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SPE3009 Learning Difficulties - Literacy and Numeracy

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Education

Contents on this page


Examiner: Nicole Todd
Moderator: Mark Oliver


Learning disabilities and learning difficulties (literacy and/or numeracy) represent the greatest single source of failure to progress in learning. Learning difficulties is a broad term which encompasses all difficulties in learning, in any curriculum area or in any skill. These difficulties may be long or short term. The cause of the difficulties is not an issue in identification. The term learning difficulties includes the narrower term of learning disabilities. "Learning disabilities are indicated by a great discrepancy between intellectual ability and actual school achievement" (Kirk, Gallagher, Anastasiow & Coleman, 2006). In Australian classrooms between 5-20% of students are identified with learning difficulties in literacy and/or numeracy. Research has provided educators with a range of effective techniques in order to enhance learning outcomes for all students in the inclusive classroom. Classroom teachers and support personnel need to be aware of these techniques.


This course examines the area of learning disabilities and difficulties (literacy and numeracy). It provides a detailed examination of literacy and numeracy development emphasising where difficulties commonly occur. In addition, this course provides many research-based effective curriculum and instructional adaptations to ensure learning success for all students in the inclusive classroom. NOTE: Minimum enrolment numbers apply to this offering. Should enrolments not reach the minimum number required for on-campus study, students may be transferred to the WEB offering and advised of this change before semester commences.


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. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge concerning the area of learning difficulties and learning disabilities, specifically in literacy and numeracy (Assignment 1 & Brochure).
  2. demonstrate knowledge about appropriate assessment of students with learning disabilities in literacy and numeracy (Brochure).
  3. provide a clear understanding of planning for and implementing effective adjustments in order to enhance learning outcomes for students with learning disabilities in literacy and numeracy (Assignment 1 & Brochure).
  4. demonstrate competence in information literacy skills, including critical and reflective thinking (Assignment 1 & Brochure).
  5. demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing (Assignment 1 & Brochure).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to learning difficulties and learning disabilities 10.00
2. Learning disabilities in literacy 30.00
3. Learning disabilities in numeracy 30.00
4. Assessment of students with learning difficulties and disabilities 10.00
5. Curriculum and instructional adaptations in the inclusive classroom 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. (

  • There is no set text for this course.

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.
  • Coyne, M. D., Kameenui, E. J., & Carnine, D. W 2010, Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners, 4th edn, Pearson Education, New Jersey.
  • Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E 2009, The inclusive classroom: strategies for effective instruction, 4th edn, Pearson, New Jersey.
  • Salend, S. J 2008, Creating inclusive classrooms: effective and reflective practices for all students, 6th edn, Pearson, New Jersey.
  • Tucker, B. F., Singleton, A. H., & Weaver, T. L 2006, Teaching mathematics to all children: designing and adapting instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners, 2nd edn, Pearson Education, New Jersey.
  • Westwood, P 2004, Numeracy and learning difficulties: approaches to teaching and assessment, David Fulton Publishers, London.
  • Westwood, P 2004, Reading and learning difficulties: approaches to teaching and assessment, David Fulton Publishers, London.
  • 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
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 16 Apr 2012
ASSIGNMENT 2 60 60 28 May 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them 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.

  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:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  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.