“Is this a good EE question?”

tdixon Assessment (IB), Extended Essay Leave a Comment

There’s only way way we should be answering this question, in my opinion. And the answer should always be… “Well, it depends.” Let’s first assume that the question in question addresses some kind of relationship between one or more variables and individual human behaviour (or mental processes). If it does this, it’s suitable for psychology. If not, it needs amending. …

Sample SARs: Memory Reliability

tdixon Assessment (IB), Cognitive Psychology, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

Here are two versions of the same sample answer from this year’s (May, 2017) IB Psychology exam. The question was: Describe one study investigating memory reliability. The annotated short answer response (SAR) shows you the answer, plus my comments as to why I think this is a mediocre response. Then we have this second excellent annotated example SAR, which does a better …

When the IB asks the wrong question…

tdixon Assessment (IB), Curriculum, Themantics Leave a Comment

In the most recent IB Psychology exam the wrong question has been asked. And I’m not talking about the “etic” question, either. I’m referring to the SAQ from the cognitive level of analysis: Describe one study investigating the reliability of one cognitive process. This is obviously the wrong question to ask and may result in poor student performance, unless you’ve trained your …

Why teach themantically?

tdixon Assessment (IB), Criminology, Curriculum, General Interest, Themantics Leave a Comment

Why teach thematically? If you think about it, teaching by the core approaches (or levels of analysis) in a linear way IS a thematic approach – the themes are biology, cognition and socio-culture, and then the themes are abnormal psych, health, etc. These themes tie together topics so by the end of the unit students have a broad conceptual understanding. …

Alternative Essay Rubric

tdixon Assessment (IB), Curriculum Leave a Comment

Here’s an alternative rubric that I use when marking my student’s work. At the core of the themantic approach to teaching is the recognition that learning moves from surface to deep learning. The three levels of learning (aka three levels of thinking) are descriptors that can lead to more objective marking and clearer feedback for students. These levels work at a …

Why we rarely use the word “prove” in psychology…

tdixon Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation 1 Comment

If you’re reading this it’s probably because your teacher has sent you here after you’ve gone and written something like, “this study proves that…” in your psychology writing. While you may be able to use the word “prove” in the natural sciences and other subjects, this post will help you to understand why as a psychologist you may never use this word …

So you want to assess ecological validity?

tdixon Assessment (IB), General Interest, Revision and Exam Preparation 11 Comments

If you’re reading this it’s probably because your teacher has sent you here after reading something in your essay along the lines of, “this experiment was a laboratory experiment and so it lacks ecological validity.” This throwaway sentence makes teachers and examiners groan (and not award you any marks, just so you know). So I’m here to help show you how to …

Biological Approach: Sample Exam Questions

tdixon Assessment (IB), Biological Psychology, Curriculum, Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

With the new curriculum and the loss of the LOs, many teachers may be wondering about what the exam questions will be like. The answer is: much like the old ones. If you look at all the topics in the biological approach they are all related to the understanding of how variables can influence behaviour. The exam questions will reflect …

Critical Thinking in the New Course

tdixon Assessment (IB), Revision and Exam Preparation Leave a Comment

The following is adapted from an extract in the introduction to IB Psychology: A Student’s Guide Critical Thinking The IB Psychology course is aimed at developing an understanding of relationships: relationships between variables, behaviour, ethics and research methods. But students also need to be able to develop the skills to go further than understanding and to be able to reflect critically upon …