Psych Syllabus

ADVANCED PLACEMENT PSYCHOLOGY COURSE SYLLABUS

Fall , 2012

PLANO WEST SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

W. Richard Evarts, Instructor

Walter.Evarts@pisd.edu

 

WELCOME: Welcome to a unique opportunity to explore the brain, the mind, the body and the state of interdependence in which we function.   You are a sensate system of nature and nurture, synapse, muscle, hormones and neurotransmitters, chromosomes, dreams, nightmares, fantasies and subjective realities. You are a human being with a personality.   You are the most complex and incomprehensible creature on earth. In this course, we will seek to understand ourselves and the “others” who surround us. We will begin a journey of discovery that touches on every science and all of philosophy, ethics, law, justice, art and history.  This study is the most eclectic of all sciences and its discoveries are growing exponentially.  Many of these discoveries challenge old assumptions of how we think, feel, remember and relate.  We must constantly revise our definitions of “perception”, “cognition”, “intelligence” and the reliability of what we see and remember.  You will never “recover” from what you learn and what you learn will spark a thousand fires of inquiry and puzzlement.  You will begin to reexamine your assumptions regarding human behavior, intelligence and the comparative influences of nature and nurture. 

PURPOSE: The Advanced Placement Course Description Book states the purpose for our course.  “The purpose of the Advanced Placement course in psychology is to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of behaviors and the mental processes of human beings and other animals.  Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles and phenomena associated with the major sub-fields within psychology.  They also learn about methods and tools that psychologists use in their science and practice.” The general outline of the AP psychology course may be found at the following web address: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_psych.html . This same location will provide information about the advanced placement test which will be conducted on May 2, 2011. You will be expected to register for this test.

 

COURSE THEME:  This course is, by definition, equivalent to a college course.  Accordingly, the work-load is significant, as is the expectation of student participation.  The course requires preparation, participation and individual goal-setting.  The study of psychology is inevitably multi-disciplinary, intellectually collaborative, demanding and challenging. The course, like psychology itself, is empirical, theoretically diverse and socio-historical.  The insights arising from student learning here will have broad applications as you study other disciplines and find work in many occupations.   The learning is fast-paced, but rewarding.  It is meant to be fun.  If you are not enjoying your learning experience in this class-LET ME KNOW.  LET’S TALK.  It is meant to inspire you to be a fellow teacher, a colleague who will support your peers in learning and in demonstrating active participation in this enterprise.

Quote of the Day:  Each day will begin with a quotation from literature, poetry, psychology, philosophy or folk wisdom.  The quote is designed to inspire thought and to illuminate the path of the day’s assignment. This will be provided by the instructor.

“Psych” Moment:  Each day we will discuss an important event or development in the areas of psychological study that will encourage further inquiry and draw attention to trends of research.  Students should be reading and observing human behavior outside the class room.  This will make it possible to relate course materials to current developments in science, art and political developments. Be prepared with a moment relating to the lecture topics.  Student contributions will be solicited randomly, or assigned.   Responses will be reflected in a participation grade. Please refer to the student sign-in sheet for specific assignments.  You are responsible to taking note of the day on which your responsibility has been assigned. If you are not going to be in class, it is your responsibility to gain the cooperation of another student to take your assignment.   

“Psychologists in Review”:  Each chapter will require the presentation of at least two psychologists and their contributions to the field of psychology. The instructor will make these presentations.  You will be responsible for recognizing the picture of the psychologist and for identifying the major contributions made by that psychologist on the periodic tests. You will need to remember the following information:

1) Name of psychologist or researcher. 2) Picture of the psychologist or researcher.  3) Summary of his/her work and why it is or was important. 4) One phrase synopsis for the psychologist’s contribution. 5) Practical application of the theories or insights to the study of psychology. 6) Implication for future research, and for political, economic or legal policy. 7) An acrostic or mnemonic which will be memorable for other students describing relevant points of content or contributions

EXISTING RESOURCE:  You will receive a CD file which contains every vocabulary word in the textbook.  You can play this disc on some car players. You can download the audio files from this disc to you MP3 Player.  Statistics from the AP examination demonstrate that use of this resource will significantly enhance your test performance.  Every student who played this disc a minimum of five times received a “3”, “4” or “5” on the test! The test is heavily reliant on a comprehensive understanding of the vocabulary.  Your use of this disc is expected and required for best results in the course.

COURSE GOALS:  The goals listed here are those set by the instructor.  Each student must prepare a list of his or her own goals for this course.  Both sets of goals will guide your learning.  If you have no goals for specific learning in this course, you will squander your opportunity. If your goals do not multiply and expand, you will not have found the inspiration you need to continue. All students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Psychology Test on May 7, 2012. With the proper focus and preparation, each participating student should pass the test with a grade of “3”, “4” or “5”.  Most universities will accept these grades for partial of full college credit.  While life offers no guarantees, passing the AP psychology test will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your valuable time. If you are familiar with the concept of “opportunity costs” in economics, you may approximate the value of passing the AP examination in saving several thousand dollars and several hundred hours of study. 

TEXT:  Psychology Themes & Variations 5th edition ã2001. Wayne Weiten (ISBN 0 534 36714 3). Wadsworth (Thomson Learning Group), Stamford, CT.  The latest edition is the 7th Edition. You will be given a copy of the Fifth Edition.

This is a wonderful text filled with readable, materials that are well organized, insightful and generously illustrated.   This text permits you to access the web-site and to obtain additional resources and to review materials presented in the course.

You may purchase a book directly from the publisher. However, you will receive a book for your use during the course.  DO NOT MARK IN THIS BOOK.  TREAT IT WITH CARE.  YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONDITION AND FINANCIALLY LIABLE IF IT IS NOT RETURNED.  

The web site for the text must be accessed to complete the quizzes.  The site is located at the following address:

http://www.wadsworth.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20b&discipline_number=24&product_isbn_issn=0534597696  (publisher’s book companion site).  You may be referred to www.thomsonedu.com for registration.  Once you have registered you will be able to use this site to study, review and to take chapter quizzes. If you have difficulty assessing this site, please inform me immediately.

EXPECTATIONSYou must meet the following expectations to pass the course and to prepare for the AP examination:

1.   Attend the class on time, all of the time, unless you have an excused absence.

2.   Finish all of the assignments on time, all of the time, unless excused.

3.   Complete make-up assignments in the time permitted by the instructor.

4.   Read the assignments and summarize your learning by using the SQ4R method.

5.   Take notes on the lectures using the Cornell note taking system, or a similar one that works for you. You may receive a grade for the notes.  You will find them useful in passing the in class notebook quizzes.

6.   Learn all of the vocabulary words provided at the end of each chapter.

7.   Select psychologists or researchers to reflect your interests.

8.   Participate in the provision and discussion of the daily quote and the “psych” moment.

10. Attend the refresher sessions which will be offered in March and April. (This is not required to pass the course, but attendance is essential to improve prospects of passing the May examination.)

11. Behavior.  As an AP student, you are expected to behave as a young adult, respect your colleagues, participate, pay attention and follow the rules of the campus.  Here is a short list of “NO FLY ZONES,” THAT WILL BE ENFORCED.

A. DO NOT SLEEP IN CLASS.  YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE.

B. DO NOT TALK DURING LECTURES OR STUDENT PRESENTATIONS. SUCH BEHAVIOR IS IMPOLITE AND DISMISSIVE.

C. DO NOT WORK ON OTHER ASSIGNMENTS WHILE IN THIS CLASS.  This is psychology class, not history, economics, physics or study hall.

D. DO NOT USE CELL PHONES OR ENGAGE IN TEXT MESSAGING WHILE IN THIS CLASS. After the first warning, your device will be taken up. On the third occasion it will be sent to sub-school and your parents will be notified.

E: DO NOT CHEAT ON EXAMINATIONS, OR HELP OTHERS TO DO SO.  THIS WILL RESULT IN A ZERO FOR THE EXAM AND POSSIBLE EXPULSION FROM THE COURSE, OR FROM SCHOOL. 

F. DO NOT BRING YOUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES TO CLASS ON EXAM DAY.   

G. Sign in each day on the attendance sheet.  This sheet is also used to communicate with students and with the instructor.  Do not sign-in for others.

 

TESTS & GRADES:  My Tests are designed to reinforce and measure learning.  Test questions will be generated from lectures, the text and special presentations.  All tests will contain extensive references to “terms of art” or vocabulary words.  Knowing and remembering these words will permit the student to connect the words to concepts, the concepts to theorists, the theorists, words and concepts to theories and the theories to advancements in collegial sciences.

Quizzes: You will take the computer driven quizzes at the end of every chapter (fill in the blank, multiple choice and short answer) and complete the crossword puzzle. These quizzes will receive a daily grade with a weight of TWO.    Most students will receive a 100 for these tests.  However, all quizzes are due in class on the date as established in the calendar. Be prepared to deliver the hard copy of the quiz if required.  When you return your take home test, you must include a copy of the score sheet from the on-line quiz.

Tests:  There are 16 chapters in the book.  We will complete all sixteen chapters.  At the end of every two chapters we will have a test.  This will be an in-class test.  Approximately two weeks later, you will take a similar test on the same topic in class. This will be an open book and open note test. It is not a collaborative test.  You may rely ONLY on your notes and your book.   The test score entered will be an average of the two scores.   The rationale for this is to assure that the information provided will be retained in long-term memory. .   We will conduct several essay exams that are designed to simulate exam experiences conducted in the AP examination.  These exams will be juried and will receive a double daily score. The objective tests will contain at least 30 multiple choice questions, but not more than 80 multiple choice questions. The following book chapters are thematic and are presented as clusters:

  • Chapter 1, The Evolution of Psychology-Foundations
  • Chapter 2, The Research Enterprise-Methodology                  
  • Chapter 3, The Biological Bases of Behavior-The Brain, chemistry/nervous system  
  • Chapter 4, Sensation and Perception-Visual, Auditory & Kinesthetic Systems
  • Chapter 5, Variations in Consciousness-Consciousness, Sleep, Dreams & Drugs
  • Chapter 6, Learning-Conditioning & Observing
  • Chapter 7, Human Memory-The physiology & psychology of remembering/forgetting
  • Chapter 8, Language & Thought-Words, Paragraphs, logic and conclusion
  • Chapter 9, Intelligence & Psychological Testing-What is it how is it measured?
  • Chapter 10, Motivation & Emotion-Why did we do it, why don’t we want to do it?
  • Chapter 11, Human Development Across the Life Span-Growing Up-Growing Old
  • Chapter 12, Personality-How do you see yourself-do others agree?
  • Chapter 13, Stress & Health-Stress & coping mechanisms-good and bad stress.
  • Chapter 14, Psychological Disorders-What is “Crazy”, abnormal, depressed?
  • Chapter 15, Treatment of Disorders-Biomedical, behavioral therapeutic systems.
  • Chapter 16, Social Behavior-Conformity, opposition, living, loving & dying. 
  • Summary and Preparation for the AP Examination

 

Report on Psychology and Public Policy.   The report on psychology and public policy is described in the attached section on Research Paper and is not due until the last two weeks of May.

Library Work: Each student will establish a research file at the Plano West Library.  The account will contain at least three articles and two books relating to the scientific article presented for your review.  You will receive a form to be signed by the librarian confirming the content of the account. Upon confirmation of the account and attendance at the research tutorial, you will receive a daily grade for compliance. This work will constitute a daily grade.

Student Notes:  Student performance is often closely related to the accuracy, efficiency and accessibility of notes on lectures, retention of insight and reflections.   Accordingly, the student must use a system of note taking that will serve him or her throughout the educational enterprise. You may elect to use whatever note taking system that works for you.  However, periodic note checks will occur.  If you are selected, your notes will be graded on the four “C”s: Clarity, Cogency, Comprehensiveness and Compatibility with learning principles.  This will be a double daily grade.

Sleep Study: Each student will conduct a sleep study describing his or her sleep patterns.  This study is designed to permit the application of research procedures and to provide insights for the student in understanding the importance of sleep in relationship to mental acuity, comprehension and general mental health.  You will be given the sleep assignment during the second week of class.  The sleep study will be equivalent to two test grades. The sleep study assignment will be provided in a separate attachment.

Final Examination:  A final examination will be available for all students, unless they qualify for and request an exemption as established by school policy. This includes a commitment to take the AP examination. The student may elect to take a final examination if this will assist his learning or provide other grading opportunities.

Participation:  A participation grade may be entered for all students.  Each student may qualify for a participation grade of 100 with a weight of one, if they meet the following requirements:

            1). All assignments completed and submitted on-time.

            2). All major evaluations with scores of 70 or above.

            3). No unexcused absences, not more than three times tardy.

            4). No violations of the rules of behavior.

            5). Active participation in class discussions.

Exceptional preparation may be rewarded with “tickets” worth five points on examinations.

LECTURES:  Lectures consist of modules from the Psych-trek system supplied by the publisher, original lectures from the instructor and from other resources.  Lectures may be formal or informal.  Exercises are often woven into the lectures.  Lectures may cite articles of special interest which will be distributed to the students. Once distributed, the student is responsible for knowing the materials in the article.  It is essential that the student take notes on the lectures.  The instructor will make many of these materials available on the internet.  However, repetition of note taking and review will assist your memory. Please remember that note taking is required and will be the subject of review.

 

“DAILY” ASSIGNMENTS:  Each day the student is expected to read a minimum of six pages per day and to take notes on these readings and on the class lectures. Each chapter will contain specialized vocabulary which will be reviewed by each student.  You will be called upon to describe what you read and to relate it to topics at hand. You may be graded on your compliance with this instruction. You may be asked to present a summary of your reading as assigned on the sign-in sheet. 

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS:  A class calendar will be prepared and presented to all students. This calendar will be revised and updated as the course proceeds.  It is impossible to maintain a simple schedule throughout the course because variables such as weather, extra-curricular events, illness and many others will confound a static schedule. Keep your schedule and revise your own study plan as required by these changes.

 

FINAL STUDY:  Eight evening sessions will be selected for group study in advance of the AP Examination.  Each AP Psychology student will be invited to attend.  Attendance is not mandatory.  However, the taking the A.P. Test is one element of the requirement for exemption from the final examination.   The instructor is offering this intense review outside the ordinary schedule, but with the expectation that it will enhance each student’s prospects of success on the AP ExamThe AP Examination is currently scheduled for May 7, 2012.  You should note that over 95% of students who received a 4 or 5 on the AP examination listened to the CD, took excellent notes in class, attended the tutorials and demonstrated excellent written communication skills.   

 

ITEMS & PROCEEDURES NEEDED TO SUCCED IN THIS CLASS:

  1. ASSURE THAT YOUR NAME, PERIOD NUMBER, SEAT NUMBER AND TITLE OF THE PROJECT OR TEST IS ON EVERY DOCUMENT.
  2. ASSURE THAT EVERYTHING THAT YOU TURN IN HAS BEEN TYPED.
  3. ASSURE THAT ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE ON PAPER WITH THREE HOLE- PUNCHED STOCK.
  4. BRING A THREE RING BINDER WITH SEPARATE AREAS FOR ALL SUBJECT NOTES.
  5. CHECK PINNACLE TO ASSURE THAT YOUR GRADE FOR WORK HAS BEEN ENTERED.  ARE YOU CERTAIN THAT YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR WORK?
  6. SIGN IN ON THE ATTENDANCE SHEET EVERY DAY.  DO NOT SIGN IN FOR OTHERS OR ASK OTHERS TO SIGN IN FOR YOU.
  7. REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE TO ASSURE THAT ALL MISSING WORK IS SUBMITTED.  THREE DAYS AFTER THE DUE DATE, YOU CAN RECEIVE A GRADE NO HIGHER THAN 60.
  8. BRING COLORED PENCILS, NOTE PADS, PENS OR SIMILAR TOOLS TO THE CLASS.
  9. TAKING NOTES IS NOT OPTIONAL.  IT IS REQUIRED.
  10. YOU WILL BE TESTED ON THE CONTENT OF THIS SYLLABUS.

 

QUESTIONS:  Questions regarding the course, its conduct or expectations or your individual needs can be addressed to the instructor via e-mail, in person or by the snap form supplied for each student.  Inquiries from students or from their parents are welcome.  Your participation and satisfaction are important to me.  Please let me know if you have any problems or issues.

MAKE LEARNING EXCITING.  MAKE THE KNOWLEDGE WORK FOR YOU.  EMBRACE COLLABORATION AND HAVE FUN!  This outline may change, and may change without substantial advance notice.