APA TOPSS Competition for High School Psychology Students
The APA Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) is pleased to announce the 2013 APA TOPSS Competition for High School Psychology Students. There will be up to four winners, each of whom will receive a $250 award. The submission deadline is March 1, 2013.
Entrants must be high school students.
Entrants must have been enrolled or be presently enrolled in a high school psychology course.
Group or team entries will not be accepted. Each submission should have just one author.
No more than ten submissions per school are allowed.
Psychology faculty at the college and high school level will serve as judges.
Psychological science is the study of behavior and mental processes. The American Psychological Association recognizes psychology as a diverse scientific discipline with nearly boundless applications in everyday life. APA’s mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.
For this competition, students write a short (500-1,000 words) composition exploring the role psychological science can play in both explaining and informing solutions for social injustices and inequities. Students also design an original visual poster on the theme “Psychology Addressing Injustice” to accompany their written component.
Students are requested to authorize reprint permission when they submit their projects online, so that the winning written components and posters may appear on the APA website for teachers and students to download.
Part I: Written Component
- Students identify and describe a specific social injustice or inequity present within a particular community or broader society.
- Students choose one of the following psychological principles to illustrate their understanding of this social injustice and why or how it occurs in society:
- Confirmation bias
- Diffusion of responsibility
- Fundamental attribution error
- Cognitive dissonance
- Blaming the victim
- Finally, students suggest a meaningful solution to the specific social injustice or inequity being addressed.
Students must identify and properly cite one or more psychological studies related to the chosen principle, to demonstrate their understanding of the social injustice or inequity and inform the creation of their suggested solution. Students are encouraged to go beyond their textbook for cited reference(s), and extra credit will be given for citing more than one source.
Part II: Poster
- Students create a poster to accompany their written component and further illustrate the theme “Psychology Addressing Injustice.” All posters must contain the term of the chosen psychological principle, in text, somewhere on the poster.
- Posters should display one or both of the following aspects from the written component:
- How the social injustice or inequity can be better understood and explained using knowledge of the chosen psychological principle; and/or
- A suggested solution for the given social injustice or inequity informed by what psychological science — specifically the chosen psychological principle — tells us about that injustice or inequity.
- The poster can have text, photographs, graphics and/or any other medium, but all artwork must be original.
- Written components must be between 500 (minimum) and 1,000 (maximum) words, double-spaced. The cover page and reference(s) do not count toward the word limit.
- Written components must be submitted as a PDF or Word document file, separate from the poster.
- Reference(s) must be in APA Style. See the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for details.
- Include a cover page with the following information (all required): student’s name, home address and email address; student’s school name and address.
- Note: Submissions will be screened for originality.
- Posters must be submitted as PDF files, 10 MB or less. If possible, posters should be submitted as high-resolution PDF files (with high-resolution photos, if included). The printed poster size should be 11'' x 17'' maximum.
- Submission constitutes the student’s representation and warranty that any materials, figures, information or graphics incorporated is either the original creation of the student or is the creation of a third party from whom the student has obtained written permission to reproduce for the purposes outlined herein. If photographs of people are provided, those people must give written permission to have their photographs displayed. APA may ask for proof of permission at any time.
- Submission constitutes the student’s authorization to APA to reproduce and publicly display the poster in electronic, online and/or print format, including but not limited to the APA website and/or PsycEXTRA.
Rubric (Out of 105 possible points)
Part I: Written Component (50 points)
A good written component will:
- Clearly identify and describe a social injustice or inequity (15 points).
- Use a specific psychological principle from the provided list to explain why or how this injustice or inequity occurs (20 points).
- Suggest a specific, meaningful solution to this social problem, citing at least one psychological study (15 points).
Part II: Poster (50 points)
A good poster will:
- Visually demonstrate which psychological principle was chosen, with the actual term presented on the poster (15 points).
- Illustrate one or both of the following (35 points):
- The social injustice/inequity in the context of the chosen psychological principle.
- The suggested solution for the injustice or inequity, based upon what is understood using the chosen psychological principle.
Extra Credit (5 points)
Extra credit will be awarded for students citing more than one source in Part I.
Email Caitlin Crowley or call (202) 336-6076.