Psychology Curriculum Map
|Intent: Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it dictates and influences our behaviour, from communication and memory to thought and emotion. It’s about understanding what makes people tick and how this understanding can help us address many of the problems and issues in society today.
The A Level Psychology curriculum will offer an engaging and effective introduction to Psychology which will appeal to a cross-section of students, regardless of whether they have studied Psychology before. People seek the help and support of psychologists for all sorts of problems, and psychologists employ their knowledge and expertise to help in many areas of society. The curriculum will give students a strong foundation to pursue a career in the field. Knowledge and understanding of research methods, practical research skills and mathematical skills is a vital part of the Psychology curriculum and students will be given an opportunity to design and carry out their own research as well as practise analysis and interpreting data. They will also learn a variety of skills including analytical thinking, improved communication, problem solving and many more that will prepare them for an exciting future with the possibility of a range of fantastic careers. By the end of the course students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues within Psychology. They will be able apply psychological knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts and be able to analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods.
Topics like psychological approaches and research methods are at the center of this curriculum and based on these two are the rest of the topics such as psychopathology, social influence, memory, attachment, biopsychology, issues and debates, schizophrenia, gender and aggression. Over the course of two years, students repeat and refine their skill sets in order to produce coherent and convincing evaluations and writing supported by the exposure to increasingly challenging texts. Year 12 and 13 begins with an introduction of the assessment objectives and command words in order to familiarise them with the demands of an exam question as this helps the students into thinking about the importance of focus in planning, choosing relevant information and writing clearly.
We use the first two terms to discover and embed three key topics in Psychology, starting with developing the foundations of Psychology through the critical teaching of the six main approaches in Psychology and their comparisons.
Students look closely at theories and research studies in social Psychology that explain the processes of conformity and obedience on an individual and societal level. At the same time, they examine the key components of the experimental method, issues of ethics and validity in research, correlational design and meta−analysis.
They then go on to study developmental psychological research investigating the processes involved in the formation of attachment and the possible consequences of its abnormal development.
Alongside attachment students study non − experimental methods of research and methods of sampling and data analysis including through practical lessons.
The next two terms continue developing the foundations of Psychology through the teaching of the three more topics are then delivered. Firstly, the students investigate Psychological research into Memory, beginning by looking at models and types of memory and then focusing on explanations for forgetting and accuracy of eyewitness testimony.
Secondly, students begin the study of Psychopathology, examining the definitions of abnormality and then investigating Psychological research into the causes and treatments for Depression, phobias and Obsessive− Compulsive Disorder. This topic also requires the application of all the content learnt in approaches.
In the fifth and sixth term, students finish studying the Social influence and attachment. These two topics are co−taught alongside research methods in a carefully sequenced curriculum. This ensures each area of research is complemented by the relevant methodological understanding of how that research was conducted and how it can be evaluated. Maths skills will also be embedded in activities throughout the curriculum.
AS level BioPsychology topic is also covered
before revisiting more advanced year 2 content in research methods to prepare students for their end of year assessment. Students investigate further methods of conducting research in Psychology including case studies and new methods of analysing data such as content and thematic analysis. Validity or reliability are revisited and covered in greater detail and opportunities are provided to relate this to a variety of research scenarios.
Year 13 is launched in the final 3 weeks of the term where students learn how to report psychological investigations through practical lessons and a summer project. Students complete a full write up of a lab report over the summer which is a typical requirement of year 1 of a Psychology degree and prepares them for this transition. They also complete foundation work on issues and debates in Psychology over the summer preparing them for this topic and enhancing evaluation in extended writing.
At the start of year 13 students begin by reviewing the summer homework set for issues and debates and how this can be used to enhance evaluation in extended writing questions. Students then complete Biopsychology, the
final topic in paper 2.
This topic contains the most demanding content in terms of biological sciences. The focus is on the nervous and endocrine system, the brain and biological rhythms.
Students will have the opportunity to apply the new skills they have developed writing advanced evaluation. Students also complete the final content in research methods with a focus on inferential statistics. Maths will continue to be embedded.
Students finish off Issues and debates and then the final A level content with paper 3 topic (Schizophrenia). This topic covers diagnosis and classification of the disorder, explanations and treatments. Again, this topic draws upon prior knowledge in approaches and so memory platforms will be used to revisit these concepts.
Once feedback from the mocks has been completed, students begin the second topic in paper 3, Gender.
The topic Aggression draws upon prior knowledge in approaches and so memory platforms will be used
to revisit these concepts.
Term 5 & 6
In the final two terms all teaching of
new content has been completed. Students
will use the remaining time to revise all prior topics. Lessons will be spent re-teaching
and reassessing students on prior content from all three papers. This will include
weekly assessment of exam papers.
Content that focuses on areas of identified weakness in assessments will be retaught, as well as areas in which students lack
confidence and areas likely to emerge
in this year’s exam.
Students will be given practice exam questions
and regular tests that will
enable them to see what topics they
should focus their revision on.
Students will use their mock papers,
revision guides, QLAs, PLCs and
marked activities to revise key concepts, phrases and knowledge and try to
apply it to different exam questions
in lesson and outside of lesson.
During year 13, students have an extra 50 mins a week of intervention. The interventions focus on revision of year 12 material to make sure they are confident on these topics before their first set of assessment in October and then mocks in November/ December.
Memory platforms in lessons will also cover year 12 content. Students are assessed formally every two weeks.
To ensure students achieve their full potential in Psychology, they will be formatively assessed once a fortnight through written assessments that includes short questions, extended essays and research methods questions that will embed key elements of the mark schemes.
Students are given a memory platform at the start of each lesson. These are graded out of 4/6/10 and the score is recorded. Students are expected to achieve 60% in these or will be directed to review the topic to improve this score.
Data from assessments will then be used to target students and aim to enhance their development areas though re−teaching lessons and intervention.
Students data from assessments and mock exams will be analysed to highlight any areas for development e.g. short mark questions, extended writing or research methods or understanding of mathematical concepts.
Students will be set homework every lesson which requires them to revisit content from the lessons and practise assessment style questions. This ensures learning is extended further. All homework will be recorded on Google Classroom or handed in during lessons.