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SPE3001 Introduction to Special Education

Semester 2, 2012 Online Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Education

Contents on this page


Examiner: Susan Carter
Moderator: Nicole Todd


Pre-requisite: EDC1400 or EDU1010

Other requisites

Students must be available for a prescribed period of time to undertake a placement in a school or other approved site as required in this course. State law in Queensland (Australia) requires that all adults working/undertaking professional experience/researching with children under the age of 18, in the state of Queensland are required to possess a current suitability card (Blue Card). (See "Other Requirements" for further information.) Also see: //


Special education is an interesting and broad field. It involves delivering and monitoring a specifically designed set of comprehensive, research-based insructional and assessment practices for students with learning, behavioural, emotional physical, or sensory disabilities. It can also involve indirect services where special education teachers collaborate and consult with others. Special education teachers, thus have opportunities to work in a wide range of special education settings. In addition, special education has also evolved over time. The inclusive approach to instruction is now paramount. This course is presented as a general introduction to the field of special education and inclusion.


This course will introduce pre-service teachers to the field of special education. The approach taken in the course is based on effective teacher education where 'real world' experiences in special education settings are linked with a strong theoretical background. A brief history of special education will be presented and the evolution of inclusive education described. An introduction to areas of disability and learning difficulty, such as autism, will preface later courses in special education. Assessment and monitoring of students with difficulties and disabilities will also be included. An important part of working in special education is collaborating and consulting with others therefore an introduction to interpersonal skills is included in this course. The reality of effectively addressing the learning and behaviour challenges of students with difficulties and disabilities through research based strategies is also a component of this course.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstate key movements in the evolution of special education and inclusion (Assignment 1)
  2. demonstrate the ability to link theory with practice in special education (Assignment 1)
  3. identify and characterise a range of disabilities and learning difficulties (Exam)
  4. identify a range of assessments and related issues (Exam)
  5. discuss matters involved in interperonal skills (Exam)
  6. demonstrate the application of research-based instructional practices (Exam)
  7. demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing (Assignment 1)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction ot the field of special education 20.00
2. Issues arising from special education settings 20.00
3. Areas of learning difficulty and disability 20.00
4. Assessment and monitoring 10.00
5. Interpersonal skills 10.00
6. Research-based instructional practices 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Rosenberg, M. S., Westling, D. L., & McLeskey, J 2011, Special Education for today's Teachers: An Introduction, 2nd edn, Pearson, Boston.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Foreman, P 2011, Inclusion in Action, 3rd edn, Cengage, South Melbourne.
  • Hallahan, D. P., Kauffman, J. M., & Pullen, P. C 2012, Exceptional Learners. An Introduction to Special Education, Pearson, Boston.
  • Heward, W. L 2009, Exceptional Children, 9th edn, Pearson, New Jersey.
  • McLeskey, J., Rosenberg, M. S., & Westling, D. L 2010, Inclusion. Effective Practices for all Students, Pearson, Boston.
  • Turnbull, A., Turnbull, R., & Wehmeyer, M. L 2007, Exceptional lives: Special Education in Today's Schools, 5th edn, Pearson, New Jersey.
  • Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information //

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 70.00
Independent Study 70.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 1 1 17 Jul 2012 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 1 50 49 10 Sep 2012
EXAMINATION CMA 50 50 End S2 (see note 2)

  1. A mark of one (1) indicates you have passed the Professional Experience component. A mark of zero (0) indicates you have not passed the Professional Experience component. Professional Placement should be conducted as per the Professional Experience Calendar unless approval has been granted by the Course Examiner.
  2. Students will be advised via UConnect of examination date(s) when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to tehm or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course and must satisfactorily complete the sector-based professional experience.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    CLOSED Examination: Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and have Internet access to UConnect for this course.

  2. IMPORTANT NOTE: Working with Children: State law in Queensland requires that all adults (including university students, pre-service educators, trainers, vocational teachers, industry educators) working with children under the age of 18, in the State of Queensland*, obtain approval before commencing such work. Many education courses include a practical component (professional experience, project work, research, assessment etc.) that may require engagement with children under the age of 18. It is your responsibility to ensure that you possess a current suitability card (Blue Card) before commencing any practical components of this course. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18 UNLESS YOU POSSESS A CURRENT ?BLUE CARD?. For further information: // and
    *If you are undertaking practical experience outside the State of Queensland, Australia you should check local requirements.