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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Campus Attendance
  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Campus Attendance



Unit rationale, description and aim

Psychological assessment is the core competency of professional psychologists which most clearly differentiates them from other mental health professionals. As such, it is essential for professional psychologists to have a thorough understanding of psychological testing principles and practices.

This unit is designed to provide a detailed study of the principles and methods of psychological test administration and interpretation, case formulation, report writing and feedback of assessment results. There will be a particular focus on the importance of developmental system models and cultural sensitivity in assessment, in particular when providing psychological services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Students will acquire knowledge of the major methods of evaluating cognitive functioning, educational achievement and behavioural/emotional adjustment of infants, children, adolescents and adults. The overall aim of the unit is to teach skills in evaluation, administration and interpretation of psychological tests and to assist students to become competent in integration of the diverse information gathered during psychological assessment and to provide appropriate written and oral feedback on assessment results.

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Describe the principles behind the selection, administration, scoring and interpretation procedures of a range of psychological tools used for the assessment of children, adolescents and adults, in particular when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Explain and integrate the results of psychometric assessments with other psychological data to formulate cases and provide appropriate written and verbal feedback using culturally appropriate language, in particular when providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO3Apply ethical decision making and culturally responsive skills to select, evaluate, conduct, score and interpret a range of psychological assessment tools used to assess children, adolescents and adults with a range of presenting problemsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12


Topics will include: 

  • structure, psychometric properties, administration, and interpretation of psychological tests which assess intelligence, memory and other neuropsychological abilities, personality, academic skills, adaptive behaviour, and symptoms of emotional and behavioural disorders.  
  • decision making for diagnosis, classification and intervention in relation to specific disorders addressed in clinical and educational and developmental practice.  
  • ethical practice and standards of psychological assessment, in particular in relation to providing assessment services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In line with Psychology Board of Australia stipulations for postgraduate training courses, all teaching is delivered face to face. Postgraduate students in psychology are expected to be independent learners, which is reflected in an approach that puts students at the centre of their learning through participation in class discussions and activities. This unit therefore uses an active learning approach presented through a combination of lectures, workshops, role play, web-based learning and reflective/critical thinking activities delivered in face-to-face mode for 3 contact hours a week or equivalent in intensive mode. Lectures and demonstrations are structured to deliver essential content, while workshops, role plays and class activities provide students with the opportunity to practice and reflect upon assessment strategies. Web-based learning and reflective/critical thinking activities will enhance learning and provide students with the opportunity to take responsibility for their learning and to actively participate. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of competency in psychological assessment.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge, as well as the application of that knowledge. In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies is used including: demonstration of correct administration of psychological tests to ensure that students are capable of administering these tests proficiently; a written assignment based on a case study to assess the ability to apply assessment principles of methodology, selection and interpretation using a range of psychological tools for the assessment of children, adolescents or adults; and a written examination to assess knowledge of test content and interpretation. Students must pass all assessment tasks in order to pass the unit as it is critical that students demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and skills related to evidence-based practice to support their work on placements with clients, and a failure in any of these tasks is likely to translate to an unacceptable level of risk to clients. However students will be given the option to resit the OSCE on two additional occasions should they fail the OSCE on their first or second attempt.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Administration of a psychometric test and critique of a peer’s administration  

To develop capability in administering this test proficiently



Practical Examination in OSCE format:  

To develop capability to administer tests proficiently



Written Paper on a Case Study 

To develop capability to apply psychological assessment decision making for the diagnosis, formulation and intervention of children, adolescents or adults, including the application of assessment principles of methodology, relevant best practice guidelines, and selection and interpretation using a range of psychological tools.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Written Exam 

To demonstrate knowledge of test content and interpretation. 



Representative texts and references

Adams, Y., Drew, N. M., & Walker, R. (2014). Principles of practice in mental health assessment with Aboriginal Australians. In Dudgeon, P., Milroy, H. & Walker, R. (Eds.). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practices (2nd Ed) (pp. 271-288). Australia: Commonwealth of Australia.

This Book Chapter is posted at Research Online.

Aiken, L. R., & Groth-Marnat, G. (2006). Psychological testing and assessment (12th ed.). Pearson Education Group Inc.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. (2020). The National Scheme’s Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025. Australian Psychological Society, (2014).

Australian Psychological Society (2014). Ethical guidelines for the provision of psychological services for, and the conduct of research with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Author.

Australian Psychological Society (2018). Ethical Guidelines for psychological assessment and the use of psychological tests. Author.

Flanagan, D.P. & Kaufman, A.S. (2009). Essentials of WISC-IV assessment (2nd ed.). Wiley.

Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of psychological assessment (5th ed.). Wiley

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia. (2002). Cultural awareness tool: Understanding cultural diversity in mental health.

Mastoras, S. M., Climie, E. A., McCrimmon, A. W., & Schwean, V. L. (2011) A C.L.E.A.R. approach to report writing: A framework for improving the efficacy of psychoeducational reports. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 26, 127-147.

Page, A. C., & Stritzke, W. G. K. (2006) Clinical psychology for trainees: Foundations of science-informed practice. Cambridge University Press.

Sattler, J. M. (2018). Assessment of children: Cognitive foundations and applications (6th ed.). Sattler Publisher Inc.

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