Objectives, course content, and preparation of teachers for psychology classes in Oregon high schools Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6682x6492

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  • Problem The purpose of this investigation was to examine the status of high school psychology in the state of Oregon by comparing Oregon high school psychology with (1) general information from the literature, (2) information obtained from a survey of 130 high school psychology teachers in the United States, (3) information obtained from 31 psychologists known to be interested in high school psychology, and (4) information obtained from the Oregon State Department of Education. Procedure A questionnaire was developed, validated, and sent to 37 teachers of high school psychology in Oregon as identified by the Oregon State Department of Education. All teachers returned the questionnaire. Information from the questionnaire was compared with similar information from the literature, from 130 psychology teachers in the nation, from 31 psychologists, and from the Oregon State Department of Education. The Chi Square test was used to compare the differences between the Oregon teachers and the other groups. Since the information from the Oregon State Department of Education was not appropriate for the Chi Square test, the Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient was also computed for all the data. Finally, the data provided by the Oregon teachers were used to establish groups based on selected variables. Size of school, length of the course, experience of the teachers, other courses taught, and the future plans of the students were the variables used. Findings The results of the Spearman test show that the objectives stressed in high school psychology classes in Oregon are not like those stressed or considered to warrant emphasis by the three criterion groups. Considering the individual objectives, all three groups indicate that they would stress the Scientific objective to a significantly greater degree than the Oregon teachers do. Both the psychologists and the national teacher sample disagree with the emphasis placed by the Oregon teachers on the Learning, Family Living, and Philosophy of Life objectives. There is no area where all three criterion groups agree with the Oregon teachers. Only in the Individuality course content area do all three criterion groups agree with the emphasis by the Oregon teachers. Only in the Learning and Thinking area do all three groups disagree with the Oregon teachers. Although the psychologists and the national teacher sample indicate significantly more time should be spent in the Learning and Thinking area, the Oregon State Department of Education indicates that less time should be spent in this area than the Oregon teachers actually spend. Using the Spearman test, two of the criterion groups agree with the national teacher sample and the Oregon State Department of Education. Both of these groups are adequate predictors of the content of psychology as taught in Oregon while psychologists are not. Establishing certification requirements for teachers of high school psychology seems to be a very difficult task. Psychologists generally want to set the standards too high for psychology teachers to meet. The Oregon State Department of Education makes no effective statement concerning required preparation. Yet the Oregon teachers are generally prepared better than the average of psychology teachers in the United States. Comparing various groups of Oregon teachers to each other revealed very little difference in the content of the courses or the objectives for the course no matter what variables were used to divide the groups. Summary and Conclusions On the basis of the data collected, little similarity was found between the three criterion groups and the Oregon high school psychology teachers. The present study points to the necessity of more research on high school psychology, the need for more specific training, and the desirability of an organization of high school psychology teachers.
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