1.5, 3.2, 3.6, 4.5, (HA) 2.6)

Graduate attributes

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 

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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.

1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds (Lead)

Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students (Highly Accomplished)

Provide advice and support colleagues in the implementation of effective teaching strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students using knowledge of and support from community representatives.

1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities (Lead)

Lead colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of learning and teaching programs differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability (Lead)

Initiate and lead the review of school policies to support the engagement and full participation of students with disability and ensure compliance with legislative and/or system policies.

2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (Highly Accomplished)

Support colleagues with providing opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies (Highly Accomplished)

Support colleagues to implement effective teaching strategies to improve students’ literacy and numeracy achievement.

2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) (Highly Accomplished)

Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful.

3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs (Lead)

Exhibit exemplary practice and lead colleagues to plan, implement and review the effectiveness of their learning and teaching programs to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills.

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.

4.1 Support student participation (Lead)

Demonstrate and lead by example the development of productive and inclusive learning environments across the school by reviewing inclusive strategies and exploring new approaches to engage and support all students.

4.3 Managing challenging behaviour (Lead)

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

4.5 Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically (Lead)

Review or implement new policies and strategies to ensure the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.4 Interpret student data (Lead)

Coordinate student performance and program evaluation using internal and external student assessment data to improve teaching practice.

6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning (Lead)

Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning.

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: 

  • Theoretical and evidence-based foundations for the differentiation of pedagogy, curriculum, school culture and classroom climate.   
  • The practical application of the diagnostic process 
  • Evidence based pedagogy for exceptional learners 
  • Positive behaviour intervention and support 
  • Response to intervention – class and school level 
  • Information and communication technologies for education 
  • Differentiation and inclusion 
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity and cultural competence. 
  • Professional learning plans for staff  
  • Working with parents and families 

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 

A paper that identifies the key issues to be examined in implementing inclusive educational provision. The issues will reflect current research and dialogue in the domain of inclusive education for exceptional learners.



GA4, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 2 

A paper that describes how to implement personalized inclusive provision for a particular category of exceptional learning. The provision will be supported by the current literature.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA4, GA6, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Ashman, A. (Eds.). (2019). Education for inclusion and diversity (6th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia. 

Carrington, S., & MacArthur, J. (Eds.). (2012). Teaching in inclusive school communities. Milton, Qld: John Wiley &Sons. 

Harrison, N., & Sellwood, J. (2016). Teaching and learning in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press. 

Karten, T. J. (2015). Inclusion strategies that work: Research-based methods for the classroom (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.  

Loreman, T., Deppeler, J., & Harvey, D. (2011). Inclusive education: Supporting diversity in the classroom (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. 

Margetts, K., & Hoy, A. Woolfolk. (2019). Educational psychology (5th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia. 

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.  

Schiff, R., & Joshi, R. M. (Eds.). (2016) Interventions in learning disabilities: A handbook on systematic training programs for Individuals with learning disabilities. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2014). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

Wendling, B.J., & Mather, N. (2009). Essentials of evidence-based academic interventions. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN: 978-0-470-20632-4. 

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