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Psychology


Psychology is the science of behaviour and experience. It is an expanding and challenging subject in the post-16 education sector. Universities increasingly see it as a valuable subject in both its own right and as a supporting subject. Students should develop as critical, scientific thinkers who are intellectually engaged with the world around them and well prepared for further study in any discipline at university level.  

The school follows the AQA A Level Specification.

The aim of the psychology department at Aston is to stimulate curiosity, enjoyment and interest in psychology and to inspire a passion for the subject and for learning to enable success in the subject. 


Staff:

  • Miss S Carter, Head of Department


Trips and Visits:

  • Masterclasses: these take place at local universities. They are usually a lecture-style session focusing on one aspect of psychology. Masterclasses have been attended by students at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, and Aston University. 
  • Revision Conferences run by Tutor 2U. 
  • Derren Brown, if he is touring! 
  • London trip: Science museum/Freud Museum/conferences. 
  • Psychological research conducted in school by local academic psychologists. 
  • Talks in school by psychologists. 
  • Conferences run by eminent psychologists.

Year 12

Summary of curriculum:  
Main topics:

In year 12, students will study:

  • Approaches in psychology, including the learning, cognitive and biological approaches. 
  • Research methods, including scientific processes and techniques of data handling and analysis. 
  • Social influence, including majority and minority influence, obedience and independent behaviour. 
  • Memory, including models of memory and eyewitness testimony. 
  • Attachment, including types of attachment, separations, and the effects of day care. 
  • Psychopathology, including definitions of abnormality; characteristics and treatments of phobias, depression and OCD. 
Assessment throughout the year:

Common Assessment Tasks (CATs):

These will be conducted and a grade will be provided for inclusion in databases to measure and monitor progress. Marking will be conducted using AQA mark schemes to ensure consistency with the exam board. There will be six across the two year course. These CATs will take place approximately once per term. The end of year 12 internal exam and the year 13 mock exam will count for two of these. 

In addition to these CATs, students will be set regular homeworks which will mostly consist of previous exam questions. At least two of these will be teacher-assessed per half term. The others may be self- or peer-assessed.  

How parents can support their son’s learning:

You could support your son by encouraging them to do the following: 

  • Look for opportunities to apply what they have learned in class to everyday life. 
  • Follow the advice given in their assessment feedback. 
  • Space their learning out – do not cram for assessments and exams at the last minute. 
  • Use active learning techniques that require them to think deeply about what they are learning. 
  • Complete questions from past exam papers for practice. 
  • Follow the school psychology Twitter feed to keep up to date with recent developments in psychology. 
  • Encourage them to use their notes when completing homework so that they focus on adding detail to their answers. 
  • Encourage them to use specialist psychological terminology. The exam board are very keen on this! 
Able and inspired opportunities:

Students can really stretch their learning by reading some of the articles published by The Psychologist, a publication by the British Psychological Society. Simply click the link and then search for any topic and relevant articles will be shown: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/ 

Students should also be using Seneca (an online learning platform) to really strengthen their knowledge across all areas of psychology:  https://www.senecalearning.com/ 

Useful websites:

https://www.bps.org.uk/ 

https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/ 

https://www.senecalearning.com/ 

https://studywise.co.uk/a-level-revision/psychology/ 

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/a-level/subjects/psychology/ 

https://www.tutor2u.net/psychology 

https://quizlet.com/en-gb 

 

Year 13

Summary of curriculum:  
Main topics:

In year 13, students will study: 

  • Biopsychology, including the structure of the brain, nervous system, scanning techniques and biological rhythms. 
  • Relationships, including the formation, maintenance and breakdown of relationships. 
  • Aggression, including biological explanations for aggression; social and evolutionary explanations and institutional aggression. 
  • Schizophrenia, including symptoms, explanations and treatments for schizophrenia. 
  • Issues and debates, including: gender v. culture; freewill v. determinism; nature v. nurture; holism v. reductionism; idiographic v. nomathetic; and the ethical implications of research. 
  • Research methods, including scientific processes and techniques of data handling, analysis and statistics. 
Assessment throughout the year:

CATs

These will be conducted and a grade will be provided for inclusion in databases to measure and monitor progress. Marking will be conducted using AQA mark schemes to ensure consistency with the exam board. There will be six across the two year course. These common will take place approximately one per term. The end of year 12 internal exam and the year 13 mock exam will count for two of these. 

In addition to these CATs, students will be set regular homeworks which will mostly consist of previous exam questions. At least two of these will be teacher assessed per half term. The others may be self or peer assessed. 

External assessment: three exam papers sat at the end of two years study. 

  • Paper 1: written exam; 2 hrs; 96 marks; 33.3% of A-level 
  • Paper 2: written exam; 2 hrs; 96 marks; 33.3% of A-level 
  • Paper 3: written exam; 2 hrs; 96 marks; 33.3% of A-level 
How parents can support their son’s learning:

You could support your son by encouraging them to do the following: 

  • Look for opportunities to apply what they have learned in everyday life. 
  • Follow the advice given in their assessment feedback. 
  • Space their learning out – do not cram for assessments and exams at the last minute. 
  • Use active learning techniques that require them to think deeply about what they are learning. 
  • Complete questions from past exam papers for practice. 
  • Follow the school psychology twitter feed to keep up to date with recent developments in psychology. 
  • Encourage them to use their notes when completing homework so that they focus on adding detail to their answers. 
  • Encourage them to use specialist psychological terminology. The exam board are very keen on this! 
Able and inspired opportunities:

Students can really stretch their learning by reading some of the articles published by The Psychologist, a publication by the British Psychological Society. Simply click the link and then search for any topic and relevant articles will be shown. https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/ 

Students should also be using Seneca (an online learning platform) to really strengthen their knowledge across all areas of psychology. https://www.senecalearning.com/ 

Useful websites:

https://www.bps.org.uk/ 

https://www.senecalearning.com/ 

https://studywise.co.uk/a-level-revision/psychology/ 

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/a-level/subjects/psychology/ 

https://www.tutor2u.net/psychology 

https://quizlet.com/en-gb