Posted by Sam Dudek
Last week NZQA requested feedback for the review of Psychology's UE status. I was asked by colleagues in my school to summarise my thoughts around the question NZQA was considering in the review.
Will the proposed new subject (and standards) equip students with the skills and knowledge that would
-contribute substantially to a student's general ability to undertake a programme of degree-level study;
- provide a foundation fro study in a specific degree-level subject or discipline.
I started out by writing a list of the skills students had developed in the standards we covered and from there I was able to then identify how they prepared my students to undertake a programme of degree level study and then specifically a psychology degree level programme.
Below are my thoughts that will shape my submission Blue for the general degree level programme and purple for the psychology specific degree level programme
91872 Analyse the interaction between psychological approaches.
This standard teaches students the skills to not only interpret and understand complex theories and approaches. But, to apply that theory or approach to human behaviour to help; understand, explain and predict human behaviour. Students are able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of theories and approaches in reference to validity and reliability. Students delve a step further to identify how opposing theories and approaches can interact with each other and the impact this interaction has on society.
In reference to a psychology degree level program, this standard provides students with understanding of the key psychological approaches that will be used in the degree. Students are provided with a good firm historical context for psychology that leads them to current theory and research. Student are not only able to describe and apply the well used approaches but understand how they interact. It is the interaction between approaches that reflects current psychological practice.
91873 Analyse the significance of a key piece of research and its impact on society.
Students through this standard become familiar with journal article formats and are taught skills to interpret and comprehend the articles. Students use the information they have collected from journal articles to explain the impact the theory, research or approach has on society. In reference to the journal article, students critique the significance of theory and research including validity and reliability.
Students will be familiar with how to use psychology journal articles and will have a good foundation for the key terms used in journals. Students are able to move past taking the journals at face value and instead can critique them in term of significance. This will allow students to carefully select appropriate published work to use in their degree.
91874 Conduct independent psychological research with consultation
Students develop the skills to conduct independent research in a scientific manner. Our students write up their research in journal format and use APA referencing for sources they have used as background information. When writing the journal students learn to write all sections including; abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion and references. The students have to source the background information independently using a variety of sources such as websites, journal articles and textbooks, they also use this information to develop suitable hypotheses. Students have the knowledge to appropriately select the correct methodology to suit the investigation and are able to justify their choices. Once they have conducted their investigations all students analyse their results and interpret the descriptive and inferential statistics, to draw appropriate conclusions. Finally, student evaluate their investigation, critique the validity and reliability, reflect on the impact their results have on society and they identify the next steps in their research.
Students very early on in a psychology degree level program have to conduct investigations. Studying psychology at level 3 allows students to have the skills to independently conduct research and appropriately select the correct research methodology. At Tawa College we work out the statistics by hand and students learn how to select the correct statistical analysis, the correct probability level and learn how to interpret the results.This provides students with the ability to not only analyse their own results thoroughly but also to interpret the results provided in journal articles used in degree level psychology. Student will be able to write their results in the journal style that is required at degree level and use the compulsory APA referencing system.
91875 Analyse how theories are applied within a field of psychological practice.
Students develop the ability to take theory beyond the pages of text and apply them to working fields within society. Students are able to critique the effectiveness of the theory when in use in a specific field and finally students reflect and critique the impact the theory had on society.
Students can identify the different fields in psychology and are able to select and apply theory to practice in a specific field. Students are able to critique how psychological theory impacts different fields of practice. In a psychology degree level programme students choose their program according to the field they are interested in and potentially the career pathway they wish to follow. Having knowledge and understanding of fields will allow students to have a more informed choice over their pathway through the degree programme.
91876 Analyse a significant issue in psychological practice.
For this assessment students all write formal essays based on a statement that outlines an issue. Students need to decide whether they agree or disagree with the statement and provide a critique of the issue using knowledge they have gathered throughout the year. Students need to use evidence to support their critique and suggest ways that psychology could overcome the issue in the future. Issues such as culture bias, gender bias, validity and reliability, methodological issues etc, can be applied to a range of other university programmes.
Students understand a variety of issues in psychology and are able to identify the issues in research and theory understanding the impact on psychology. For degree level psychology this will allow student to critique theory and research according to the issues they raise and allow them to successfully identify theory and research that are more appropriate.