Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ESP Claims Revealed as Hoaxes

Since class time did not allow for viewing these videos, I thought I would post them here. As your book describes, and as we discussed in class, psychologists remain skeptical about claims of Extrasensory Perception (ESP) for a number of reasons. They include:
  • Numerous studies indicating that supposed "psychics" do no better than chance in predicting outcomes or "receiving" sent telepathic messages.
  • Despite a lot of incentives that have been offered in order to solicit reliable demonstrations of psychic abilities in laboratory settings, no one has been able to do so. (For example, see James Randi's Million Dollar Challenge). 
  • Many claims of psychic abilities have been revealed to be hoaxes. Not only can many supposed "psychic" phenomena be created through clever tricks and planning, but sometimes "mediums" and "psychics" have been fairly publicly revealed to be frauds.  Some examples are included below.
Yuri Geller, who claimed to be able to mentally bend spoons and manipulate the weights of objects, was called out for this hoax while appearing as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Likewise, the BBC caught some supposed "mediums" in the act of spoofing their abilities by cleverly designing a fake website for a factory that the mediums then took "readings" from.

Sensation & Perception Review Tools

Hi all!

With your Sensation & Perception test approaching rapidly, you'll want to take some time to review all of the terms, concepts, and theories from this substantial unit. In addition to the Study Guide you received in class, and the handout on commonly confused term pairs from this unit, you may want to use the links below to aid your review. Good luck!

General Review

By Topic

Thursday, December 12, 2013

PsychSim on Visual Illusions

For Tuesday, December 17, you will be completing this worksheet using the PsychSim on Visual Illusions.

After playing around with the popular and long-researched visual illusions on the PsychSim, you might enjoy visiting the Best Visual Illusion of the Year website, which hosts an annual contest with entries from visual cognition labs. There are some good ones on there, some of which I will show in class. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Auditory Processes PsychSim & Sensation Activities

For Monday, you will be completing this homework assignment using the PsychSim 5 Module on the Auditory System. You will learn about properties of sound waves and how the ear responds to these properties to create our experience of hearing. Complete the ear diagram you received in class as you work through the module. Once you have finished the module, you may wish to play around with these fun hearing links:

If you're still looking for more sensation-related challenges, here are a few we've used/talked about in class recently:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Observational Learning Stuff - In Case You Missed It

Hi all,

In one of my classes today, we ran out of time before the final two slides were shown. Although I am confident you can get what you need from reading on Observational Learning, I thought I'd post them here you those students don't feel like they are at a disadvantage for having missed them going into tomorrow's test.

The two slides (plus title slide) are below, followed by a video clip hyperlinked in the first slide that shows footage of the model and one participant in Bandura's Bobo Doll study.

Below is the video clip demonstrating what was seen in Bandura's study: If children watch an adult model beating up the poor "Bobo Doll," they imitate the behavior. This research provided support for the idea that aggression can be learned through observation.

Study Resources for the Learning Unit

Hi all!

Preparing for your FRQ Test on Learning will require you to exhibit mastery of the three major approaches to learning: Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning, and Observational Learning. Because it is possible that you would be asked to write about ANY term, concept, or researcher from this unit, you may want to approach this topic differently than you have approached previous units.

Here's what I would do:
  1. Review the Learning Objectives for this unit. These are the things you would want to be prepared to discuss/describe/apply on the FRQ.
  2. To test for basic understanding of these concepts, you could start by trying the practice multiple choice questions you were given in class on Monday, or you could try these. Whichever ones you use, pay attention to which items you are answering correctly v. incorrectly. If you repeatedly miss items on, say, reinforcement schedules, that signals a need to review that content. (If you find need a quick review of some big ideas, see the links below or go to the "Study Resources" page of the blog).
  3. When you move on to vocabulary review on Quizlet, focus on generating EXAMPLES or APPLICATIONS of each term, idea, or person, since this is what you will be asked to do on the FRQ (in addition to knowing the definitions). A good use of Quizlet this unit would be to review the flashcards (term first), and WRITE the definition as best you can from memory, AND an accompanying example. If you can do this for every term in the set, you are probably ready for tomorrow's test.
  4. If possible, you should try to make the study session tonight, especially if you want to see examples of what the FRQ might look like tomorrow. Obviously, the practice questions we use will not be on the test, but you'll get a sense of what it feels like to try to apply these terms.
  5. Review the FRQ Writing Tips you received earlier this year. It is always good to remind yourself of what quality FRQ writing is (and is not), but it is especially important when the bulk of your score will be determined by the quality of your FRQ, as on this test.
Good luck with your preparation! Don't be afraid to ask questions (of me or of your peers)!

Other Helpful Study Resources for this Unit:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Study Resources for Developmental Psychology

Oh man! We've got challenges ahead on Developmental Psych test, so here are some resources for you to use as you rise to meet those challenges.

FIRST...be sure to review the unit objectives for Developmental Psych because they will provide you with an overview of what you will need to know for Tuesday's test. With so many theories, theorists, and developmental stages to remember (from both the book and in class), it is easy to "miss" a big idea just by forgetting to study that topic. If you can do all of the things on that list, you'll be in good shape.

(Note: you can always find the unit objectives for any course unit in two places: by clicking the "Unit Objectives" tab at the top of this page, and they are always printed on the last page of your study guide.)

  1. Make sure you've got your vocabulary down. Lots of terminology this unit that you will need to know how to apply to examples. Make Quizlet your friend. 
  2. If you haven't already, carefully go through your printed Study Guide (you picked it up after the quiz), treating it like a practice test. If you are getting all of these right, move on to more difficult challenges. If you are missing questions, look up the answers on the page numbers provided for you, or see me for an explanation.
  3. If you think you know all there is to know about developmental psych, try some more of these practice multiple choice questions. Or maybe these
  4. Come to the study session on Monday evening from 5-7 PM. We'll put your knowledge to the test and work through some practice FRQs.
Happy Studying! Let's start Second Quarter with a great first test performance!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Overview: Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

On Thursday in class we will be discussing and applying Kohlberg's ideas about how people develop in their moral thinking (FYI: moral thinking means "how we determine right and wrong"). In preparation, I'd like you to view the video below and add Kohlberg's three levels of moral development to your notes (if they are not already there from your textbook reading). You'll need to have these handy for an activity we will do in class.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Remind 101

New quarter, new gizmos! I've been meaning to try out this free one for some time, and I get the impression that some of my students will benefit as well. Remind 101 is a text messaging service that allows teachers to send messages to their classes while maintaining privacy for all parties involved. I never get your phone number, and you never get mine. But I can send you quick reminders about upcoming quizzes or assignments (and I promise to do so sparingly). Parents can subscribe, too, (though I would hope my AP Psych students are self-sufficient enough to manage their own coursework...some are better at this than others) because sometimes parents like to know what's going on, too.

Click here for a printable set of directions, or use the picture below. Regular text message rates apply, however, so if you're on a limited plan choose carefully. You can unsubscribe at any time. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Brain Food Contest

On Friday, Nov. 1, Psychology Club hosted its annual Brain Food Contest. Entrants were challenged to construct an edible representation of some aspect of neuroanatomy, with labeled component parts. Guest judges determined winners based on accuracy in labeling and creativity.

This year's judges were faced with some some very difficult choices. For starters, we had a whopping 43 different entries! Perhaps as a result, this year I got the most diverse range of top picks from judges that I have ever seen: there were so many great entries that votes were spread out among many different contenders. We ended up with a 3-way tie for 1st place, so those three top winners were recognized with certificates.

Congratulations to all of our participants! A great year for Brain Food!

Brandon & his watermelon brain
Reggie & her candy neuron
James & his neuron cake

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Study Resources for your Nature & Nurture Test

With your test on our Nature-Nurture Unit coming up on Monday, you'll want to devote some time this weekend to reviewing that material. There will be a guided study session on Sunday, October 27 from 5-7 PM, and you are welcome to join us for that. In addition, you might find the following resources, some of which we viewed in class, helpful:

And, of course, you'll want to be able to demonstrate mastery of this unit's vocab. Quizlet flashcards are embedded below for your convenience. Or, you can visit the set page for more review options. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Study Tools for Your Neuroscience Test

It's hard to believe, but your Neuro test is TOMORROW already! I apologize for not getting this posted earlier in the day. I could describe all the things that prevented me from doing so, but I'm guessing you'd rather just get to studying, so here goes.

Some helpful tools for reviewing tonight (in addition to the printed Study Guide you got in class:

Study Session is tonight from 5-7 PM! Hope to see you there. If not, good luck with your studies! I'll try to field questions with my Twitter account @Welle_APPsych after hours tonight, but I will be working on some of my own homework, so I can't guarantee instant responses.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mouse Party Assignment

Poor, addicted mouse...
For Monday, you will be completing an interactive demo on neural transmission and drugs, the Mouse Party demo. Of course, no extra credit for self-experimentation. If you lost your worksheet, here's a link to print a new one.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Link for PsychSim 5

You will need to use this link to access the PsychSim 5 Modules. When you arrive at the menu screen, click "Neural Messages."

If for some reason the graphics don't work for you, you can always try using the older version, PsychSim 4.0.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Study Resources for Your History & Methods Test

Whew! That unit flew by...and now students are preparing for their test on History/Approaches & Research Methods, which will happen on Monday, Sept. 30th. If you like, you are welcome to join us on Sunday, Sept. 29th at 5 PM, for organized review.

In addition, I've compiled some online study tools for you below.

Flashcard sets (2) for this unit are also embedded below! :) Happy studying!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Basic Psychological Statistics

Before you left class today, you should have received this practice worksheet that requires you to apply some statistics knowledge to hypothetical quiz scores. Your textbook does cover these topics, and many people have encountered them before in other classes, so I'm hoping for many of you this is a simply a matter of review.

However, because some of you might feel lost or in need of additional help, I'm embedding below a video that I made for last year's students regarding this topic. Be warned, I was cutting it close when I recorded this and you'll hear the bell ringing toward the end. However, it should clear up confusion regarding the various descriptive and inferential statistics you'll need to be familiar with for this unit.

Additionally, if you feel you want more practice matching correlational coefficients with scatterplots, here's the link to the website we used in class today.

Having troubles playing the video? If the player above doesn't work, try here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top 25 Assignment

On Tuesday, you will get directions for your Top 25 Assignment, which is due on Monday, September 23rd The purpose of the exercise is to get you introduced to some of the "big names" in psychology that you will be learning about over the course of this year. Because of their notoriety, you will be able to find most of what you need to know about these individuals (which, is not much...just a brief summary of their biggest accomplishments) with a quick Google search. But, since Google doesn't always lead a person to credible, scholarly information, below I've provided examples of some links that you may find helpful.
Admit that you could not be more stoked to learn about this stylin' crew.
Of course, given that you'll have a lot of time to be reviewing the photographs of this hip crew, we'll also be voting on Most Attractive Top 25 Psychologist on Friday. Choose carefully, as many of them have put a lot of thought into their outfits and accessories. 

Letters to the AP Psych Class of 2014

It was a pleasure meeting all of my students face-to-face, together, for the first time today. I very much appreciate your patience and cooperation in approaching the transition from one teacher to another. In order to help you get to know me (and my quirks), my students from last year have prepared letters of "advice" for you. Hopefully, their words will help you succeed throughout the rest of the class. Many of you are in the process of examining how you might change your study habits to master the material and earn the grades you want on tests, so this might give you some ideas.

You'll organize the advice you found into this Top 10 List, with the most emphasized piece of advice in the #1 spot. You were provided with a sampling of student responses in class, but if you would like to see ALL of the responses from the AP Psych class of 2013, you can find them here (organized alphabetically by last name).

We will be using your lists for an activity in class tomorrow, so put some thought into it! Also, you'll want to begin reading the Prologue and Ch. 1, as your reading quiz for that unit will come up fast (Monday, Sept. 23)!

Thanks for the great start today.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Study Tools for Your Memory Test

Throughout this unit, you have learned that there are good and bad strategies for remembering material you are trying to learn. It's time to put some of the good strategies into practice as you prepare for Friday's test! First up, remember to harness the spacing effect and spread out your studying over multiple sessions (ideally over multiple days, too).

One thing some students have found helpful in mastering the vocabulary for AP Psych is the Quizlet flashcard sets on this blog (see the "Study Resources" tab at the top of the page). While I'm sure you remember from Dr. Chew's videos that memorizing flashcards alone will likely not result in a perfect test score--you have to understand the concepts and how they relate to each other, not just memorize isolated facts--if the 54 terms you need to know for Friday seem like an intimidating list, you can use these flashcards to help you review.

Remember, the best types of studying require you to put your memory to the test, recalling items in the ways you will be asked to do so on the test. So, don't just read the flashcards and convince yourself, "I knew that!" Instead, see if you can identify the word or the definition BEFORE looking at the answer. You can also use other testing modes (including games) to increase your fluency. Even better? Encourage deep processing by  giving yourself an orienting task. Randomly pull 3 to 5 cards and ask yourself: How are these terms similar to each other? How are they different? Which will be most helpful to me as I prepare for this test?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Using Cognitive Science to Improve Your Study Strategies

If not today, soon you will be getting an assignment from your instructor that requires you to access this video series by Dr. Chew of Samford University. Due on Monday, this assignment requires you to view five short videos and to think about what research says about human memory and learning. Of course, you'll also be prompted to apply it to your own study habits.

I won't try to steal the show from Dr. Chew by describing everything in the videos here. However, I will tell you that, as an AP Psych teacher, I see students making the EXACT SAME mistakes that Dr. Chew describes in the video and suffering for them as well (in terms of grades, that is). The strategies that he proposes as alternatives are the same ones I would recommend to students, as they are research-supported. I hope by viewing the videos now you can put these into place before your first test, rather than waiting until afterwards to try to figure out what went wrong. Of course, as Dr. Chew points out, even if the first test doesn't turn out the best, there are good strategies you can harness to recover and improve from that point onward (but there are also ways to set yourself up for continued hardship...avoid those)!

Happy studying! - Mrs. Welle

Sunday, September 1, 2013

10 Tips for AP Parents

The start of the school year is upon us, and for parents of Advanced Placement (AP) students this means helping your children gear up for a challenging and exciting year of rigorous coursework. Whether new to the AP program or not, many parents of AP students wonder how best to support their students' efforts in order to promote success. This post will provide some suggestions.

We share this list of 10 Tips for AP Parents with families at our school's annual AP Night in January, and I think they provide a great framework for understanding the challenges unique to parents of AP students. Although some of the pieces of advice concern decisions made when registering for classes, which the timing of our yearly event is intended to address, they are worth reviewing at the start of the school year as well. I've detailed these tips below, and added my own experiences to the conversation.

  1. Park the Helicopter & Encourage Personal Responsibility
If your child is enrolling in an AP class, he or she should be ready to handle time management, organizational skills, and negotiations with teachers about most grade- and homework-related issues on his or her own. This sort of self-advocacy and responsibility for one’s own learning is necessary for college success, and it is learned through practice. Of course, AP teachers will be happy to meet with you if needed and to respond to your legitimate concerns just like other teachers. But before you pick up the phone or begin composing an email to solve a problem for your student, make sure he/she has attempted to solve it FIRST. College-bound juniors and seniors need to become comfortable approaching their instructors for the help that they need, and you can support that process by sitting on your hands for a while as your student troubleshoots and adjusts to the new workload.

You might be worried that letting your sometimes unreliable teenager manage on his own will result in a low grade (on a test or report card) that will doom his chances for future success in college, and this is understandable. However, if it is your constant intervention and monitoring is ultimately what ends up getting your child admitted to college, when he arrives there completely unprepared to manage his own time and to handle conflicts or setbacks independently, his adjustment will be far more painful than if it had been made years earlier in that AP class. So, please, trust the process! 

  1. It is Your Child’s Schedule, Not Yours
You may think an AP Biology course would be amazingly fun, and I’m sure it would be…for you. If your child could care less about biology then that is NOT the class for him/her. They will be the one doing all the assignments and readings, so their interests and goals should be the driving force in decision-making about which AP classes to take.

  1. Be Prepared for Considerable Homework, even during “Breaks”
AP courses require students to complete considerably more reading and homework outside of class than regular high school classes. They will likely have work every night. Because of the sheer amount of content being presented, it will not be uncommon for students to have work during “vacations” or “breaks”. Some classes have required summer reading assignments before the course even begins. Many classes offer open labs or study sessions on evenings or weekends, too. It probably goes without saying that if there is stuff to do even when school is not in session, being present when school is in session is absolutely necessary. Missing class in an AP course is just like missing a college class: you can get notes or try to "make-up" lost time, but it will be much harder to do well on tests regardless of your efforts to catch up. As a parent, you can ease the burden by avoiding scheduling vacations or unnecessary trips that force your student to miss class. Save those for scheduled breaks or for the summer time.

  1. Accept that a “B” or “C” is Not a Sign of Your Child’s Failure (or Your Own)
Of course, most AP students aim for A’s, which is an appropriate goal. However, because of the rigor of AP classes, former “A-students” often encounter their first B’s or C’s. Be sure to remind your student (and yourself) that a hard-earned ‘B’ probably represents more understanding and knowledge than an easy ‘A’ and is something to be proud of as well. Working hard, no matter what, should be encouraged.

  1. Budget for AP Exam Fees
Even though those AP Exam scores represent huge college savings in the long run, it can be quite a wallet-buster to pay for several AP exams all at once. Exam fees are usually due in February/March of the exam year, so have some funds set aside for that purpose.  If your student will be responsible for covering the cost, make sure he/she is aware of that before enrolling.

  1. Take Advantage of Financial Assistance Programs
Many schools have programs to cover costs of AP exam fees for students participating in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. If you are eligible for such assistance, use it.

  1. Push for Quality, not Quantity
It is better to take two AP classes and do well in them than to take six AP classes and do poorly while sacrificing sleep, nutrition and sanity. Each student has his/her own limit. Respect it.

  1. Be the Voice of Reason During Enrollment
After hearing about all of the course offerings in AP (and the numerous other exciting and challenging courses offered at Chi-Hi), your child might be tempted to bite off more than she can chew. She wants to be in Harmonics, Gymnastics, Student Council, LIFE Team, Marching Band, Track, get a job AND take five AP classes? Such a plan will likely end in disaster. Encourage your student to realistically account for the time it will take to succeed in an AP class (and other activities). Consider including a study hall in his/her schedule, especially if athletics or music activities factor heavily in their plans. Also, consider the value of that after-school job: if the purpose of it is to make money for college, weigh the potential earnings against the potential savings of passing a couple of AP classes.

  1. Encourage Adequate Nutrition & Sleep
Just as in any class, being alert and ready to learn is critical in AP classes. The whole year over this is true, but it is of heightened importance during “AP Week” – the two-week period in May during which exams are administered. Space out the studying and be sure to get enough shut-eye.

  1. Understand the Power of a 2
Brace yourself for the arrival of that score report in July. It could be a moment of jubilation—all those hours paid off in the form of a passing score—or a moment of disappointment if a goal is not met. However, even if your child’s considerable efforts do not result in a passing score, much has been gained. Even students who fail AP Exams benefit from the experience of a rigorous course and do better in college than their non-AP peers. They very likely learned a great deal, pushed their own limits, and will benefit in the long run.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welcome to AP Psych 2013-14!

For a printer-friendly version of this message, click here.
Greetings, AP Psychology Students and Parents!

We are now just a month away from the start of the school year, and I hope you are all getting ready for a fantastic experience in AP Psychology! I know I am.

We will have many exciting adventures together in psych class starting September 3, but there are a few things students can take care of before classes begin in order to get off to a smooth start in AP Psychology. Students should:

  • Plan to stop by the classroom (rm 136) and pick up your textbook during one of the times listed below. You will get directions on your first reading assignment (in preparation for your first quiz, which comes up quickly). Many students, whether they have taken an AP course before or not, need time to adjust to the pace and density of the reading load in AP Psych, so getting started before classes begin will help you ease into the process. And, you get to meet me, which is reward in and of itself! :)
Wednesday, August 14: 8AM– 4 PM
Saturday, August 17: 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday, August 18: 4 PM – 6 PM
Tuesday, August 20: 8AM –Noon

Please note that I will not be available to check out textbooks during the “Staff Work Days” August 27-29, as I am completing my internship (which should also explain the strange schedule of my availability). I do not know if my substitute will be available then, so don’t put this off assuming we will be around. If you absolutely cannot make it during any of the times listed above, email me at wellevk@chipfalls.k12.wi.usto set up a time so you don’t arrive to find a dark room & locked door.

  • As you complete your back-to-school shopping, be sure to obtain a 3-ring binder for use during this class. I do have a number of free binders that have been donated, and you may pick one up when you get your textbook if you like. You’ll need this because exams are cumulative and you will need to save most materials for studying for the AP exam in May. All former AP Psych students can attest to the necessity of the 3-ring binder! I’d recommend looking for one that is sturdy and at least 1½ -2 inches wide. (Three inches is excessive, though, and just takes up space in your backpack.)You will likely fill it up by May, which is the point. This may seem obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway: you’ll also need a notebook or loose-leaf paper (your choice) to go in the binder. This is where you’ll keep your notes.

  • Sign up for email updates from this course webpage (via the box on the top left of the page). If you regularly access your email, this will be a great way to stay on top of what is happening in class, as you will receive email notifications each time the blog is updated with links, assignments, or class news. Many parents have found this a helpful resource in the past.

  • “Like” us on Facebook if you are a regular Facebook user, or “Follow” us on Twitter if you Tweet: @Welle_APPsych. I post reminders about upcoming quizzes, deadlines, course links, and fun video links on this page. “Liking” it means those posts show up in your Newsfeed. However, I will not have access to your personal page (nor will you have access to mine) so we both preserve our privacy.
FYI: Please don’t take it personally, but as a general rule I don’t accept personal friend requests on FB from current Chi-Hi students or parents. Once you graduate, if you want to stay in contact, you are more than welcome to send a request to Mrs. Welle. Before then, it’s probably best to maintain some teacher-student (or teacher-parent) boundaries.

  • Consider ordering the textbook companion study guide. I will be posting more information about this resource as I update the website for this year. This is an OPTIONAL study guide that helps students focus their text readings, so the school does not provide copies. You can purchase them for ULTRA CHEAP on used book sites like half.com. Many students have found these very helpful; others develop their own reading strategies and do just fine without one. I’ll be happy to answer questions about the study guide (and have copies for display) when you pick up your textbook. The reason I mention it now is that it generally takes a while to ship, and the wait can be frustrating if you’re counting on using it to prepare for an important test.

Welcome to AP Psychology! I’m sure reading through this has got you thinking about what this class will be like, so please, bring any questions you have when you come to pick up your book. I hope to meet each of you during textbook pick-up and am looking forward to it!

Mrs. Welle
AP Psychology Teacher
Chippewa Falls Senior HS

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2013 AP Psych Exam Results for Chi-Hi

Hats off to the AP Psych class of 2013, who took no prisoners on this year's AP Psychology Examination! Like all of my students, I had to patiently wait for this year's scores to be released in early July, and I am just now getting around to sharing what I can about our aggregate results.

I will admit that having to be gone during the 4th quarter for my internship had me nervously fretting about whether my students were continuing their studies with due diligence. As it turns out, they did not disappoint. In fact, this year's AP Psych pass rates are the highest of any Chi-Hi AP Psych classes for which I have data available (FYI: I began teaching AP Psych during the 2005-06 school year and have records from as far back as 2003).

This chart is based on the data that I have available from previously released score reports. Note also that this chart does not reflect the raw numbers of students who passed the test. 
Some highlights:

  • 95% of this year's test takers (77 of 81) scored a 3 or higher. Scores of 3 and above are considered passing scores.
  • The average score for the group was 4.086
  • 34 students earned 5's, a top score on the test!
  • 75% of test takers (60 students) earned 4's or 5's!
  • Although, as a group, the class did better than the global average on the Multiple Choice section of the test (our group averaged 74 correct answers while the global mean was 66), where we really shined was the Free-Response Section. 58% of our students scored in the top quartile on the Free Response Section, with performance especially strong on Question 2, which concerned research methods.
While I know students sometimes claim luck in getting "good" questions--and this year's FRQs were "good" to us in the sense that they did not include terms and concepts not addressed in our text--these results reflect more than luck. They are evidence of a LOT of hard work from the AP Psych class of 2013, and that is to be commended.

These scores also set the bar high for next year's AP Psych classes, who will be picking up their textbooks in less than a month. I'm optimistic that they will rise to the challenge, and I'm anxious to join them once my internship ends in mid-September!

Congrats, AP Psych Class of 2013! Well done.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Online AP Scores

They're almost here!

Wisconsin AP students can access their AP Exam Scores during an early access period on July 6th (beginning at 5 AM). The early access window will close on Sunday, July 7th at 4:59 AM, so that students in other parts of the country can access their scores without the system crashing. Beginning July 8th, scores should be available again to all students.

You'll need to log in to the AP Score Website in order to find your results. You may have trouble if attempting to access early scores via a mobile device, as your network location must be verified in order to log in during your state's "window." Try a home or public wireless network if you encounter difficulty (or wait until July 8 when location no longer matters).

Good luck, everyone! Compiled reports for teachers are not available until July 10th, so I'll have to continue to patiently wait to see all my students' scores. But I'll be thinking of all of you over the next few days and hoping for awesome news!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer in AP Psych Land

Summer has gotten off to a great start for this AP Psych teacher, and today (while many of my students would probably gag at the thought of the upcoming school year, given our pleasant summer weather) I begin the long process of making plans for a great 2013-14 AP Psych experience!

Admittedly, it's early for me to be thinking about this. However, as many Chi-Hi folks know, my summers "off" have always involved a lot of planning and training for the upcoming school year, and this year my summer preparation time will have to be scheduled even more carefully. Since April 8th I have been on educational leave to complete an internship for my Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and this will continue until September 13th. Most of my hours during the work week will be occupied as I meet with clients and complete other required training experiences. So, my normal practice of camping out in my classroom for much of August has to be revised. Instead, I'll be gradually working on updating the calendar and lesson plans to reflect next year's syllabus over the next couple of months.

"Lucky" Table 13 celebrating the end of this year's Reading.
Also, I'll be keeping tabs on results from last year's AP Psych exam as they become available. This year I was again involved in the scoring of the Free-Response sections of the test, which involved an early June trip to Kansas City, MO, to join 380 other AP Psych teachers and professors of psychology in evaluating over 250,000 student exams. (For more info about this year's Reading, see this post from the THSP blog, which includes more pics of fabulous psych instructors, including yours truly.) My table (pictured at left) was one of three that ended up participating in the scoring of BOTH Q1 and Q2 (usually you are assigned to one for the whole week). So, even though it took more training, I can now boast expertise in both rubrics, which will be an asset as I help future students prepare for the test.

Individual scores for my (Wisconsin) students will be released July 6th (to students) via the online score report service. Reports for teachers will follow soon after (July 10th & 11th). Aggregate data about all test takers' performances was released just yesterday, in Trevor Packer's Twitter feed:

I like those odds, Chi-Hi. :) Especially as Mr. Packer (head of the AP for the College Board) noted that there were percentage increases in 3s, 4s, and 5s (passing scores) as compared to last year's test.

So, be prepared for some changes to the blog and some constant "construction" mess in the lesson plans and calendar features over the next couple of months. I'll also include updates about AP Exam scores as they become available. Even when class is not in session, there's never a dull moment in AP Psych.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Online Access to AP Exam Scores

This year, the College Board is transitioning to online score reporting for students. This system should have some distinct advantages, the main one being that students will be able to access their scores faster than in previous years. However, this means you will NOT get a printed score report in the mail. All students must access their scores online, and you need to set up a student account to do so. If you don't have regular Internet access at home, you'll want make plans for access--seek out a friend with Internet, visit a public library--for registration and for retrieving your scores in July.

Be sure to write down your username and password when you register, since you will need these later in July. The College Board recommends emailing these pieces of information to yourself, since you will always be able to look them up that way.

Basically, the process will work like this:

  1. Students set up online accounts
  2. Students then simply need to wait until an email arrives (at the address provided during registration) in early July, indicating their scores are available for viewing. See the 2013 Early Access Schedule. Wisconsin students will be able to view and send AP scores during an early "window" on July 6th; all score reports will be available for regular viewing by July 8th.
  3. When the email arrives, you'll need your account username and password that you created during registration, as well as your AP Number that you were provided during (pre)registration. (Remember those barcode stickers? Remember how your guidance counselor told you not to lose that number?)
For more information about online score access, visit AP Online Scores for Students

Friday, May 3, 2013

Online Resources for AP Psych Review

If you are the type that prefers to use online tools for your test preparation, you've got plenty of options in preparing for the AP Psych exam. You might find yourself gravitating toward "old reliables," like Quizlet flashcards, or perhaps you're looking for something new. Look no further.

However, keep in mind that at this point (with just days or hours remaining until the AP exam), you are looking to develop MASTERY of course content, not simple familiarity. Strategies that you used to develop familiarity with content when first presented with it are now best replaced with methods that put your understanding to the test by requiring you to recall or manipulate information in the same way you will be expected to on the AP Exam. For example, some research has suggested that simply re-reading text actually results in WORSE performance on tests because when you read something that is familiar, you may mistake that familiarity with true understanding and fail to adequately prepare.

That means, be cautious about simply reading chapter or topic summaries (for example, in an Exam Prep manual) or passively viewing a video, thinking to yourself, "Oh yeah. I know this," and then moving on. Those resources may be helpful for clarifying misunderstandings or as a reference ("What is the 3rd stage in Piaget's model of cognitive development? Oh here it is...") BUT, to find out how much you really know, PUT YOURSELF TO THE TEST. Here are some ways to do that:

Quizlet Links

You may have used these before for familiarity (just flipping through them?). This time, try using one of the study modes that forces you to commit to answer before revealing correctness: the "Learn," "Spacerace," and "Test" modes are good for that.

Remember, if you take a few minutes to sign up for a free account, you can combine different sets to create a more random review sequence!


Need a quick review of a difficult topic? Try some of these sites.

Mr. Schallhorn's Review Videos - YouTube videos that give you a quick, but accurate overview of some of psychology's most challenging topics.

Education Portal Academy - Brief lectures on almost every major topic in AP Psych, with quizzes to follow. Not as detailed as in class lectures, but PLENTY for those needing a difficult topic re-explained.


AP Psych Jeopardy - Play with up to five teams! (Requires Flashplayer)

Psychology Vocab Game - Challenging, timed vocabulary quiz. You can select the length depending on time available. FYI: Requires Flashplayer.

Famous Psychologists - Only 20 psychologists, but some fun interactive games. Good for beginners?

Jeopardy Reviews by Topic - Access this psychology course's home page and scroll down to find "Jeopardy Reviews for the AP Exam." These are Powerpoint files. Kudos to their creator (not me)!

Practice Questions

Online Practice Tests on Specific AP Psych Topics - some of these I have posted previously as we encountered them during the year. Good opportunities to return to difficult content and try again.

Previous FRQs - The College Board releases free-response questions from previous years, along with scoring rubrics and samples of student work. I'll have these available for viewing at our study session, but if you're working from home they're worth a look. 

Previously Released AP Psych Exams - Although these are only available in .pdf form (meaning there is no online or automatic scoring), this would be another opportunity to take a practice test. Keep in mind, these exams are OVER TEN YEARS old (that's why they are available to the public), so they may not be totally current in their content). However, you may find it a helpful challenge to take and score the 1999 or 1994 exams.

AP Psych Exam: Final Reminders

This Monday, you'll be taking the AP Psych Exam. Here's what Chippewa Falls AP Psych students need to know:
  • The exam begins at 12:00 at the National Guard Armory. (See Map below) Arrive a few minutes early, if possible, to locate your testing room, as there will likely be more than one testing room for this exam. (NOTE: Not all AP subject exams will be at this location. If you are taking a different subject AP exam later in the week, be sure you know where to go for that).
  • You will be excused 4th - 7th hours (release @ 11:12 AM).
  • Since there will be little time between the end of your 3rd hour class and the exam start, consider packing a LIGHT lunch to eat on the way/before the exam begins. However, you can't bring food into the exam rooms. You may pack a snack in your backpack, though.
  • You need to provide your own transportation to the test site. Arrange carpools ahead of time, if necessary. Don't wait until the last minute!
  • Be sure to practice a solid pre-test regimen: get plenty of sleep the night before, eat healthful meals, and of course, review your course materials!
  1. A couple of #2 pencils (for the MC part).
  2. A couple of pens (blue or black) for the F-R part. Be sure to have a couple in case one runs out of ink!
  3. A watch (that does not beep!), in case you are seated in a place where the clock is not easy to see.
  4. A sweatshirt? It's ideal to dress in layers so you can adjust if you're too hot/cold.
  1. Cellular phones, beepers, MP3 players, or personal data assistants (PDAs)
  2. Books, correction fluid, dictionaries, highlighters, or notes
  3. Scratch paper (notes can be made on portions of the exam booklets)
  4. Calculators
  5. Watches that beep or have an alarm
  6. Portable listening or recording devices (even with headphones) or photographic equipment
  7. Clothing with psych-related information on it (e.g. sorry, even Psych Club shirts are a no-no)
  8. Food or drinks
Good luck, everyone! You can do it!

Map to testing site:

View Larger Map

Monday, April 29, 2013

Motivation and Emotion Study Helps

This unit may have gone by quickly, but don't be fooled! There is a lot of terminology and theory to master when studying motivation and emotion. I've linked up below a number of video clips that you may find useful in reviewing  major unit concepts. You'll find the two flashcard sets for this unit embedded below as well.

Happy studying! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

One Week To Go!

Next Monday students will take the AP Psychology exam! It is hard to believe the year has gone by so quickly, but this means the next week will be devoted to some pretty important preparations.

Some reminders:
  • Your Motivation & Emotion test is Tuesday, April 30th. Finish strong on your LAST unit test! No study session the evening prior, as Mr. Leahy tells me there was little interest.
  • You will review in class Wednesday - Friday.
  • On Sunday, from 1-5 PM, I'll host your FINAL review session for AP Psych!
Since that last review is a pretty extensive one, I've created a guide for you to use in planning how you wish to spend that time. As always, you are invited to stay for as much of the session as you can, but are free to arrive and leave when you need to, for any reason.

Later this week I will be composing a post with a bunch of online review tools for students. There will be a computer lab available during the study session for students who wish to use them. Of course, by posting them early I also hope to let students use them at home over the course of the week, as needed.

Good luck this week! Hope to see you all soon!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

We're in the Home Stretch!

Having just wrapped up a weekend review session focused on Developmental Psych and Learning Theory, I can really feel that exam prep is "in the air" in the AP Psych room. However, with prom dominating most people's schedule's next weekend, our next major review session outside of class will be May 5th (1-5 PM)- only ONE DAY before the exam! I'm super excited to be planning this final practice session, and I promise there will be something for everyone (including cake?).

However, you've got some things coming up on your schedules before that, including some important events this week:
  • On Tuesday (4/23) during 2nd Hour, you'll complete your pre-registration paperwork for AP Testing. You'll also get all the info about testing locations, when to arrive, how to get there, etc.
  • On Wednesday (4/24), you'll take your LAST quiz, on Chapter 13 (Emotion). Hooray!
  • On Friday (4/26) your Emotion Theory Posters are due.
  • Your TEST for Motivation & Emotion (& Stress) is Tuesday, April 30.
Students complete practice AP Psych exams on 4/14/13. What a crew!
Now, there's no need to panic. You'll be doing some in-class review on May 1-3, and we may even be able to squeeze in a review session on Motivation & Emotion prior to your test (depends on my schedule at my internship site). You'll also continue to work on your 40 Day Packets and 200 Analogies Packets on your own.

Keep up the good work as you continue your preparations for the AP Psych exam! We're now only two short weeks away!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Study Resources for Your Social Psychology Test

Monday you will be taking your unit test on Social Psychology, so I hope you'll be planning on engaging in some review between now and test day. Especially given that we had a long and luxurious break in the middle of this unit, some refreshing of your memory will undoubtedly be necessary if you are hoping for an optimal performance.

But, NEVER FEAR! I'm including some review tools in this post for your convenience, and I also hope you'll take advantage of the review session scheduled for 5-7 PM on Sunday, April 7. You already received a study guide for this unit's test, but if you're looking for more....

Good luck, everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Phil Zimbardo Shifts Focus from Evil to Heroism

Having spent much of the past week in class detailing Social Psych research that illuminates situational factors that can lead to bad behavior, I was pleased to see this narrated Prezi by Phil Zimbardo, which details his journey from studying evil to studying and promoting heroism.

In it, Dr. Zimbardo describes landmark studies in Social Psychology, including his own Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram's classic obedience study. After outlining all the factors that research has suggested contribute to bad behavior, he describes his current project, the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Resources for Case Example Application: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

This week you will apply your knowledge of Psych Disorders and Treatment to create typed case reports for two individuals that you received information about last week. To complete the project you will need:
  • The directions for your project and the two case examples you received on Friday (note: different students received different subjects).
  • Access to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic codes. There are several places you can find these. You can navigate through this online version, use the full or abbreviated versions available in the classroom, or access the library's copy of the DSM-IV-TR during study hall. I also have guides for differential diagnosis in my room.
  • Access to information about treatment. Here, your textbook will be a good resource, as will the notes you take in class this week.
Diagnosis and treatment planning is obviously a skill that clinicians develop over years of practice, and you are in no way expected to demonstrate proficiency at that level. Your score will be determined based on the rationale (or evidence) you provide for your decisions about diagnosis and treatment options. Even trained professionals do not always agree on diagnostic and treatment decisions, so there is no "right" answer that I am looking for in each of these cases. However, some decisions are more defensible than others, so it is in your best interest to incorporate details from the case example in your rationale and defend your treatment decisions using information from the case and from what you have learned about treatment options.

I am including an example case and an accompanying case report based on that example for your convenience. This should give you an idea of how to format and organize your final product, though keep in mind you will complete TWO of these.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Brain Awareness Week Events

This year, Psychology Club is participating in Brain Awareness Week for the first time. The week is devoted to the celebration and promotion of neuroscience and is organized by the Society for Neuroscience, the Dana Foundation and Brainfacts.org. This year, Brain Awareness Week is March 11-17, so at today's Psych Club meeting, we finalized the details of some of our activities and events. They include:
  • Posting quick Brain Facts around the building on bright pink "brains."
  • Monday 3/11: Brain-themed music will be played during the lunch hour in the school cafeteria.
  • Tuesday 3/12: Demonstrations during the lunch hour: visual displacement goggles.
  • Wednesday 3/13: Brain-Related Team Trivia in Rm 136 during Lunch B!
  • Thursday 3/14: This is Pi Day...we're taking a break and eating pie with the math department. Brains like Pi and Pie, we figure.
  • Friday 3/15: Brain Cookies & Psych Club celebration in rm 136 during Lunch B.
Psych Club members create Brain Fact signs to be hung around the building during Brain Awareness Week.