This unit of study provides students with training in the principles and practice of evidence-based psychological assessment in professional psychology. It provides the first opportunity to develop competence in the basic assessment skills required to practice as a registered psychologist in Australia (PsyBA/AHPRA). It includes an introduction to basic clinical assessment techniques across the lifespan, including observations, interviewing, history-taking and formal administration of psychological assessment tools. Administration, scoring and interpretation of intellectual, memory and achievement tests, personality assessment, as well as assessment report-writing and providing feedback will be covered. Students will also be introduced to the major diagnoses and disorders which are likely to require cognitive assessment. Successful completion of this unit prepares students for clinical placements both in the VU Psychology Clinic and within community-based organisations.

Unit details

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Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Evaluate and critically reflect upon the purpose of psychological assessment and how it is used in a variety of settings and for different purposes, including the role of culture in the administration, scoring, interpretation and feedback of psychometric testing;  
  2. Exhibit competence in clinical assessment skills including interviewing, observation and mental status examination, commensurate with level of training;  
  3. Administer and score intelligence, achievement, memory and personality tests;  
  4. Interpret, integrate and analyse the findings of a clinical assessment including interview, observations and the results of intelligence, achievement, memory and personality tests, commensurate with level of training;  
  5. Formulate and articulate clinical assessment results both verbally and in a written report for a variety of audiences and purposes, including diagnosis.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Exercise Portfolio of learning activities (Indicative word length 1,000 words) Pass/Fail
Report Formal assessment report (Indicative word length 2,000 words) Pass/Fail
Other Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) of the administration of an intellectual assessment tool and roleplay of verbal feedback of results. Pass/Fail

Required reading

Handbook of Psychological Assessment 6th ed.
Groth-Marnat, G. & Wright, J.A., (2016)
Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Feedback that Sticks: The Art of Effectively Communicating Neuropsychological Assessment Results
Postal, K. & Armstrong, K.S., (2013)
Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.