|Abstract or Summary
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
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.
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