The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Mind games: AP Psychology gets a curriculum makeover

Photo by Ava Van Vuren
One of the current AP Psychology test preparation books for 2024 AP Psychology students lies on the desk of Kanav Kachoria. Future AP Psychology test preparation books will have to change their content to meet the new curriculum of the course issued by College Board, in future school years.

One thing most humans can agree on is that they do not like change. They prefer to know what to expect and what to do next. As WCHS students evolve and continue in their learning from grade to grade, they do not consider that their classes change with them. Yet, the College Board has decided to change AP Psychology’s curriculum, a class that has been around since 1992, for the next school year. 

“College Board is trying to meet the requests that students have more research skills,” WCHS AP Psychology teacher Jamie Frank said. “They want to align the course with college classes in psychology, such as Introduction to Psychology, [by reducing the course content]. I’ve talked to college professors and they say that we cover about nine of their courses into one class. They want students to be better prepared for college, where you have to do a lot more research.” 

After being an AP Psychology teacher for 14 years at WCHS and an AP grader for the Psychology exam, Frank understands what the College Board is looking for in its students. The new course will consist of five units instead of nine and will now focus on argumentation skills, research methods and data interpretation in the science practices. 

“I think it will be a harder course,” Frank said. “It will still be about learning vocab and making it applicable to life, but students will now develop the skills to analyze research. The course has changed from learning a little bit about a lot of information across 16 different topics, to a more in-depth learning with eight topics over five units.”

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What attracts students to the overall course of AP Psychology is its application to real life. Students who take the class are able to understand the processes of the brain and why humans think and act the way they do at a time when their own brains are still developing. 

“I don’t think I’ve used anything practically, but taking AP Psychology has made me more aware of the motivations behind my actions and thoughts,” WCHS junior Bria Hong said. “It has also allowed me to recognize patterns in other people’s behavior and link it back to things we’ve learned in psychology.” 

During this school year, Hong took the AP Psychology course and exam. After taking the AP Psychology exam on Thursday, May 9, she commented that it was helpful to have to memorize the course’s vocabulary for the exam and that she felt well-prepared for her free response questions. Although there will be less of a focus on vocabulary in the new AP Psychology curriculum, she feels that students should still be encouraged to take the class. 

“I’m sure that [the new curriculum] will be a little bit more difficult with all of the changes being made to the course,” Hong said. “[Nevertheless,] if someone is really interested in taking psychology, I don’t think that should influence their decision to take it.” 

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