Accreditation standards, evidence guide and rules
For education providers
APAC uses the Accreditation Standards for Psychology Programs (Accreditation Standards) to assess undergraduate and postgraduate programs that form part of the pathway to registration as a psychologist in Australia. This ensures that those programs meet the relevant standards to produce competent graduates who are safe to practice.
The Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA) approved the current version of the Accreditation Standards which took effect on 1 January 2019.
There are five domains outlined within the Accreditation Standards which includes a statement that is supported by a set of criteria:
- Public safety
- Academic governance and quality assurance
- Program of study
- The student experience
The APAC evidence guide supplements the Accreditation Standards and the graduate competencies. The APAC evidence guide should be used in conjunction with these documents.
APAC has also produced an annexure to the APAC evidence guide: Standard 3 Program of study, criterion 3.8 (cultural responsiveness).
Rules for accreditation
The APAC rules for accreditation sets out the rules that apply to the accreditation process as detailed on the accreditation overview and process page and in accordance with Section 45 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009.
Frequently asked questions
Are providers required to meet the minimum number of hours for placements and client contact for programs of study at Levels 3 and 4 graduate competencies as stipulated in the Evidence guide?APAC understands that education providers may need to make changes to their programs. APAC are not able to provide parameters around this as the changes made would be reviewed on a case by case basis as every education provider’s programs meets the Standards in the context of a program as a whole and this may vary from provider to provider. The education provider must demonstrate that the processes and arrangements in place for placements and supervision are robust and do not have an impact on the program’s ability to meet the standards. Please update APAC if you make any changes to an accredited program so an assessment of the impact on the program’s ongoing compliance with the Standards can be made. Upon receipt of any changes, APAC will be in contact if any further clarification is required.
Do all placement supervisors have to be Board approved?Yes, please refer to the APAC evidence guide under criteria 1.7 and 1.8. Please also refer to Appendix 1 in the Accreditation Standards for further details of the Psychology Board of Australia’s supervision requirements.
Is returning an ungraded pass as a unit outcome permissible under APAC guidelines?Grading is entirely at the discretion of the education provider and in the case of every individual student, it is the provider’s responsibility to determine whether the students meet the relevant unit’s learning outcomes and graduate competencies.
Is the 10 year rule still part of the entry requirements?The 10 year rule was specified as an entry requirement in the 2010 Standards for programs at fourth year and above. It has been removed from the entry requirements in the 2019 Accreditation Standards. Entry requirements for programs at Levels 1, 2, 3 or 4 are listed in the introductory comments for each level within the Accreditation Standards. The Accreditation Standards are a minimum threshold and education providers may set additional requirements above and beyond those set out in the Standards.
I have a concern regarding an accredited program that may not be complying with the Accreditation Standards. How do I notify APAC of my concern?If, after reading the Complaints handling policy and the Accreditation Standards, you believe that an accredited program may not be complying with one or more Standards, please notify APAC by submitting the Concerns about accredited programs form outlining how each relevant Standard may not be met and detailing what evidence you are able to provide to support your concern. Please note, APAC is unable to investigate anonymous notifications, however will respect a request for confidentiality (within the limits of legal discoverability) if confidentiality is requested at the time of the notification. It’s also important to note that in most instances APAC is not the appropriate body to investigate a complaint or grievance and concerns relating to personal complaints and/or Registered Health Practitioners cannot be addressed by APAC. Students seeking to have a matter investigated and addressed to result in a change to their personal situation, including matters such as admissions and selection, recognition of prior learning/experience, placement allocation, assessment outcomes, or dismissal from training will not be considered by APAC. In such instances, APAC advises students to use the formal grievance procedures established by the education provider or contact the PsyBA for any concerns about a health practitioner.
What is APAC’s Accreditation Assessment Committee? What does it do, who serves on it and how does it carry out its duties, including site visits? AAC Chair, Professor Alison Garton, takes us through the answers.