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US: creating the best future for high school psychology education

In recognition of the importance of high school psychology as the start of the pipeline into the discipline, the first-ever American Psychological Association (APA) Summit on High School Psychology Education was held July 9-14, 2017, at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah (US). The mission of the summit was to create the best future for high school psychology education. A total of 72 psychology educators from high schools, community colleges and undergraduate psychology programs were selected to participate in the summit following an open call for participants.

During the summit, participants worked in eight separate working groups, each looking at an issue important in high school psychology education.  The working groups were: 

Psychology as Science
Skills That Promote Flourishing 
National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula 
Assessing Student Knowledge and Skills in Psychology 
Credentialing and Identifying the High School Psychology Teacher 
Ongoing Professional Development
Diversity and Access 
Technology and Online Learning

Each group was tasked with discussing their area of focus, producing teaching resources or other materials to support the mission of the summit, and making recommendations for specific audiences, such as teachers, administrators and APA.

Initial accounts of the summit, via participant evaluation forms and in-person feedback, indicate that the summit was a success. By the conclusion of the summit, the working groups put forward over 40 draft deliverables and over 40 recommendations for students, teachers, administrators, APA and other organizations, and the public. In the coming weeks and months, the Summit Steering Committee, APA staff, the APA Committee of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) and summit participants will work to prioritize and finalize the work that began at the summit. Summit outcomes will be broadly disseminated.  The December issue of the Psychology Teacher Network newsletter will focus on the summit.  The issue will be linked to this page when published.  

All high school psychology teachers are welcome to join APA/TOPSS, including teachers in Europe and elsewhere. Joining APA as a High School Teacher Affiliate automatically enrols teachers in TOPSS. New members can join online through the TOPSS website below.

APA Summit website, including videos from the opening remarks
and three keynote addresses


New APA infographic on trends in high school and undergraduate psychology


APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) website