IB Psychology

  • Google Classroom: n31bjj

    Course Description 

    Psychology is the study of the mind, mental processes and behavior. This course is designed to introduce students to three different approaches to understanding human behavior: biological, cognitive and sociocultural. Students will examine the concepts, theories, research and notable scientists of these approaches and then compare, contrast and integrate them into a holistic approach. 

    Students will use the field of developmental psychology as a vehicle for their study of these approaches to behavior. Developmental psychology will also provide a context for students to explore the overarching issues of research and ethics. Students will study all aspects of the research process including design, implementation, and analysis and then utilize sound methods in their own research.  Students will also explore the ethical considerations of research and apply appropriate ethical standards to their own experimentation.

    Through this course, students will gain factual knowledge, but more importantly, they will develop the skills of careful reading, effective written and oral communication, critical thinking, academic research, ethical experimentation, and rigorous analysis. 

    Course Outline

    Developmental Psychology
    Students will study these approaches within the context of developmental psychology. Developmental psychology is the examination of how people’s mental processes and behaviors develop over time.  In particular, students will explore how people develop as learners, how people develop a sense of identity, and what factors influence cognitive and social development.

    Biological Approach
    The biological approach to behavior examines the brain and its components, hormones, pheromones, and genetics and their correlation to behavior.  

    Cognitive Approach
    The cognitive approach to behavior studies how people perceive, process, store and retrieve information as well as how emotional states influence these functions. 

    Sociocultural Approach
    The sociocultural approach to behavior evaluates the individual’s mental processes and behaviors within the group, asking how social and cultural factors impact people’s beliefs, identities, attitudes, and behaviors. 

    Research Methodology
    Throughout the course, students will be learning proper research methodology which includes four component parts:

    1. Research: research design, hypothesis, variables, sampling, standardization, and ethical considerations;
    2. Analysis: data presentation, statistical analysis, and content analysis;
    3. Evaluation: reliability, validity, credibility, and bias; and 
    4. Conclusion: correlation, causation, replication, generalization, transferability, and triangulation.

    Internal Assessment - Research, Experimentation, Analysis, Presentation
    Students will investigate a study, theory or model by conducting an experimental investigation and reporting the findings. Students will work as part of a group to plan and conduct the experiment. Once the data has been generated, students will work independently to write up their findings. The final product will be an 8-page report including an introduction, instructions, consent forms, exploration, data tables, notes, analysis, evaluation, and references.

    External Assessment - IB Paper 1 and Paper 2
    Students will be eligible to take the IB External Assessment on Friday, May 8th and Monday, May 11th.  Paper 1 consists of three short-answer questions on the core approaches to psychology and one essay from a choice of three questions on the biological, cognitive and sociocultural approaches to behavior.  Paper 2 consists of one essay from a choice of three questions about developmental psychology. 

    Class Expectations

    This course will move quickly yet deeply through complex information and theories.  In order to foster meaningful class discussions and prepare successfully for the IB assessments, students will need to complete readings and homework outside of class and come to class on time and fully-prepared each day.  Assignments, readings and handouts will be posted on Google classroom. Please let me know if you do not have access to a computer or internet service at home so we can make other arrangements. 

    Students will need to take notes on readings, lectures and discussions in a manner that allows them to prepare for my summative assessments and the IB assessments. I recommend taking notes on loose-leaf paper or in a composition notebook and using a 3-ring binder to organize your readings, handouts and notes.

    Grading Policy

    I will assess student work using a standards-based grading scale. Generally, the grading scale can be described as:

    1 - Beginning Skill/Content Mastery
    2 - Approaching Skill/Content Mastery
    3 - Achieving Skill/Content Mastery
    4 - Exceeding Skill/Content Mastery

    Your grade will consist of the following components: 

    60% Summative Assessments (Papers, Tests, Projects, Presentations)
    30% Formative Assessments (Homework, Quizzes)
    10% IB Learner Skills

    Using this standard-based grading scale and these components, I will post progress report, mid-term and final grades using these grade ranges:

    A 85-100%
    B 70-84.9%
    C 50-69.9%
    D 35-49.9%
    F Below 34.9%

    Do not wait until the end of the progress period to express dissatisfaction with your grades. Please check Q frequently and talk with me about any concerns.  I’m here to help you learn!

    Be Respectful - Be Responsible - Be Resilient - Be an Eagle!

    Students are expected to follow all Big Sky High School policies in this classroom.  In particular, please familiarize yourself with the school’s policies for attendance, academic honesty, cell phone use and appropriate conduct as explained in the Big Sky Student Handbook. I will enforce these policies uniformly and consistently.