Precollege and Undergraduate Education (PCUE) update

In addition to teaching tips, essay and electronic project contests, the office worked on the draft Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology

Policy development

In 2010, PCUE facilitated a public review and comment of the draft Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology, designed to promote a worldclass educational system that produces psychologically literate citizens who apply the principles of psychological knowledge at work and at home. Diane Halpern, PhD, of Claremont McKenna College, chaired the Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) steering committee that developed the Principles. Following approval by the APA Council of Representatives, the new guidelines will replace the earlier association policy titled “Principles for Quality Undergraduate Psychology Programs” (August 1994). Council approval is expected in 2011.

PCUE also facilitated the revision of the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula, which describes what high school students should learn in the high school psychology course. In July, the National Standards Working Group — under the leadership of Amy Fineburg, PhD, of Oak Mountain High School (Birmingham, Ala.) — met to review feedback received during the period of public comment that occurred from March to May, 2010. The revised National Standards is expected to be approved by Council as APA policy in 2011.

A draft policy document titled Guidelines for Preparing High School Psychology Teachers: Course-Based and Standards-Based Approaches was also developed in 2010 by the BEA Working Group on the Certification and Training of High School Psychology Teachers, under the leadership of Ken Weaver, PhD, Emporia State University. This document outlines the recommended training for secondary school psychology teachers. All APA members and affiliates will be given the chance to comment on the document during a public comment period in 2011.

Support for the APA high school and community college teacher affiliates

PCUE staff coordinated the development of programs and resources for the APA High School and Community College Teacher Affiliates. Through affiliate membership with APA, these Teacher Affiliates are also members of TOPSS and PT@CC.

Staff worked with the PT@CC and TOPSS committees to administer and judge the annual PT@CC Electronic Project Contest, the PT@CC Teaching Tips Contest and the TOPSS Scholars Essay Competition during the spring of 2010. In August, the TOPSS and PT@CC committees each sponsored five hours of programming at the APA convention in San Diego, Calif.

Resources for psychology teachers

PCUE encourages all psychology teachers to visit our website for resources that promote the teaching of psychology. In 2010, new resources included:

  • TOPSS Unit Lesson Plans: Lesson plans on Motivation and Emotion have been posted to the TOPSS website; hard copies are available upon request by email.

  • The Institutional Review Board (IRB): A Community College Planning Guide: PT@CC completed a new publication on IRBs.