Jesse Knowles » AP Psychology Syllabus

AP Psychology Syllabus

Glynn Academy

                                 AP Psychology Course Syllabus (still needs some tweeking)


'Coach' Jesse Knowles

(912) 267-4210








AP Psychology is designed to serve those students who are interested in earning college credit at the high school level. You will be provided with a learning experience equivalent (ok, let's be honest, you're getting a lot more than a college class) to that of an introductory college course in Psychology.

You will be introduced (and subjected to my rantings and tangential storytelling) to the systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes of human beings and animals in context, the psychological principles, facts, research, terminology and phenomena associated with each of the major sub-fields within psychology, as well as in-depth knowledge of major figures, perspectives and experiments in the history of psychology.

Before you devote yourself to any task, particularly a demanding task, you need to ask, “Why am I doing this? Why is this worth my effort and my commitment?” In AP Psychology, the answer to those questions should become clear. They relate to the most interesting, exciting, and complex of all things worth knowing: the human being.

Questions, such as:

  1. What impels us to act?
  2. What happens when someone is “mentally ill”?
  3. How are fears created?
  4. How is my self-esteem developed?
  5. Does my brain control me or do I control it?
  6. How much of “me” was determined genetically before birth (or how much can I blame my behavior on my parents?), and how much was acquired by experience and learning (again, how much can I blame my behavior on my parents?)?
  7. Do I have the freedom and control of my behavior or do my psyche and environment control me (A question of convenience and opportunity)?

These and many other fascinating questions will frame the subject matter of this course.


The AP Psychology course is intended to provide the scope and level of academic accomplishment expected in a college introductory psychology course. Admission into this course depends on the student’s interest in the subject, as well as, his or her academic record. Many highly motivated students with less than outstanding academic records have successfully completed AP courses and obtained college credit.


Please understand from the onset a fact of paramount importance: the least important person in the classroom is the instructor. Acting as a college student, you are expected to “charge ahead” on your own, to seek, find, and internalize knowledge. In short, you must be the main agent in your educational process.


The instructor’s job is to facilitate your drive and accomplishment by structuring learning situations and selecting tools to help you attain your goals: a successful score on the AP Psychology exam, an enrichment of your life through the acquisition of psychological knowledge, and enjoyment of the course.


As your instructor, I will stress quality over quantity. I want you to love the subject not loathe it. Unfortunately, the material is voluminous and we have a short amount of time to accomplish our goals. So please take advantage of the opportunities afforded you to learn the material. It will make your goals easier to obtain.


As the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. You can stick its head in the water, but it still doesn't mean the horse is drinking" The second part I made up and could lead one to be charged with animal abuse. The point is: If you don't buy into your learning, it doesn't matter what I do.   





Synopsis of Course


AP Psychology is an entry-level college psychology course. It will serve two practical focuses. It is academic in orientation culminating with an AP exam in mid May. It is also functional in orientation allowing students opportunity to give personal application to the content of the course. Through the development of critical thinking, and upon the completion of the course, students will be able, but not limited, to: see AP Psychology Central standards



Materials / Supplies / Textbook Policy


·       Materials needed:

your brain, a healthy dose of motivation, a pen, pencil, paper, and a 3-ring binder to keep handouts, notes, research, experiments, quizzes and personal journals (responses to various topics, ideas, and personal insights).


Tentative Schedule


Proposed Course Outline 2020-2021 will be posted in classroom and online calendar.


Grading Policy


Grades are based primarily on completion of assignments. The even distribution of grading is to assist those who may be strong in one area of academics and not the other. Although this course is somewhat self-paced, weekly goals will be set and successful completion of those goals rewarded. Classroom attitude and attendance do affect academics. Effort, attitude, and cooperation CAN make a difference, positive or negative. Quality and quantity of computer work completed are both essential. Students who earn an "A" or a "B" in this course and pass the AP Exam will receive college credit as well.         


100-90    A         89-80   B         79-70   C         69-0     F




Course Assignments and Point Structure


The following assignments constitute the majority of the AP Psychology course. It is your responsibility to continually track these assignments and turn them in according to the proposed timeline. Failing to do so will have a negative impact on your grade. Current assignments will be posted during the week. These assignments will need to be recorded in your notebook.


  1. There may be two major research projects for this course. This depends on the tone, tenor, and expediency that we cover the information. No need to worry. These projects will not be doled out as some sort of academic punishment. Their purpose is to enhance the information we are learning as well as do activities that are not the norm for a classroom setting. 
  2. This is contingent on our current circumstances changing. In a group setting, select 3 experiments from the text (or inspired by) that are deemed feasible to perform and are approved by instructor (and administration, if applicable). You will create all necessary documentation for implementation and presentation, both at the site(s) of experimentation and in class for peer and instructor critique.
  •       Option: Select one of the major topics important to psychology from the list provided or from a teacher approved topic submitted by student. Final product will follow instructions for APA format writing techniques. The paper should be 8-10 pages, typed, double-spaced, and 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font. The due dates will be staggered. If you would like to submit your final paper earlier, please discuss with me when project assignment is presented.
            • There will be an extensive family tree project (more to follow) 
              • There will be a Rubric for each to assist you or your group to maximize points.
       3. * Web Research - each student is responsible to find one article from each chapter in the book                that reflects the topic of that chapter. A one paragraph summary of 350 words or more is to be                attached.
       4. AP Psychology Notebook - this is a collection of handouts (we call them FUNSHEETS),
  •           notes, quizzes, papers, and reflections. The notebook will be graded at each semester for 15% as a test grade. The notebook will need a table of contents and be labeled in the order given by instructor.
        5.Tests - one test per chapter (I hope) as well as frequent reading quizzes. Each test will reflect                the style of the AP Exam and will be timed. Chapter tests will consist of 50 multiple-choice                      questions and 1 free response essay.
          • If needed, Vocabulary and topic quizzes will be 10 to 15 questions covering your most current reading assignment, lecture topic or video.
        • A midterm and final will be given to assist in retention of previous learning. One of our missions is to perform well on the AP exam on May 7th. 
        • This class is highly interactive. There will be various written assignments and in and out of class activities. Come prepared to discuss and interact with classmates on the topic at hand. Points will be deducted for lack of response or engagement in the activity. Please come prepared to challenge your own thinking and self-discovery.


          • Exam/Projects                                                 60%
          • Class/home assignments/participation            20%
(Includes Web Research*/Journal/Notebook)                    
          • Final                                     20%


TAKE NOTE: I have requested that your final will be matched with your AP score. From a positive standpoint, if you make a 3 or higher I may make an adjustment to your final grade.


*Note: Will be submitted through



Make-up Policy


  1. I will only accept late work based on the policy of absences (One absent, one day to make up, two days......). 
  2. Make-up is only available for excused absences.  
  3. Please be sure to communicate about sickness or extended leaves. 
  4. It is your responsibility to submit your work on time, NOT the instructors. 
  5. Excused absences must come with a note from Ms. Murray in the front office. 
  6. The instructor (me) will NOT seek student out to complete missed assignments due to absences.


I realize everyone is entitled to a bad day (and sometimes a bad week.....ok a month or a pandemic). 

It may feel like this

I exempt one homework assignment and one test grade for just such an occasion. Obviously, if you have circumstances that are beyond the realm of normal, we can discuss. If I detect a pervasive pattern of behavior, then, we need to correct this as soon as possible. 


Homework Policy


Assignments are due according to the assignment schedule. Again, current assignments will be posted in classroom or on website. This course demands a lot of reading and note taking that will be useful in completing your assignments. Assignments are DUE on the due date.



I know.....Shocking.


With that being said, you should expect me to grade your work within 10 days or expect to receive full credit if it is not graded.


Simple Expectations


I expect each student to be in class with a positive mental attitude ready for the activities of the class.


General Policies and Procedures


  • Class Dismissal is done by the instructor NOT the bell. Please remain in your seat until the instructor dismisses you. If you place your book bag on and leave your seat before the bell has rung, you will be the last to leave.
  • Specific medical needs: please notify the school nurse with proper documentation. She will, in turn, notify school staff of your specific needs.
  • Cell Phones (or any electronic device): Unless told to do so, do not use them in class.
  • Personal Hygiene: As the name indicates, this should be done privately.  Ladies, please no make-up in this class, and both ladies and gentlemen, please do not brush hair in class. If these items must be taken out, please ask to go to the restroom. Collecting these items is not something I would look forward to so primp on your own time.

Do this before OR after class.

  • Positive learning environmentis necessary for students to absorb and retain information presented. Please allow your fellow students and yourself the opportunity to achieve this with behavior that is conducive to this type of environment. I invite all of us to follow the Behavior and Dress Code presented by the Glynn County School Board. This will be the policy I follow in maintaining the classroom environment to maximize your learning potential.
  • Speaking of which, Please follow the dress code. I will say something to you.


  • Respect for Diversity (and others in general) is essential in my class. I do not personally agree with everyone's ideas or values nor will you with mine, but I respect your right to hold those views and values. You can challenge ideas but you cannot attack the owners of those ideas. Treat others like you want to be treated. If you raise your voice to make your point, the less likely you will be heard. I like humor and will use it when appropriate. I do not know everyone’s story, but I want to also to be as sensitive as possible to any situation you are going through or have experienced that might “hit a little to close to home”. Please express to me if a topic is a sensitive issue for you (details not needed) and I can approach in a way that it can be taught without risking negative feelings. This will be a very open class, some of topic material IS sensitive, but let's make it safe to share for everyone.
  • Decorum. Let's talk about Yawning, chairs, and after eating behaviors.
  • Cheating. Don't do it. Trust is hard to win back. Doesn't mean we won't laugh or get along and all the other things that made life wonderful, but YOU will be thinking about it well after the semester has ended. Can be a life changer and yes sometimes for the better, but really, don't do it.
  • Stalking is creepy. This would be weird and hard to explain if I knew what happened to you after you left my class, barring some chance I bump into you during the day. With that being said........
  • Practicing the proper way to interact with adults, especially me, when you are not feeling it is a MUST. I have no idea what happened to after you left my class. If you have had a particular bad morning, previous evening, etc., pull me aside and tell me you are a little off your game (it happens to all of us) and I will do my best to insulate your experience for the day.
  • The phrase "I'm Confused" and other phrases of this ilk are completely banned from the classroom. There are so many other statements or phrases one can use to express the need for clarification. This statement only allows you to be helpless despite your gifts of intellect and can lead to problems in the future for you as an adult.