Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Textbook Pick-Up for 2017-18 AP Psych Students

Yesterday I dropped in the mail 101 postcards destined for the homes of next year's AP Psychology students! In case yours went missing, here is the gist of the message it contained:

I know you are probably in the midst of enjoying a beautiful summer, and the fall may be (understandably) far from your mind, but the beginning of AP Psychology is just around the corner!

AP Psychology students do not have a “summer assignment” like some other AP courses, but we do have early textbook pick-up in August. At that time, you’ll get your AP Psych textbook, course materials, and directions for your first reading assignment. You also get to meet me in person, and start talking about the great adventure that is AP Psych!

This year, I was able to schedule textbook pick-up dates and times concurrently with registration week at the high school. I’m hoping this will be convenient for students and their families, since you’ll probably be making a trip to the high school that week anyway. I’ll be meeting students and handing out textbooks in rm 136 (my classroom) during the following times:

Monday, August 14; 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday, August 15; 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday, August 16; 11 AM - 5 PM
Thursday, August 17; 9 AM - 4 PM

If, for whatever reason, you will not be available to come in during those times, please feel free to contact me via email to arrange some other time to meet.

Have a great summer, and see you soon!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Welle

Congrats to the AP Psych Class of 2017!

My work- and vacation-related travels this summer meant that I had limited access to wifi during the week when students' AP Exam results were released. I was able to log in and check scores briefly... long enough to know that you guys rocked it...but not long enough to compose a summary and congratulatory post. So, here it is: CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

This year's class holds two distinct honors that are very difficult to attain simultaneously:

  1. At 116 total examinees, this was the largest group of students taking the AP Psych exam in CFHS history. What a wonderful thing that so many students are learning about psychology and challenging themselves to pursue college-level work!
  2. More impressive, this group attained the highest average score for which I have records, a 4.303! I began teaching this course in 2005-06, and have examinee records as far back as 2002-03, so that's saying something. 
These results are the product of a tremendous amount of hard work on your part, students. We all know this class was far from easy at points, and you likely sacrificed some sleep and had to forgo more immediately gratifying activities in order to study throughout the year (especially in April). You should be proud of your scores, not just because of the college credit they will earn you, but because of the hard-earned mastery and psychology knowledge that they represent. 

Overall, our group of test-takers compared quite favorably to national averages, as the chart below suggests.
This chart from the Instructional Planning Report illustrates the percentage of CFHS students and the global sample scoring at various ranges on the national exam. CFHS AP Psych students (represented by the blue bars) substantially outperformed the global sample (represented by the green bars). 

It is important to know, students, that EVERY score on this chart reflects hard work, even if your personal score fell short of the goals you had set for yourself. You grew as a student and you gained psychology knowledge and skills that will help you navigate future challenges, even if the final number was lower than you had hoped. I am proud of each and every one of you

APA Summit on High School Psychology

I was lucky to have spent early July in Utah traveling to and participating in the APA Summit on High School Psychology. While I'm happy to be home again, the experience was invigorating and I'm excited to continue the work that was begun at Weber State University in Ogden, UT.

Participants at APA Summit on High School Psychology
The mission of the Summit was to "create the best future for high school psychology education" by addressing eight core issues that were central to moving psychology forward. I had the opportunity to collaborate most intensively with the working group on "Flourishing" (skills that promote well-being, metacognition, and transfer). We drafted deliverables (documents that can be disseminated to relevant audiences) and recommendations that the APA can now review and, hopefully, implement.

Strand 2: Flourishing

As I adjust back to the lower altitude and higher humidity in Wisconsin, I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing folks: other teachers of high school psychology, college-level faculty, and APA staff. My return means it's time to start focusing on preparing for my own school year, but I will also be working on a long "to-do" list in conjunction with Summit goals.

Appropriately, my husband and I chose to make the travel to the Summit part of our own vacation, so I spent the week prior hiking in the many National Parks in southern Utah. The theme of the Summit was "Psychology Climbing." I think that just might capture the theme of my entire summer, too.

Psychology Climbing (literally); Mrs. Welle at Observation Point in Zion National Park


Monday, June 26, 2017

Score Distributions for the 2017 AP Psych Exam

Today, Trevor Packer, head of the Advanced Placement program for the College Board, tweeted out preliminary aggregate data about performance on the AP Psych exam. Before we take a look at the trends, it's important to note two things:

  1. These data reflect performance of ALL AP Psych test-takers globally. They are NOT the score distributions of Chi-Hi students, which are often quite different.
  2. The score distributions tell you NOTHING about your own individual score. You will be able to view your own scores on July 6th (assuming you are in Wisconsin on that date). So, until then, patience is required. 
That being said, here we go:
Overall, these score distributions are pretty similar to previous years.

Let's hope these students are from Chippewa Falls!
But even more, I hope we're ALL successful. I'd take widespread success over perfection for a few any day.

I'll be able to find out if this trend also held true for Chi-Hi students when Instructional Planning Reports come out later in July. Same goes for the challenging topics identified below.


Looks like Sachio and his saxophone proved to be difficult for many students nationwide. I'm hoping he was not as troublesome for you. 

Now we wait for our own scores. :) Having read student responses from both Q1 and Q2 at the AP Reading earlier this month, I saw a wide variety of levels of student performance. The experience always makes me optimistic. Given what I saw you were capable of on your practice exams, I know there's a good chance you'll be satisfied with your scores come July. You certainly all had the capacity to do well, so I imagine your scores will reflect that.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Activities for Today

Most students will be spending their class time today working on developing Parts II and III of their final projects. If you are one of those lucky individuals who are already finished, here's an option for how to make good use of your time.

1.) Read this article on the therapeutic value of coloring. Then...
2.) Test it out! I have a ton of coloring pages to choose from.
3.) At the close of the hour I'll have you respond to some reflection questions to help you attend to your emotional state.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Final Paper Editing

Today in class we'll be doing some exercises to make sure your final paper (due at 4:00 PM today) is in tip-top shape before you submit it. Here are some resources you will be using:

I'll also remind you how to submit the link to the final version in Canvas. Even though you have already shared with me an in-progress version, I'll need you to submit the link in Canvas so I can use the rubric there to assess the final product!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Senior Psychology Students Recognized

On Thursday, May 25th, two senior AP Psychology students at Chi-Hi received Academic Achievement in Psychology Awards from TOPSS and the APA. Amelia Schlick and Morgan Belshause were both recognized for their outstanding academic performance this year in AP Psychology.

Congratulations!

Amelia Schlick and Morgan Belshause at Senior Recognition Assembly
Photo credit: Dan Loomis