PSICentre for Psychology Athabascau UniversityAthabasca University
myAU| Login

Student Evaluation

The final grade in Psychology 387 will be based on your performance on seven unit quizzes, one tutor-marked assignment and a final exam. Your performance on the quizzes will account for 42% of your final grade (seven quizzes at 6% each), your tutor-marked assignment will account for 8% of your grade, and your performance on the final exam will account for the remaining 50% of your grade.

The following is an explanation of each evaluation device:

Unit Quizzes

Once you have finished studying the material in a unit, go to the Psychology 387 website ( and select the Take a Quiz link in the left column. Fill in the required information, making sure to enter your student number and the name of your assigned course tutor (named in the tutor letter you received). You will then receive a quiz which should take less than one hour to complete. You have up to three hours to submit the quiz. If you take more than three hours to submit a quiz, it will not be accepted and you will have failed that form of the quiz. Ensure that you have enough uninterrupted time to complete and submit each quiz.

Each unit quiz will consist of two parts: a computer-marked portion and a tutor-marked portion. Each of the seven computer-marked quiz portions will contribute 4% of your overall course grade (28% of your overall course grade). Each of the seven tutor-marked quiz portions will contribute 2% of your course grade (14% of your overall course grade).

Computer-marked Portions

The computer-marked part of the quiz will consist of objective items (e.g., multiple-choice, true-false). After you have taken and submitted the quiz, you will receive a computer-generated grade by email, including both the items you answered correctly and those you answered incorrectly. If you receive a grade of less than 80% on this part of the quiz, you will be required to take a second quiz. If you fail to achieve a grade of 80% or more on your second try, you will be required to take a third quiz. If you do not achieve the 80% criterion on the third try, your grade for the unit quiz (computer-generated portion) will be that of your third attempt. After taking a quiz, you will be required to wait at least three hours before being permitted to attempt another quiz. Quizzes will be randomly generated from a bank of test questions, so your quiz questions will vary between attempts. Failing to achieve 80% or better on a unit quiz indicates that you need additional study, not simply another quiz. You are expected to restudy the unit material before making a second or third attempt at a quiz.

When you achieve a grade of 80% or more on the computer-marked part of the quiz or have made three attempts, you will proceed to the next unit. Once students achieve a score of 80% or more on the computer-marked portion of a unit quiz, they go on to the next unit and are not permitted to retake the passed unit in an effort to boost their unit quiz grade.

Tutor-marked Portions

Your initial unit quiz will include some questions requiring short answers that will be sent to your tutor for grading. The tutor-marked items will require you to write original examples of concepts and principles, explain how you would apply a concept or principle to solve a behavior problem, or apply critical-thinking skills to analyze or interpret course material. This tutor-marked part of the quiz will only be presented once; these questions will not appear on second and third quiz retakes. You will have only one attempt at the tutor-marked items in each unit. Your tutor will grade them, normally within two or three business days, and then send you your score via email.

Unit 5 Tutor-Marked Project

In Unit 5, one major emphasis is the procedures and methods involved in teaching concepts. For your project, you will be required to design a set of procedures and materials to effectively teach someone a concept or set of related concepts.

We wish to give you a wide range of options for both concepts and choice of learner populations for which your concept program is intended. For example, you could select a concept taught in one of your university courses and develop a conceptual exercise akin to the conceptual exercises included in this course. Should you choose this route, the learner population would be students who enroll in that course. (However, please do not select one of the concepts taught in Psychology 387, because we have already provided these for you and we would like to see instead some original work on your part.) If you are interested in teaching younger children, you may choose a concept appropriate for children of a given skill level, such as colour naming for a preschool population. Select a concept from a subject matter area that interests you, that you feel will be valuable to teach. You are encouraged to select your own concept, but check with your tutor to determine whether the concept is appropriate.

Here are some examples of concepts from outside the field of psychology:

  • irony or allegory in literature. (At times, teachers of English do not employ the principles of concept learning in teaching literary devices. Students may be expected to make rather complex conceptual discriminations after exposure to only a single example and no non-examples.)

  • metre in poetry. (Tennyson and his colleagues used concept programming to teach students iambic pentameter, one type of meter.)

  • Darwinian Evolution (versus Lamarckian Evolution).

  • elasticity of demand in economics.

  • matriarchal and patriarchal societies in anthropology.

  • blitzkrieg warfare.

  • Substance abuse disorders in psychiatry.

  • art deco in design.

Required Components of a Concept Program

  1. Concept definition and analysis of variable features

    Define the concept, specifying each critical feature.

    Specify the variable properties of the concept, especially those which are commonly correlated with the critical features.

  2. Teaching examples and non-examples

    Construct a set of examples and non-examples. Examples should contain all the critical features of the concept and non-examples should lack only a single critical feature. A variety of variable features should be present in both examples and non-examples.

    You may wish to use matched and divergent example/non-example pairs, as discussed in the text. (Note: In some cases use of matched pairs is unnecessary and excessively time-consuming. For these reasons, we have not used matched pairs in most of the conceptual exercises in this course.)

    The number of examples and non-examples you use should range from six to ten, depending on the number (and difficulty) of the critical features of your concept.

  3. Analysis of examples and non-examples: For each example or non-example you construct, you should include a brief explanation of why the illustration qualifies as an example or fails to do so based on the presence or absence of the critical features of the concept. These analysis statements would be presented to the learner with the illustrations or would follow student response to the illustrations (i.e., as feedback).

  4. Test items

    Construct a set of test items consisting of examples and non-examples of the concept you have taught. Also include an answer key for the test items.

    If the concept program has been properly designed and is appropriate for the learner’s skill level, learners should be able to achieve 90% mastery of the test items. The 10% error rate allows for minor inadequacies in both program design and learner response (e.g., lapses in attention). If a 100% mastery criterion were essential (e.g., as in teaching surgical procedures or nuclear power plant operation), the program and the conditions influencing the learner could be modified further.

    Contact your tutor if you have any difficulties with this assignment. You may take the final exam before this assignment is graded and returned to you.

The Final Exam

The final exam consists of a variety of question types including short-answer essay questions and multiple-choice questions. The key to success on the exam is learning the answers to the study questions. You will have up to three hours to complete the exam. The exam for Psychology 387 is a closed-book exam, meaning that you may not take any notes, textbooks, or other aids into the examination room. Please write legibly; an exam that is not legible will not be graded. Please be sure that you have satisfactorily completed all seven unit quizzes before you take the final exam. You must receive a grade of 50% or more on the final exam to pass the course. If you fail the final exam, you may study the material again and take a supplemental exam. Athabasca University regulations limit students to no more than one supplemental exam.

Note: With the course professor’s permission, students may opt to have the final exam serve as 92% of their course grade, with the Unit 5 tutor-marked assignment contributing the remaining 8%. This no-quiz option may be permitted, for example, to institutionalized individuals who do not have access to the Internet. To pursue this option, you must obtain permission from the course professor during your first month of enrolment in Psychology 387. Permission will not be given to students after this time.

Students in Psychology 387 will take the final course examination online. One month prior to writing the examination, you must complete and submit an Examination Request Form. If you plan to take the examination at the AU Learning Centre in Calgary, Edmonton, or Athabasca, contact the examination supervisor at the Learning Centre to book a time before submitting your examination request. Be sure to state that you are writing an online examination to ensure that the computer lab will be booked for you. If you are making arrangements with an examination invigilator outside of Calgary, Edmonton, or Athabasca, it is your responsibility to ensure a computer with an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher is available for your use.

When requesting your exam please ensure you have your invigilator’s email address.

Athabasca University, Canada Open University

© Copyright 1997-2014, Athabasca University. All rights reserved.
Page created by
Last Modified: Wednesday, 26-May-2010 14:42:34 MDT