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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Campus Attendance


PSYC630 Psychological Assessment , PSYC645 Learning Difficulties: Assessment and Intervention

Unit rationale, description and aim

Educational Psychology involves working with individuals and groups across the lifespan to apply principles of learning and to develop educational interventions to improve outcomes. Part of Educational Psychology involves providing early intervention and prevention strategies targeting children and young people reduce the impact of developmental mental health issues increasing in severity. Educational Psychologists also work in a range of settings applying the principles of educational and developmental psychology to improve learning and behavioural outcomes for individuals. Educational settings provide an opportunity for psychologists to implement group-based interventions allowing more young people access to psychological services. In order to provide effective and empirically supported interventions in educational settings, psychologists need to be able to understand theories of learning and development, and the ability to provide intervention to a range of stakeholders. This unit deals with the role of the educational psychologist in organisations such as schools, early intervention and disability services. The focus will be on the skills to develop policies and interventions for a range of issues such as social skills deficits, discipline strategies, bullying, risk and crisis management, trauma, and integration.   

The unit will provide knowledge on working within systems (schools, families, organisations) and the process of consulting and collaborating with a range of parties. There is a focus on developing skills in communicating effectively with a range of individuals and groups, and assisting others to implement programs designed to improve learning and behavioural problems. Educational Psychologists work within a variety of social contexts, including schools, organisations and with individuals and families, the role of systems will be examined. The overall aim of this unit is to develop applied educational psychology skills that will be needed to work within organisations and systems in the community. 

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 contemporary theories of learning and development and understand the role of being a consultant and/or therapist within an educational contextGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO2Explain the relevance of theories of learning and development and their application in working within an educational context and the ability to assess levels of functioning, monitor progress and evaluate outcomes for a range of stakeholdersGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11, GC12
LO3Apply theoretical understandings to develop and evaluate interventions, policies and consultative skills that are culturally responsive, particularly in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, when working with individuals and groups within educational settingsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


Topics will include: 

  • Understanding systems – educational, family, community 
  • Consultation within educational settings and the role of an Educational Psychologist 
  • Policy development  
  • Delivering group work – child and adult focused 
  • Critical incident debriefing 
  • Trauma informed classrooms 
  • Issues in Integration 
  • Funding programs for Students with Disabilities 
  • Interventions in educational environments – individual, small group, whole class, whole school 
  • Transitions within educational contexts 
  • Use of instruments for work and career choices 
  • Cultural considerations in Educational Psychology 
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning, including: social skills; language and communication; interpersonal skills; and functional performance.  
  • Evaluation and diagnosis of behavioural problems by multiple means and appropriate interventions  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students enrolled in postgraduate psychology units are provisionally registered psychologists who are required to deliver psychological services to clients as part of their training. This unit prepares students for working within educational contexts and involves skill development in working as a consultant and therapist in an educational context. The unit is delivered in face-to-face mode with three contact hours per week in lecture and workshop format. Essential background information will be presented as lecture material. Workshop components are designed to enhance application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of that information. Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content and to allow them to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the student as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy for this unit allows students to demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge, as well as the application of this knowledge. In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes. Standards based assessment is utilized, consistent with University assessment requirements. The first assessment task will provide the students with the opportunity to demonstrate skills in critical evaluation of existing literature and apply this evidence to clinical practice in an educational context. The second assessment task will allow students to demonstrate skills in systematic searching and critically reviewing literature. The first two assessments will also develop and assess students’ skills in written communication. The final oral presentation will allow students to demonstrate clinical skills, through the role playing of an intervention session. This will provide an opportunity to develop and assess communication and intervention skills.  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. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Written Assignment (2500 words)

Provides the opportunity to examine the theory and evidence pertaining to a contemporary approach as applied in an educational setting (focusing on whole school and/or classroom level) in relation to a current issue (e.g. trauma, bullying, peer relationships, teacher effectiveness, teacher-student relationships, suicidality, crisis management and critical incidents, inclusive education, LGBTIQ, neurodiversity, physical health needs, school engagement). This must include an evaluation of the cultural responsiveness of the approach particularly in relation to our First Nations people.


LO1, LO3

Written Assignment (1500 words)

This assignment builds on the previous assignment (i.e. Assignment 1). Based on the chosen approach and issue presented in Assignment 1, students will be required to develop an action plan based on their chosen approach and addressing their selected issue as it applies to the small group and/or individual level. 


LO1, LO2

Oral Presentation

This assignment builds on the previous two assignments (i.e. Assignment 1 and 2). Students will be required to demonstrate to their peers the action plan detailed in Assignment 2.



Representative texts and references

Dudgeon, P. (Ed.). (2000). Working with Indigenous Australians: A handbook for psychologists. Gunada Press, Curtin Indigenous Research Centre, Curtin University of Technology.  

Purdie, N., Dudgeon, P., & Walker, R. (2010). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice. Melbourne: ACER. 

O'Donnell. A. (2016). Educational psychology (2nd ed.). Milton, QLD: Wiley 

Thielking, M., & Terjesen, M. (2017). Handbook of Australian school psychology integrating international research, Practice, and Policy. Springer. 

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