By: Robin Hailstorks, Ph.D., American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association (APA) has several resources for supporting quality teaching at all levels of the educational pipeline. I will focus primarily on resources for teaching at the undergraduate level. I will share several of these resources for your current and future use. There are two types of teaching aids that I will discuss in this blog post: policy documents and an assessment tool for enhancing teaching.
Perhaps the most important policy document I would like for you to be familiar with is the APA Guidelines for Undergraduate Psychology Majors: Version 2.0. (2013), herein Guidelines 2.0. This document presents five learning goals and outcomes for undergraduate psychology majors to achieve at both the foundational and bachelor’s levels. Although this policy document is aspirational, psychology teachers have the architecture to assist them with curriculum planning, teaching, and program review. As graduate students, this document is like a physician’s desk reference. Please be sure to have it readily available when planning to teach an existing or new course. Guidelines 2.0 outlines learning outcomes in a developmental framework that helps you think about appropriate teaching strategies to use in the classroom.
The APA Principles for Quality Undergraduate Education in Psychology (2011), herein Principles, is in its second iteration but and continues to be used as an important resource for teaching. Although the Principles address the roles of academic administrators and policy makers in making certain that quality teaching is at the forefront of undergraduate education, I would like to call your attention to Principle 2 in particular, which states, “Faculty strive to become scientist-educators who are knowledgeable about and use the science of learning.” This principle includes eight recommendations that are presented to ensure quality teaching.
Project Assessment is an online repository of assessments that are aligned with each of the five learning goals in Guidelines 2.0. This resource allows psychology teachers to access, evaluate, and contribute to a database of resources that are dynamic and evolving. I am encouraging you to log in to Project Assessment to preview this site and to use one or two of these assessment tools in your classroom when you can do so. I am also encouraging you to contribute to this site by evaluating an assessment tool that you have used in your class so we can learn about your experience with this tool. Ultimately, this resource will include evaluations of every assessment in this repository!
Collectively, these policy documents and teaching resources will help you prepare for a successful teaching career at the undergraduate level. However, I believe they also will assist you with your professional career regardless of whether you teach full-time or not. For example, if you aspire to become an academic administrator, Principle 4 provides recommendations for quality teaching and learning. If you decide to become a policy maker, Principle 5 will assist you in understanding the importance of psychological literacy for improving lives. Regardless of your career goals, I hope you find this post useful.
American Psychological Association. (2011). Principles for quality undergraduate education in psychology. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/education/undergrad/principles.aspx
American Psychological Association. (2013). APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major: Version 2.0. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/undergrad/index.aspx
Dr. Robin Hailstorks is Director of Precollege and Undergraduate Education, Education Directorate, American Psychological Association.