DP Psychology course outline

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Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.” - Carl Jung
Welcome to the IB two-year Psychology course! Congratulations on making an important choice to study Psychology as your Group 3 subject. You are about to embark on an intense and exciting two years in which you discover a whole new subject, which hopefully will inspire you to engage in the systematic and critical study of human experience and behavior, enhance your self-knowledge and improve your relationships, and develop an empathic and compassionate outlook and an appreciation of human diversity.  You have also chosen a course of study that will  be relevant practically every day, so the question of, “When will I ever use this?” should never really come up.
As described by the IB Group 3 subject guide,
The aims of the Diploma Program psychology course, at both standard and the higher level are to:
  1. Develop an awareness of how psychological research can be applied for the benefit of human beings;
  2. Ensure that ethical practices are upheld in psychological inquiry;
  3. Develop an understanding of the biological, cognitive, and sociocultural influences on human behavior;
  4. Develop an understanding of alternative explanations of behavior;
  5. Understand and use diverse methods of psychological inquiry;
  6. Develop an awareness in the student that human attitudes and beliefs are widely diverse and that the study of society requires an appreciation of such diversity
Assessment objective 1: Knowing and comprehension of specified content
  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of key terms and concepts in psychology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of psychological research methods.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of a range of appropriately identified psychological theories and research studies.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the biological, cognitive and sociocultural levels of analysis.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of one option at SL and two options at HL.
Assessment objectives 2: Application and analysis
  • Demonstrate an ability to use examples of psychological research and psychological concepts to formulate an argument in response to a specific question.
  • At HL only, analyze qualitative psychological research in terms of methodological reflexive and ethical issues involved in research.
Assessment objective 3: Synthesis and evaluation
  • Evaluate psychological theories and empirical studies.
  • Discuss how biological, cognitive, and sociocultural levels of analysis can be used to explain behavior.
  • Evaluate research methods used to investigate behavior.
Assessment objective 4: Selection and use of skills appropriate to psychology
  • Demonstrate the acquisition of knowledge and skills required for experimental design, data collection and presentation, data analysis and interpretation.
  • At HL only, analyze data using an appropriate inferential statistical test.
  • Write an organized response.
As the IB Subject Guide (2015) states:
Psychology is the systematic study of behavior and mental processes. Psychology has its roots in both the natural and social sciences, leading to a variety of research designs and applications, and providing a unique approach to understanding modern society. IB Psychology examines the interaction of biological, cognitive, and sociocultural influences on human behavior, thereby adopting an integrative approach. Understanding how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied enables students to achieve a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behavior. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are key considerations in IB psychology.
Approaches to understanding behaviour
At the core of the DP psychology course is an introduction to three different approaches to understanding behaviour:
• biological approach to understanding behaviour
• cognitive approach to understanding behaviour
• sociocultural approach to understanding behaviour.
The knowledge, concepts, theories and research that have developed the
understanding in these fields will be studied and critically evaluated to answer some of the questions being asked by psychologists today. Furthermore, the interaction of these approaches to studying psychology will form the basis of a holistic and integrated approach to understanding mental processes and behaviour as a complex, dynamic phenomenon, allowing students to appreciate the diversity as well as the commonality between their own behaviour and that of others.
PART 2: Options
The contribution and the interaction of the three approaches can be best understood through the options. There are four options in the course. They focus on areas of applied psychology:
  • abnormal psychology
  • developmental psychology
  • health psychology
  • psychology of relationships.
The options provide an opportunity to take what is learned from the study of the approaches to psychology and put it into the context of specific lines of inquiry, broaden students’ experience of the discipline and develop the students’ critical inquiry skills.
Surrounding the approaches and the options are the overarching themes of research and ethics. A consideration of both is paramount to the nature of the subject.
Psychologists employ a range of research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, in order to test their observations and hypotheses. As a part of the core syllabus, DP psychology promotes an understanding of the various approaches to research and how they have been used in order to critically reflect on the evidence as well as assist in the design, implementation, analysis and evaluation of the students’ own investigations.
Psychology studies human beings and as such it is paramount that the ethical implications in any line of investigation, and at all points in the course, are fully explored and understood to ensure that ethical guidelines are followed at all times.
III. Distinction between SL and HL
There are three main distinctions between this course at SL and at HL.
1. The following extensions to the core approaches are studied at HL only:
• the role of animal research in understanding human behaviour
• cognitive processing in the digital world
• the influence of globalization on individual attitudes, identities and behaviour.
This differentiation is reflected in paper 1 section B of the external assessment.
2. SL students are required to study one option while HL students study two options. This differentiation is reflected in paper 2 of the external assessment.
3. Both SL and HL students will be expected to show their understanding of approaches to research in the internal assessment and for criterion D (critical thinking) in paper 1 section B and paper 2 responses. Additionally, HL students will be directly assessed on their understanding of approaches to research in paper 3 of the external assessment. This will cover both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
We will begin each new topic with a clear overview of the syllabus area and leaning objectives. You are encouraged to keep a glossary of core vocabulary terms for each topic.
  1. Occasionally you will be assigned homework that is not in the topic book or you may receive additional handouts to supplement the course textbook.
  2. Every lesson: consolidate your understanding of class notes from every lesson within 24 hours, where possible. You are free to use any system for keeping notes that you prefer, such as brain frames, mind maps, etc.
  3.  Reading: Expect to have weekly reading assignments. The core textbook will be supplemented by other readings such as journal and psychology magazine articles.
  4. As a DP student you are encouraged to become or continue being a proactive self-motivated learner.
  5. Writing, writing, and more writing: One of the key elements of the course is to be able to articulate in writing a well-substantiated and reasoned argument in response to broadly framed essay questions for assessment purposes.
V.  DP Psychology ASSESSMENT Terminology:
The following 3 types of assessment will be prepared for and completed over the two years. They will be assessed externally:
  1. Paper 1: A two hour examination that comprises two sections. Section A consists of three compulsory short response questions that assess your understanding of the three levels of analysis. Section B requires you to write a long essay response to one question from a choice of three and is also based on your knowledge, understanding and application of the three levels of analysis. The assessment weighting of paper 1 is 35% for HL and 50% for SL.
  2. Paper 2: The options paper is 1 hour for SL students, who only have to write one essay on their selected option topic. HL students take a 2 hour examination and are required to write two essays on their selected two options of study. The purpose of this paper is to assess your knowledge and understanding of the options studied and to give you an opportunity to demonstrate application of psychological research, analysis, synthesis and evaluation in relation to the option.The assessment weighting of paper 2 is 25% for both HL and SL.
  3. Paper 3 (HL only): The purpose of this paper is to assess your knowledge and understanding of qualitative research methodology. The examination consists of a set of three compulsory questions based on an extract from a study, interview, observation, or scenario.The assessment weighting of paper 3 at HL is 20%
  4. Internal Assessment (externally moderated): Replication of a simple experiment (1500 – 2000 word research based project). The internal assessment requirements at SL and at HL are different. SL students plan, undertake and report a replication of a simple experimental study. HL students also plan, undertake and report a simple experimental study but this may be a replication or a modification of a published study. Additional requirements are made of HL students, for example, they are required to apply an inferential statistical test to the data they gather.
Nuts & Bolts:
  1. Readings – reading assignments must be done before coming to class.  Almost every reading will be accompanied by a quiz.  These quizzes do count, although you will be the primary markers of your quiz material (this will be further explained in class after the first week of school).
  2. Notebooks – note-taking: Use your notebook (electronic or other format) as a log of your daily activity – keep track of each unit and what the focus is. There will be periodic notebook checks throughout the year. You are advised to keep notes of both at-home readings, in-class activities, and informal reflective writing in a ring binder.
  3. Essay writing: the primary skills focus is on writing.
  4. Late / make up assignment policy: 10% will be deducted from the grade of any work submitted after the due date.  Work submitted substantially late will have a percentage deducted in accordance with the period of delay.  If a student is absent, the assignment must be turned in on the first day back to receive full credit. The idea behind this is that students are responsible to check with their teacher to make up missed work.
  5.  Tardiness: Be on time for class. All tardies or absences will be noted.
  6. Academic honesty: Have in mind that plagiarism will lead to serious consequences. Distinguish between correct paraphrasing, direct quotation, and citation formats. Any notebooks or homework that looks too similar will also face serious penalties. For more information, please see the ISB Assessment and Academic honesty policy document.
  7.  Respect: Respect each other’s voice. Listen to each other. Do not cut each other off in class discussions.
30% Content tests
40% Constructive participation, presentations, seminar discussions, performance tasks
30% Quizzes, Major Non Test Writing/ Essays
Year 1:
Final grades in Semesters 1 and 2 during the Year 1 will be scored:
-        40%  quarter
-        40%  quarter
-        20%  semester exam
Year 2:
Final grade in Semester 1 will be scored:
-        40% quarter
-        40% quarter
-        20% semester exam
Final grade in Semester 2 will be scored:
-        80% Quarter 3
-        20% overall mock grade
VII.        CONTACT:
Feel free to contact me via e-mail acheney@isb.rs or by calling the school.