PSYCHOL 6508OL - Individual Differences and Assessment

Online - Online Teaching 4 - 2020

Are we all different or more similar than we think? This course addresses the field of Differential Psychology, and will help you understand how and why people differ, despite the broad similarities shared by all humankind. We will review major theories, research methods and findings, and how these translate into practices in the fields of intelligence, personality, and psychological assessment.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PSYCHOL 6508OL
    Course Individual Differences and Assessment
    Coordinating Unit Psychology
    Term Online Teaching 4
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s Online
    Units 3
    Contact 1 to 2 hour online tutorial
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites PSYCHOL 6500OL and PSYCHOL 6501OL
    Restrictions Graduate Diploma in Psychology or Graduate Certificate in Psychology
    Course Description Are we all different or more similar than we think? This course addresses the field of Differential Psychology, and will help you understand how and why people differ, despite the broad similarities shared by all humankind. We will review major theories, research methods and findings, and how these translate into practices in the fields of intelligence, personality, and psychological assessment.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Christopher Bean

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Explain the utility of personality and intelligence as psychological concepts.
    2. Apply psychometric theory to the assessment of individual differences.
    3. Determine desirable characteristics and limitations of measurement in psychology. 
    4. Evaluate how individual differences relate to wellbeing and ability over the lifespan. 
    5. Critically reflect upon issues and debates related to the study and assessment of individual differences. 
    6. Synthesise theory and data to answer empirical questions related to individual differences and assessment. 

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    This is a fully online offering. Students will require access to the internet to access course content and assessments and to engage in tutorials. Students will need to install a free, open-source, cross-platform package for statistical analysis (JASP) on their computer (
    Recommended Resources
    Ashton, M.C. (2018). Individual Differences and Personality (3rd ed.). London: Academic Press. (Available as an e-text via Barr Smith Library).

    Cooper, C. (2010). Individual Differences and Personality (3rd ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis. (Available as an e-text via Barr Smith Library).

    Additional readings will be provided within course modules.
    Online Learning
    This is a fully online offering. Myuni will be used for all course materials, communication, links to curated resources, online tutorial support and assignments including submissions, feedback and grades.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Engagement with course content is facilitated by online lectures, interactive online activities, curated readings and resources, and self directed study supported by weekly online tutorial sessions. There are 6 Weekly Modules with learning scaffolded across the modules to ensure that students develop deep discipline knowledge as well as the academic literacy, research skills and capacity to apply and communicate their understanding as specified for an AQF8 level offering. 

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This course is a 6-week intensive, accelerated learning offering. Students should expect to spend around 24 per week engaging with the online content, in private study and completing the assignments for this course.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Weekly modules cover:

    1. Introduction to Individual Differences, Assessment, and Personality
    2. Personality Assessment
    3. Psychometrics
    4. Intelligence & Ability
    5. Biological Bases of Individual Differences
    6. Applied Individual Differences and Assessment
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task

    Assessment Type


    Hurdle Requirement

    Learning Outcomes

    Article review





    Factor analysis & a critical look at
    testing (short answers)

    Formative & Summative




    Research report





    Assessment Detail
    Assessment # 1 (Due end week 2). Journal article review (800 words).The aim of this assessment exercise is for you to critically examine a contemporary article that is related to content from modules 1 and 2. This will include critical commentary and reflection on the issues the authors are addressing; the main findings and the conclusions the authors reach.

    Assessment #2 (Due end week 4). Part 1 (Short Answer20%). You will conduct a factor analysis and reliability analysis of survey data to determine whether a new personality scale is reliable and is behaving as expected. Part 2 (Short Answer 20%) You will answer a series of questions based on scenarios provided. This will include an interpretation and discussion of relevant practical/ethical/safety issues related to ability testing.

    Assessment #3: (Due end week 6). Research report (1750 words) written up according to APA requirements based on data set provided that will address a research question from the fields of personality and individual differences.
    Online submission using Turnitin
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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