The UIS Psychology Department has established the following 16 undergraduate learning goals for psychology majors, based upon faculty review of the APA Task Force recommendations and current curriculum.
Upon successful completion of the program, psychology majors should be able to:
- describe the nature and historical development of psychology as a social science
- explain the behavioral, biological, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural perspectives within psychology
- demonstrate knowledge in selected content and applied areas of psychology (e.g., biological bases of behavior, clinical and counseling, cognition and learning, developmental, educational, or social)
- demonstrate an understanding of the APA Code of Ethics and describe relevant ethical issues within selected content areas
- describe different research methods used by psychologists
- recognize the proper application of descriptive and basic inferential statistical techniques for quantitative reasoning purposes
- use computers to conduct information searches and data analyses
- demonstrate informational competence by formulating a research topic, conducting a literature search, selecting valid and appropriate sources, and accurately summarizing selected literature
- differentiate between ethical and unethical uses of information
- evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of research reports
- demonstrate critical thinking about psychological information
- explain how psychological knowledge and techniques can be used to address personal and social issues
- demonstrate tolerance for ambiguity and an appreciation for the psychological complexities of real-life problems
- demonstrate effective writing and oral communication skills
- recognize the importance of human diversity markers and explain their relevance to the science and practice of psychology
- use knowledge of psychology and psychology-related careers to clarify and enhance personal career choices.
It should also be noted that the psychology curriculum includes particular courses, within the Educational Psychology concentration, that also meet a variety of content standards and learning goals established by the Illinois State Board of Education for students who are completing a minor in teacher education.
The Psychology Department has also developed assessment procedures and a plan for ongoing refinement that are consistent with the UIS Principles of Assessment of Student Academic Achievement. Student learning will be assessed using multiple methods. Knowledge within the discipline and written communication, critical thinking, and library research skills will be assessed at upper-division entry and exit points using an objective test. The test will be completed in the first semester of enrollment and again during PSY 471 Senior Seminar, in order to allow for pre-/posttest analyses of learning outcomes.
PSY 471 Senior Seminar focuses on student portfolio development and provide students with an integrative capstone experience. Psychology majors will be required to prepare a portfolio that reflects learning and skill competencies in several areas. Portfolios will include work products based on a series of written and oral assignments that have been developed to assess specific complex competencies. These competencies include the abilities needed
- to compare and contrast major psychological perspectives,
- to understand and critically evaluate psychological research,
- to organize numerical data and interpret fundamental statistical results,
- to apply and discuss ethical considerations, and
- to reflect on personal growth in the context of the values represented by psychology and the skills students have developed through their major coursework.
Sample portfolios will be collected from students who give permission to the Department to use their work for program assessment purposes. Students in PSY 471 Senior Seminar will also complete, anonymously, an exit survey assessing their perspectives on the academic advising, course scheduling, and various dimensions of the curriculum and quality of instruction.