Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SPHY301 Swallowing, Feeding, and Mealtime across the Lifespan AND SPHY302 Speech Pathology Practice 3A AND SPHY303 Voice Disorders Across the Lifespan AND SPHY304 Fluency Disorders Across the Lifespan AND SPHY305 Speech Pathology Practice 3B AND SPHY307 Complex Cases in Speech Pathology OR HLSC220 Health Care Ethics AND SPHY308 Multimodal Communication Across the Lifespan AND ALHT405 Honours Research Design

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is the sixth of seven professional practice units in the Bachelor of Speech Pathology (honours) that provides direct evidence of competencies required by Speech Pathology Australia for entry into the profession. This unit provides students with in an extended period of professional practice experience across one or more of the Speech Pathology Australia range of practice areas of speech, language, voice, fluency, swallowing, and multimodal communication. Students are expected to demonstrate a minimum standard of at least near entry level competency for the range of practice area/s in which direct speech pathology practice occurred on professional placement. Additionally, students must demonstrate theoretical knowledge at entry-level for these same range of practice area/s in standardised simulated experiences.

The unit also provides honours students with the opportunity to demonstrate their developing skills in critical anaylsis, evaluation and translation of research literature to speech pathology, a practice.

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 effective communication and collaboration with stakeholders (including consumers, families, groups, communities, other professionals and/or support staff) at entry or near entry level (GA1, GA2, GA6, GA7, GA9);

LO2 - Demonstrate assessment, analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation in the delivery of evidence based speech pathology practice at entry or near entry level, utilising the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework to ensure holistic services (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA 6, GA8)

LO3 - Demonstrate the professional competencies of Reasoning, Communication, Learning and Professionalism at entry or near entry level (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9)

LO4 - Critically analyse, evaluate and translate research literature to demonstrate advanced knowledge/skill of speech pathology practice in the context of a near-entry level placement. (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)  

Graduate attributes

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

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


The speech pathologist as an entry or near entry level professional:

  • Communicating effectively and respectfully with the consumer, family and support members, and other  professionals in practice 
  • Working collaboratively and respectfully in teams
  • Engaging in reflection to shape learning 
  • Consolidating identity as a speech pathologist, with points of difference related to style, background, skills and the ACU course content

The speech pathologist and practice at entry or near entry level: 

  • Assimilating and applying previously learnt knowledge and skills to workplace settings. 
  • Provision of holistic speech pathology services which consider and integrate:
  • person- or family- driven care
  • the ICF
  • Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics
  • evidence based practice
  • complex presentations
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse populations
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 
  • Allied health work policy
  • Working collaboratively and respectfully with the consumer, family and support members, and other professionals in practice  
  • Experiences which enable demonstration of at least near entry level skills against the Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) 
  • Application of developing research skills to professional practice.


The Speech Pathologist and community at entry or near entry level

  • Reflect on, discuss and/or demonstrate the role of speech pathologists in advocating for consumers and the profession

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This is the penultimate professional practice unit, and as such, is an important opportunity for students to gain direct workplace exposure prior to entering the profession. The blended approach to this unit acknowledges that students will be experiencing a range of contexts, supervision styles and client types throughout the semester and will require various levels and types of staff support during the unit. Students will also be engaged in professional practice placement at different times during the semester, so staff have designed unit activities to accommodate scheduling of placement. 

This unit is comprised of approximately 250 hours of professional practice experiences which are conducted external to the University, or within on-campus speech pathology clinics. These experiences are integral to the development of competency as a speech pathologist, and enable the student to further develop their skills, knowledge and attitudes within a ‘real world’ context. Students participate in these experiences individually, in pairs, or in small groups and are supervised by qualified speech pathologists who support their learning and development of competencies. 

This unit are supplemented by approximately 50 hours of additional learning tasks including tutorials, group and individual discussions, self-directed learning activities and assessment tasks. These activities are designed to foster peer learning, reflective practice, clinical reasoning and shared problem solving, as well as expose students to workplace contexts which they might not individually experience during the course. All content, both on-campus and off-campus is designed to further develop the student’s professional identity as a speech pathologist and to ensure they continue to build their evidence of near entry level competencies across relevant range of practice areas against the Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) for speech pathologists. Honours students are also guided to apply research knowledge and skills to speech pathology professional practice, as appropriate for the context.

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit students are required to demonstrate near entry level competency on the professional and Competency-based Occupational Standards set by Speech Pathology Australia for the range of practice areas engaged with on professional practice placement. Students must also demonstrate entry level knowledge and skill via individual standardised competency-based assessments such as oral vivas and/or occupational standards competency evaluations (OSCEs). Student results are ultimately determined by the Lecturer in Charge (LIC) after considering all assessment results. 

Professional Practice Placement: All aspects of the student’s daily performance is assessable during the placement period, as competency is developed and assessed dynamically from the first to the last day of placement by the Professional Practice Educator (PPE). Student performance is assessed against behavioural descriptors which reflect/demonstrate a hierarchy of competency development, from novice to intermediate to entry level and form the basis of the rubric used for placement assessment. The student is provided with formal formative feedback approximately midway through the placement, and summative feedback at the end of the placement period using an assessment tool called COMPASS®. Students will also be required to submit a self-assessment at both mid and final placement using this tool.

COMPASS® is a psychometrically validated assessment instrument that provides a measure of speech pathology student competence, and is recommended by Speech Pathology Australia. COMPASS® has been developed to assist in the evaluation of speech pathology students’ performance in the workplace, to identify their learning needs and to determine their readiness to enter the professional workforce. The assessment tool incorporates resource materials to assist the educator and student in the process of developing the student’s competence1. 

The requirement for near entry-level competence in the professional practice placement is a minimum requirement. Students may achieve entry-level competence during this experience with the populations with whom they are working. However, the requirement for “near entry level” recognises that students may have insufficient opportunity to gain entry-level competence or their achievement of entry-level competence may be impacted by the complexity and variability of the caseload.  

Standardised competency-based assessment: Students will complete tasks such as oral viva(s) and/or OSCEs to demonstrate entry-level skills across the range of practice areas (ROPAs) and CBOS units/elements for speech pathology. The requirement for entry-level skills in this task reflects the nature of the tasks; that is, they are standardised and case-based, allowing for an equitable, whole of cohort, integrative and independent assessment of students’ knowledge and skills. This is an accreditation requirement of Speech Pathology Australia to ensure students are assessed to be at entry-level competence across all range of practice areas. The standardised competency-based assessments are ungraded hurdles, which students must pass in order to pass the unit. 

Honours students are required to produce evidence of their ability to critically analyse and evaluate research literature to transform speech pathology practice. Students will be required to submit written documentation that demonstrates how they have used research literature to improve or modify practice whilst on near entry-level placement. This documentation could take a number of different forms including an annotated bibliography, contribution to a journal club or quality improvement project. 

1. McAllister, S., Lincoln, M., Ferguson, A. & McAllister, L. (2013) (2nd ed) COMPASS®: Competency assessment in speech pathology technical manual. Melbourne: Speech Pathology Australia, p. 1-2. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Completion of Professional Practice Placement including:

  • Completion of mandatory tasks 
  • a Pass on COMPASS at near entry level

Pass/ fail

LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1,GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Standardised competency-based assessment: Ungraded Hurdle

Students will complete oral vivas and/or OSCEs to demonstrate entry-level knowledge and skills across ROPAs in a standardised setting/format.  


MUST PASS in order to pass the unit

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1,GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Critical analysis of research literature: Ungraded hurdle

Pass/ fail


GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Haynes, W. O. M & Pindzola, R. H (2016). Diagnosis and evaluation in speech pathology (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN-10: 0137071329 | ISBN-13: 978-0137071326. 

Higgs, J., Aijawi, R., McAllister, L.,  Trede, F., & Loftus, S. (2012). Communicating in the health sciences (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Higgs, J., Jones, M., Loftus, S., & Christensen, N. (2011). Clinical reasoning in the health professions (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Meyer, S. M. (2004). Survival guide for the beginning speech-language clinician (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Speech Pathology Australia. (2017). Competency-based occupational standards for speech pathologists revised. Retrieved 8th October, 2019, from

Stagnitti, K., Schoo, A., & Welch, D. (Eds). (2010). Clinical and fieldwork placement in the health professions. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

World Health Organization (2001). International classification of functioning, disability and health. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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