Teaching, Learning and Assessing in a Developmentally Coherent Curriculum

2008

This report, Teaching, Learning and Assessing in a Developmentally Coherent Curriculum, presents the work of the American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs Task Force on Strengthening the Teaching and Learning of Undergraduate Psychological Sciences. This task force was charged with bridging the gap between the National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology and the APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major.

The National Standards established a set of benchmark learning objectives, designed initially for use in high schools, for teaching the first course in psychology, but it quickly became apparent that the these standards could apply to the first psychology course offered at any level. The Guidelines set a standard for the competencies that should be expected of students graduating from colleges and universities as undergraduate psychology majors.

The two documents provided guidance in designing the beginning of the academic study of psychology and establishing behavioral expectations for outcomes upon completion of undergraduate study, but they left unaddressed the elements of development that transpire between that first course and receipt of the baccalaureate degree. Accordingly, the charge of the current task force was to consider the development of the psychology student from the first course to the bachelor’s degree and to propose a set of intermediate outcomes or abilities that these students attain en route.