Assessment on placement for all Occupational Therapy University students in Queensland is by way of the Student Placement Evaluation Form - Revised [SPEF-R] with the primary emphasis on providing constructive, objective and detailed feedback. The SPEF-R is provided by the Universities to every supervising clinical educator. It is available as an online evaluation tool (SPEF-R online), and you can access online training for the tool here:

This fieldwork evaluation form covers a range of learning objectives seen as integral to student learning and professional development in order to practice effectively as occupational therapists. These objectives cover the expected knowledge, behaviours and skills that the student must demonstrate in the following areas: professional practice, self management, communication, documentation, assessment/Information gathering, intervention, evaluation, group skills (optional) and, a selection of other roles according to the appropriate clinical area in the placement: direct client care, case management and/or project management/ consultancy.

The purpose of assessment in the student clinical setting is to:

  • Certify – pass/fail
  • Promote – to the next level
  • Diagnose – learning needs
  • Analyse – performance problems

(Fitzgerald, 2007, March)


It is important that you are familiar with the marking requirements and expectations of the SPEF-R handbook prior to the student’s arrival. The SPEF-R will also help you to structure and grade the learning program and the placement expectations of the student placement.

Linking performance to components on the SPEF-R gives the clinical educator “a way to structure feedback and to monitor the components of the students’ performance” ((S. Bartholomai, personal communication, May 31,2007).


SPEF-R five point rating scale

  1. = unacceptable performance
  2. = concerns exist
  3. = developing competence
  4. = competent performance
  5. = exceptional performance

(The University of Queensland, 1998, p.4)

It is important to grade students as students and not as new graduates. Take care not to succumb to the urge to mark a student up because you see their potential, particularly at the halfway assessment. Mark them based on evidence-based observations. When grading, consider how much more the student needs to learn and develop in order to be at a graduate competency. Only rate a student at 5 – exceptional performance – if the performance is truly exceptional. There is usually room for improvement.