University vs A-level. What's different? pt.1
I totally agree with you. It is totally insulting to Psychology teachers.
Students who have gone on to do Psychology at University after studying with me have contacted me to thank me for the solid grounding I have given them especially in Research Methods.
I completely agree with Juliet. Psychology is not just an entry platform for a Psychology degree, but for a great range of degrees and jobs. University departments seem to expect that an A level is perfectly dovetailed to all Psychology degree courses, otherwise it is no use at all. However A level Psychology includes at least as much on methodology, different approaches, synpotic issues and debates etc as other subjects do and there is a heavy weighting in mark schemes towards critical evaluation skills. I fail to see why this is not thought sufficient grounding for higher education in the subject.
Practical is also spelt incorrectly ('practicle'!)
I came to this site through an article in the BPS. As a teacher of A-level psychology I was pleased to find a resource, where my students can access university lectures for free. On listening to this lecture I was saddened to find the same myth being peddled about the usefulness of A-level psychology for a university degree (this myth has been around ever since A-level psychology was first offered in schools). Dr Morrison states that A-level psychology is not required for study at university - which suggests undergraduate providers still think they have to start from scratch even though A-level psychology is a standard A-level in pretty much all 6th forms and FE colleges, however this is not my main issue. It is when Dr Morrison says there are pros and cons to studying A-level psychology and doesn't list any pros, but goes on to imply that studying A-level psychology may actually be damaging to students because the two courses are so different that I begin to see red. Where, in our evidence based profession, is the finding that A-level harms students potential in the subject at degree level? Why does Dr Morrison suggest being a blank state is better? I would be very strange if university English departments discouraged prospective students from studying English literature at A level and yet this is the implication in this lecture. Furthermore, she claims that as practical work (note it is not spelt practicle as in podcast) is not assessed at A-level, students won’t have done it. What a ridiculous and unsubstantiated assertion – just because the coursework component was removed from the A-level, does not mean teachers stopped teaching it, or that students stopped doing it.
Finding a great resource designed to smooth the transition between A-level and University is marred by the ill-considered and incorrect assertions about the A-level psychology. I invite Dr Morrison to spend a day with me in my classes, so that she is better informed about what A-level psychology entails. Universities can’t keep ignoring A-level psychology or its teachers and isn’t it about time the undergraduate course was revised to take account the prior learning at A-level, rather than dismissing two years of hard-work and dedication from students and teachers.
Juliet O’Callaghan BSc 1st class, QTS, MA Ed – Head of psychology at Wootton Upper School
(Challenge is also spelt incorrectly in the podcast ‘challange’)
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