Credit points


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SPHY403 Speech Pathology Practice 4a (Honours) OR SPHY413 Speech Pathology Professional and Reflective Practice 4A Honours


SPHY404 Speech Pathology Practice 4b (Honours) , SPHY412 Speech Pathology Professional and Reflective Practice 4B

Unit rationale, description and aim

Speech pathologists are required to engage in professional, ethical, and evidence-based practice, drawing on skills in reasoning and reflection to provide appropriate services for individuals, families and communities that address communication and swallowing needs and enable human flourishing. This unit is the final of seven

Professional Practice units and enables students to apply their knowledge and skills from all previous theoretical and professional practice units to demonstrate entry level competence.

In this unit, students undertake 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. It is a SPA requirement that competency in working with both child and adult populations is demonstrated in penultimate or final 4th year placements. Consequently, in this unit, students will work with a different population than in the previous professional practice unit (SPHY413).

Students are expected to demonstrate entry level competency across assessment, analysis and interpretation, intervention planning and implementation of intervention (CBOS Units 1-4) within the range of practice area/s experienced on professional placement. Additionally, students will demonstrate entry-level skills in the

professional competencies of reasoning, communication, lifelong learning and professionalism. Students will be expected to develop and demonstrate skills in managing service delivery, supervisory practice and reflective practice.

Additionally, this unit contains a learning outcome from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability- Self-Reflexivity.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competency in working with children or adults across the continuum of care, at the level required for entry into the profession, to enable a successful transition into the workforce. Finally, Honours students will have further opportunity to demonstrate their developing skills in critical analysis, evaluation and translation of research literature to speech pathology 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 Reasoning, Communication, Learning and Professionalism as defined in the generic professional competencies (CBOS, SPA, 2011) to entry level standard (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9)

LO2 - Demonstrate knowledge and skills in assessment; analysis and interpretation; planning evidence based speech pathology practice; implementation of speech pathology practice; planning, providing and managing speech pathology services; professional and supervisory practice; and lifelong learning and reflective practice as defined in the Competency-Based Occupational Standards for Entry-Level Speech Pathologists (CBOS; SPA, 2011) to entry level standard (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO3 - Critically analyse, evaluate and translate research literature to demonstrate advanced knowledge/skill of speech pathology practice in the context of an entry level placement (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Design practical strategies to enable ongoing self-reflexivity in a professional context (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, 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 


Topic will include:

Competency and Range of Practice Areas of focus:

  • Expectations of the entry level student in adult or paediatric speech, language, voice, fluency swallowing and multi-modal communication.
  • Assimilating and applying previously learnt knowledge and skills to workplace settings.

Professional Competencies of focus:


  • Professional (clinical) reasoning and the ICF: Worldview and sociocultural perspectives: diverse world views.
  • Independently use sound EBP processes to support clinical decision-making.
  • Communication which demonstrates professional reasoning and professional and clinical competency in practice


  • Communicating with the consumer, family and support members, and other professionals in practice
  • Working collaboratively and respectfully when working in teams

Lifelong learning

  • Using critical reflection skills independently in clinical practice beyond graduation.


  • Identification of points of difference as a graduate speech pathologist of ACU
  • Speech Pathology Australia Code of Ethics at entry level
  • Client-centred practice
  • Role of speech pathologist in broader organisation

Occupational Competencies of focus:

  • Unit 6

6.2 Programming speech pathology practice for team members.

6.3 Principles of Supervisory practice

  • Unit 7

7.4 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 unit is the final professional practice unit, and as such, is the final opportunity for students to gain 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.

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 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 learning and development of competencies. In addition to the professional practice experiences, approximately 50 hours of additional learning activities including tutorials, group and individual discussions, self-directed learning activities and assessment tasks are completed. These activities foster peer learning, reflective practice,

clinical reasoning and shared problem solving, and expose students to workplace contexts which they might not individually experience.

All content is designed to assist the development of students’ professional skill and identity as a speech pathologist to entry level competency across the range of practice areas of the Competency Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) for Entry-Level speech pathologists.

Assessment strategy and rationale

To pass this unit students are required to demonstrate entry level competency on the professional and Competency-Based Occupational Standards (CBOS) set by Speech Pathology Australia for the range of practice areas engaged with on professional practice placement.

Professional Practice Placement: All aspects of the student’s daily performance are 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 tool incorporates resource materials to assist the educator and student in the process of developing the student’s competence.

Professional development plan: Students will prepare a professional development plan, based on a reflection of current strengths in knowledge and skills and areas for improvement (including self-reflexivity). The plan will identify learning goals, activities that will be undertaken to address those goals and a timeframe for completion.

Reflection and lifelong learning are important professional practice activities (CBOS Unit 7) and this assessment enables students to demonstrate their competence in engaging in these activities.

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 or contribution to a journal club.

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 entry level




LO1, LO2

CBOS Alignment:





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

Critical analysis of research literature






1.2;3.1; 3.2; 3.5;

5.6; 7.3


1.1-1.2; 2.2 3.3;

4.1; 4.5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Professional development plan:

Students will prepare a professional development plan outlining learning

goals, activities and timeframes for completion.

Ungraded hurdle


LO1, LO2, LO4

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

In order to be successful in this unit, students must pass the professional practice experience (placement), the professional development plan, and the critical analysis. 

A student who fails the professional development plan or the critical analysis of research literature on their first attempt will be offered the opportunity to re-submit the assessment task. If the task is passed on the second attempt, the student will pass the unit. If the assessment task is failed on the second attempt, the student will fail the unit.

Representative texts and references

Cook, K., Tillard, G., Wyles, C., Gerhard, D., Ormond, T., & McAuliffe, M. (2019). Assessing and developing the written reflective practice skills of speech-language pathology students. International Journal of Speech language Pathology, 21(1), 4-55.  

Hoffman, T., Bennett, S., & Del Mar, C. (2017). Evidence-based practice across the health professions (3rd ed.). Elsevier Australia. 

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

Speech Pathology Australia. (2020). Code of Ethics.  

Speech Pathology Australia. (2017). Competency-based occupational standards for speech pathologists revised.

Speech Pathology Australia. (2020). Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists in Australia. 

Speech Pathology Australia (2020). Scope of Practice.

World Health Organisation. (2023). International classification of functioning, disability and health [online resource]. 

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