Psy 361
For My Students | Admin/Research | Psychology | WKU 


This syllabus is a sample formatted for general information and to be accessible via the WWW. This sample is subject to modification for any particular semester although the general activities and requirements are likely to be similar. If you register for the course, you will receive the current version from the instructor.

Psychological Tests and Measurement (Psy 361)

3 credit hours. Semester Offered
Western Kentucky University, Location

Web Site Syllabus: All course information located on the websites, including policies, is subject to being changed until the first day of the semester. Check the date at the bottom of the website for currency.

“... life is not a multiple choice test, it's an open-book essay exam.”
--Alan Blinder (Princeton)

I provide a very detailed syllabus (20-some pages), built from past student questions. This essentially replaces the “first day of class” introduction. Please take the time to read it a few times. I think you’ll find most of what you need here but ask about anything that is unclear or for which you just need reassurance. The sections are
• Instructor Information
• Course Information (e.g., objectives, prerequisites, materials)
• Course Policies (e.g., “what ifs”; grading; assignment overview—participation, exams, project; deadlines; turning in papers)
• General Internet Policies

Instructor Information

Who is Your Instructor? Sally L. Kuhlenschmidt, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, licensed in Clinical Psychology. Director of faculty development center, the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET). I’ve been at WKU since 1986 in the Psychology Department, teaching upper level classes like Psychological Measurement, Behavior Modification, Abnormal Psychology, and Intellectual Assessment (grad level class). I enjoy photography and digital manipulation of photos, webpage creation, and my cat, Mocha. I’m also helping care for an aging parent, making frequent out of town trips. I have completed two certificate programs, online, from U Western Georgia, so I know what it is like to be an online student.

How to address me? I’m fine with “Sally,” but if you want a more formal title, then “Dr. K” is okay. I don’t care for either ‘Ms. K’ or ‘Mrs. K’. No need to say “Kuhlenschmidt” but I do provide an audio clip of my last name if you are curious.

Times. Any times mentioned throughout the term are for the Central Time Zone.

Phone. (270)745-6508; Office. A house at 1783 Chestnut (directions:; Fax. (270)745-6145 (but I find faxes often donít work.)

Address. 1783 Chestnut, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green, KY 42101

Campus Mailbox. I have a mailbox in Psychology but I only check it about once/week. You need to deliver any physical items to my office at FaCET, not my Psych box.

E-Mail. For the most certain response when E-mailing me, in the subject line type "Psy 361" and then a brief description of the topic, e.g., "Psy 361: Project." You are my top priority-- if I see your note. I can get 60 messages in a day but I scan for the Psy 361 subject line so don’t forget it! I respond quickly to E-mail. It is probably the fastest means of reaching me.

Office Hours. Monday 3:30-4:30, Wed 8-9. In practice I’m in my office much more than that. You can frequently reach me at my office in late afternoons/early evenings other than Friday. A meeting can be held face-to-face, using the phone, or via chat room. Appointments outside of my office hours are welcome. My administrative position sometimes prevents me from keeping designated hours as someone with a bigger title than mine may schedule a meeting for me. If you call and cannot reach me directly, please, please, please leave a phone number. I will track you down!
A note about weekends: I am usually available about every other weekend and am willing to meet with you on a weekend if you schedule in advance and show up!

Web Pages. My home page (
My Psychological Measurement links (
Blackboard Portal. (

Here’s what I will do for you (barring health emergencies)
• I will check my email and the Discussion Board at least every other day on weekdays and usually one of the weekend days or will let you know if I may be less available than usual.
• I’ll answer your questions via Discussion Board, phone, email, face-to-face, or carrier pigeon.
• I’ll prepare supplemental lectures and activities to illustrate the principles and help you to acquire these skills.
• I’ll grade materials within a week of receiving the final product for all the class (including exams).
• I’ll monitor assessment experiences so the playing field is even for all concerned.

What you must do/ What I won’t do
• I won’t digest the material for you (e.g., study guides). Learning comes from you messing enough with the information to acquire understanding, not mere knowing. If I hand it to you, I handicap you. I’ll happily answer questions because your formulating the question is part of your learning it. Questions can be over course content, how to learn more effectively, building confidence, setting goals—anything impacting the course.
• After providing a few reminders through the first month of the term, I’ll expect you to have a system for keeping track of activities.
• You have to tell me if there are points of confusion for you. I can’t read your mind or “online” facial expressions.

“Always be smarter than the people who hire you.”
Lena Horne, in interview, 1985

”Understanding tests and measurement concepts will make you smarter about the hiring process
than the person doing the hiring.”
Sally Kuhlenschmidt

Course Information

Section covers:
Description & Objectives
How to succeed/Prerequisites
Materials Needed

What does the course cover?

Catalog Description. The consideration of methodological, theoretical, and ethical problems involved in test construction and use. Topics which are covered include reliability, validity, predictive efficiency, structure of human abilities, achievement tests, and projective techniques.

This course fulfills a core psychology major requirement.

What will I learn in the course?

Course Objectives. Upon completion of this course you will
1. be able to make effective judgments about testing situations in your own lives.
2. be able to explain and use core methodological and theoretical concepts concerning psychological measurement (e.g., reliability and validity) to better deal with the tests you will face in life.
3. understand the similarities and differences among various types of psychological measurements (e.g., interest inventories vs IQ tests) and be able to identify tests you or your family encounter.
4. understand ethical and professional responsibilities (APA standards) in psychological test design and use and be able to identify inappropriate test practices.

Why is this material important?

Course Overview. Modern American society has developed hand in hand with psychological measurement. The average citizen is evaluated from birth through death by educators, employers, advertisers, pollsters, businesses, counselors, etc.

Every role that an individual might take on in life involves some type of evaluation of your work, formal or informal. You will likely be involved in performing evaluations on others, as parent, counselor, businessperson, etc. Like it or not, you are an assessor of others. You can become a better assessor by study.

This course is designed to provide the test-user and taker with the intellectual (and a few applied) skills to make appropriate decisions and to understand the actual (as opposed to media-hyped) strengths and limitations of psychological testing.
I hope you will explore and perhaps explode some assumptions you’ve had about various forms of psychological tests, from IQ tests to job interviews. I also hope you will enjoy the intellectual challenge of psychometrics—the guts that give to or take away meaning in any assessment effort.

Who is most likely to succeed in this course?

Persons who
1. have completed the prerequisites of Introductory Psychology (Psy 100), Statistics in Psychology (Psy 201), Experimental Psychology (Psy 210) and
2. are interested in understanding how we measure differences among people, how to do it well, and how to spot problems.
3. would like to become better at judging human behavior.

Successful on-line students are
• self-directed and mature as learners.
• They are methodical in doing assignments and in checking the course website.
• They are willing and even eager to participate in on-line discussions.
• They may feel like relative newcomers to the Internet (who doesn't?) but are willing to experiment to figure out how to make something work. I'm very patient with technology novices. Please visit/call me and I'll help you individually. I know shortcuts that can save you time.

On-line learners should NOT expect to be learning in isolation.

NOTICE: You must visit a testing center, in person, to take the course exams. They are not offered in your home. You will have a choice of several days for each exam and you will have advance notice of the dates. This procedure is at the request of past students.

This is a course offered in English to a North American audience. As an Internet-based course you must be able to find webpages on the Internet, to use E-mail, to create and save electronic documents, and to enter text in webpage forms.

The course fulfills a core requirement for the psychology major at WKU.

Students with disabilities who require accommodations (academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services) for this course must contact the Office for Student Disability Services, Garrett 101. The OFSDS telephone number is (270)745-5004 V/TDD. Please DO NOT request accommodations directly from the instructor without a letter of accommodation from the Office for Student Disability Services. (This is university policy).

For additional advising regarding this course, please contact me.

What materials do I need to succeed?

Required Text and Materials

  1. Murphy, K. & Davidshofer, C. (2005). Psychological Testing: Principles and applications, 6th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall. ISBN: 0-13-189172-3. Available at the WKU bookstore ( Or call 1-800-444-5155 or 270-745-2466. If you look elsewhere, make sure it is the 6th edition. It is expensive, but if you are going into psychology, will be a valuable reference for years.
  2. Additional required materials are available at the course website, including sample assignments and criteria for assignments. I oversupply information so you have many options and examples.
  3. Reliable Internet access is necessary. This means good access to a computer and software that are capable of handling basic websites. As a general principle, I use materials which are capable of being viewed on equipment that is 2-3 years old. If I ever make an exception to this principle it would be only for materials that are optional and I consider it my responsibility to help you get that material in some form if you want it. (It is your responsibility to inform me that you want it and to cooperate in scheduling a session to obtain it). While I keep things simple, relying on a phone modem will be painfully slow.

    Your browser version should be within 1 or 2 steps of the latest release (not including Beta versions). Persons with AOL may encounter some problems using the AOL browser and should use Mozilla or Internet Explorer. AOL has been known to dump you off the Internet if you work in another browser for long periods. Most keep an AOL window open and periodically hit a link just to let AOL know you are working.

    You need to be able to use E-mail, be willing to share your WKU email address with others, and access the Internet reliably and on an every other day basis. The latest browser version is recommended, preferably Mozilla or Internet Explorer. I usually work in Internet Explorer and on PC's so I tend to report directions for that environment.
  4. When I provide documents on-line, I'll provide them in rtf format so you'll need a word processor that can read rtf. Most word processors (Mac and PC) can do so. You will have to save the file before opening it with some program configurations. You will need to provide documents in rtf format.
  5. At the request of prior students, I will be providing some video lectures on the most challenging material. They are NOT required and you can pass the course without viewing them, however the visual learner may find them helpful. They are called “Tegrity” segments or video segments.

Course Policies

Section covers:
Other Policies

Knowledge is cumulative and integrated. Once material is covered, a student is expected to retain the information for later assignments, including exams. Tools to help you learn include text readings, “lecture,” discussion, a major project and exams.

What happens if bad weather or the like interrupts the usual class activities?

In the event of an emergency local to you (but not to me or vice versa) that results in loss of connection (a technology breakdown, typhoon, dust storm, hurricane, earthquake, etc.) do your best to contact me by any means once it is reasonable to do so (phones, fax, snail mail (snail mail means via postoffice)). Continue to make reasonable independent efforts toward course completion as per the syllabus. I do watch for news of the places in which my students are so I'm likely to be aware of the problem.

Arrange a back-up plan for Internet access in case your primary computer fails. Libraries may offer a terminal, for example. WKU tends to do maintenance tasks on the weekends so you may experience periodic outages. I'll tell you as soon as they tell me…which is usually 2 days before. Please act with all haste to fix your computer within 5 days. It has been my experience that computers which are nonfunctional for longer than that result in course failure. I’ve had people try to use a neighbor’s computer. That tends to destroy the relationship with the neighbor and doesn’t work for the course.

Please avoid viruses by using virus checking software, avoiding e-mails with "humorous" attachments, and avoid using thumb drives or floppies that have been used on public machines. If you don't know the sender, don't open it.

What are the Grading Policies for the course?

All activities are designed to satisfy the learning objectives of the course.

Before proceeding with the rules for the course, let me sincerely thank the many students who are conscientious and courteous while endeavoring to meet course obligations. Your efforts are noticed. It is you who make the work rewarding. Thank you for being there. Rules are necessary to establish an even playing ground for everyone in the class. Occasional individuals need more assistance in understanding rules.

I begin with the assumption that students are responsible for their own learning. It is of no benefit to you if the experiences are in my head and not yours. While I will make a reasonable effort to notify students in advance (e.g., in the course schedule), I assume students will review Assignments and Announcements without my having to remind them. I recommend visiting the course every other day. I can tell how often each student visits and typically provide you with your “hit rate” a few weeks into the term as well as the “average” hit rate so you can compare your activity to your classmates.

Students are also expected to actually be the person they represent themselves as being on all work. If not, this is grounds for failing the course.

How many points is each assignment worth?

Grades are calculated from point totals for the course using 10% cutoffs (e.g., 90% and above is an A). (Grading is NOT done on a curve. Everyone in the class could earn an A.) I will be using the traditional grading system (A, B, C, D, F).

  • Exam 1:
  • Exam 2:
  • Exam 3:
  • Final:
  • Participation:
  • Portfolio:
  •  50 points
  •  50 points
  • 100 points
  • 100 points
  • 50 point
  • 100 points


450 points

Notice the change in points from Exam 2 to 3. I give 2 initial half exams (1 and 2) to give you a chance to get used to my testing style.

What are the course assignments?

Assignments are devised to aid you in learning the key material and concepts, including application principles.

“A person who speaks cleverly is witty; one who asks questions is smart. “
-- Terry Carr

A. Participation.

__1. One-on-One Visit. I would enjoy the opportunity to meet you during the first two weeks of the term if you can come to Bowling Green easily. Please schedule an appointment to ensure I'll be present. (If you drop by and miss me, introduce yourself to my secretary, Stefanie Randol. I want her to know you all.) When you come by, I may take a snapshot of you to help me learn you. I will give you a copy you may use in your personal webpage within Blackboard, but I won't be posting them anywhere unless I have your permission.

If coming to Bowling Green is a burden, I would like to have a chance to meet you by phone--again, schedule a time by e-mail and I can call you, saving you a long distance charge.

__2. Discussion.
Purpose: The more you share and discuss on-line, the more you will enjoy the class. I expect interaction every few days, either with me or with other students. If the on-line student desires, face-to-face or telephone meetings are great.

Class participation provides the practice needed to learn any new behavior. If you ask questions, then ambiguous information is clarified for you and your classmates. If you are anxious about writing in the discussion board, talk with me.

For those who do "speak up" and contribute to the discussion for everyone to learn from, thank you. It is a very smart behavior. I review class participation in assigning final grades when a person is on the border. Ask your questions anytime in the discussion board. You make a commitment to the other students to contribute and help them as you are helped by their ideas and discussion. I consider the student-to-student relationship to be as important a part of learning as the instructor-student relationship.

Procedure: Each week begins Monday morning (1:00am) Central time and ends the following week at the same time.

Points: There are 15 weeks in the term (not counting Spring Break or Finals week). Each week you have a chance to earn 3 points. Three may not sound like much but it adds up to a letter grade. This cannot be "made up." Once time passes, you have lost the opportunity for those points.

Once during the term you’ll be required to post your answers to one of the cases I provide. I’ll assign cases so posts are evenly distributed through the term (but you can request a week). Your case answers are due on Monday Tuesday of the week of discussion so others can respond. Posing good questions on areas of the case that aren’t clear is acceptable. The more discussion you generate, the better. You can earn up to 5 points for your answers and then you can earn another 3 points that week for your contribution to discussion.

The first week of the term I’m just interested in getting everyone used to the discussion board and your assignments are more social. Getting credit is easy. From the 2nd week on I’ll expect more substantial contributions with the criteria gradually increasing as you adjust to the course. What’s “substantial”?

Scoring: Substantial means depth of contributions as well as the number of times you contribute. If you are demonstrating thoughtfulness about the material and genuine interaction with classmates on repeated occasions during the week, then you will earn the points. Scores are assigned based on whether you are either showing your learning or are helping others to learn?

Consider this an academic conversation lasting the whole term. If you are genuinely engaged (or genuinely puzzled) with the material, and post your issues/concerns or reply helpfully to others with issues, then you'll do fine. If you barely appear, are cursory, don't seem to have read anyone else's postings, or seem to be simply making the bare minimum effort at the last minute, then you won't earn credit. I post credit earned so you can keep track. Again, I’m more lenient early in the term but expect less sympathy for “last minute” or quickie posts as the term progresses, especially if you develop a pattern of doing that.

Sample Scoring of Postings.

No Credit or not pertinent for credit.

• "I agree."
• "Wow, that must have been really annoying!"
• "I'll check."
• “Thanks”
• "Visit" [These above are fine to do and viewed favorably as signs of sociability. They help if your final grade is on the border, but they don't reveal thoughtfulness about the course material and wouldn't earn "points."]
• "In my humble opinion, this situation is one that requires a lot of thought and expertise before an answer can be achieved. It is something the experts will debate for many years, no doubt." [However lengthy, there is no content in this posting.]
• What will the next exam be like? [You are welcome to use the discussion forums to ask about class process topics, or other needs (e.g., Anyone want to adopt a kitten?) but they aren't part of the conversation about Psychological Tests and Measurement (unless you make a specific connection.).]

Borderline Credit. [could easily be no credit depending on the total context]:

• "I agree. The theory you bring up is similar to Wechsler's original justification for his theory of intelligence (p. 100 text)." [Not enough information. On the other hand, does give a page in the text.]
• "Wow, that must have been really annoying! I once was trying to take a standardized test and the teacher started giving out the answers. I really question the validity of that measure." [Not clear if the person knows what validity is or is just using it because it sounds good there.]

Solid Credit.

• "Wow, that must have been really annoying! When I was in 3rd grade we were given a standardized test and the teacher started giving out the answers while we were taking the test. Since the test was supposed to tap a person's existing knowledge getting the answers would invalidate the whole thing because it wasn't our knowledge. The teacher should not have given all the correct answers. Someone looking at the results would have gotten suspicious if everyone got 100% since the tests are designed to have some very hard items that almost no one can get right." [a bit forced but does reveal that the person can think about how the material is applied.]
• "Visit this week (right hand side click on 'Exams in the News'). They have an entire section on the controversy of standardized testing in the public schools. I particularly liked the section by Smith on test construction. It helped me understand the section in our text (p. 140) about how hard it is to write test questions and how they have to be checked by several people." [Cites sources, mentioned specifics. Provides a brief review of why we should go and where.]
• [In response to a request for a definition of creativity] "I think that creativity is willingness to take risks. I have a friend who is a creative dressmaker and another who is a creative painter and they always shock me a little. I have another friend who can carve anything as long as he has a model- but he can't make up his own designs so I don't think he is creative. His work is always boring. I think this fits best with Gardner's model of intelligences, particularly the person who knows himself well (Intrapersonal). You have to know yourself in order to be different from everyone else." [Answers the question that was asked, not some other question, gives examples and connects to course material.]
• [In response to a question from another student about the difference between content and construct validity] "It's my understanding that content validity has to do with the items and whether they represent what is really out there but that construct validity has to do with the ideas behind the test. Like if you're taking a history test, does the content reflect all of history or just 1900s (content validity) versus what is "history" as a concept (construct validity). [Some more explanation would be helpful, but this just crosses into acceptable. If the original questioner were to reply with follow-up questions and you came back with more clarification, that would be perfect (assuming accuracy of the response.)]
• So I went to see a spy movie and that got me to thinking, how would you assess “spying” ability? What’s important? I thought about “sneakiness” but how can you validly measure that?

Tips for Discussion

Most weeks I will provide a particular on-line topic or activity to help you get started. Feel free to bring up your own issue from the reading or from daily life. That counts as an engaged contribution as does responding to the answers for the case of the week.

Conversations appear in "threads" in the discussion board. If the theme of the thread stays the same, you can reuse the prior subject line, but when you go in a new direction, please change the subject line of the posting to reflect the content of your message. Usually it is best to do this right before you submit it. Effective use of the subject line is an important digital age skill. It grabs readers or turns them off.

Think of me as a resource encyclopedia in this discussion. I will be watching the activity but will wait to answer to give students a chance to get in there and show your learning. This will give the class the opportunity to puzzle out the issue or to help each other-- that kind of active learning is the best way to retain information, particularly for students at a distance. If I see some misinformation, I'll let it stand a few days to give someone else the chance to correct it and earn their points. You can directly ask me a question in the discussion board and I’ll answer, usually within a day (say, "Dr. K" & topic in the subject line).

Composing Postings.

First, compose your response from your heart so it is clear and meaningful to you.

Then revise it with your head, adding more specifics or examples, so it is clear to the reader.

Some like to compose in a word processor and then copy and paste it into the discussion board. I don't expect perfect grammar or spelling for the required items, just understandable and relevant. If you can get a classmate to react to your ideas, that's great.

B. Exams.

Nature of Exams

Four examinations will be given. Notice that the value of the first two exams is lower. That is to give you experience with my style on a test that counts less. Don't let the third and fourth exams with greater weight surprise you.

Students are responsible for all material associated with the course, including information presented in the text, my on-line lessons, as well as discussion.

Exams consist of multiple choice items and some essays. We have a new version of Blackboard and I’m still learning the assessment options. If I use the BB assessment tool, I’ll give you some noncredit exercises using the testing software so you can get a “feel” for it before an exam in case you are new to Blackboard.

In the past I have used a random item pool for your exams. That would mean no two persons will have an identical test. I don’t yet know if I’ll do that as they are still training us. I will let you know before the exam.

Proctoring of Exams

Exams must be proctored at a testing center or by me. (Proctoring means certified testing personnel provide supervision of the test-taking situation). I have found that the quiet environment of the testing center is far superior to any home situation and that students can test with less stress.

You are responsible for scheduling your exam during the designated period. Instructions for arranging for a testing center are under the Syllabus button. Please be aware that you should schedule at least 2 weeks in advance to be assured a spot—that means scheduling by the end of the first week (to be safe) for our first short exam. (The 2 weeks gives you and the proctor time to work through any problems.)

You will have a three day period in which to take the exam (See Assignments for dates). Note that the weekdays may change from exam to exam.

The first time you schedule may seem challenging, but once you’ve done it you’ll see it is no more difficult than scheduling a suntan appointment. Last term it went smoothly for everyone who scheduled in advance. Do let me know of any problems you encounter with testing centers.

What if there's a power outage while I'm taking the exam?

Assuming you informed the WKU testing office, your proctor will have a print backup exam that you can take. I try to be more available during exam times and you should try and contact me immediately as well. Sometimes there are things I can do to help. Power outages are less common at Testing Centers which is why I prefer to use them.

How can I most effectively and efficiently study for your exam?

1. Don’t wait until the weekend before to read any of the chapters. This is junior/senior level material and it takes thought and reflection to grasp it. Stay on track with the schedule.

Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also. -- C.G. Jung

2. According to the research students are often unaware that they do not understand the material. The most important thing you can do for improving your grasp of any material is to

  1. read a paragraph,
  2. look away and quiz yourself,
  3. look back and see if you were correct.
eye glasses with eyes looking

Without self-correction learning is impossible, therefore step 3 is vital. If you have ever been shocked when looking at your score on an exam you now know why and how to prevent it in the future. More study tips can be found at my website for the course (listed above).

Basically, this is getting feedback on the accuracy of your perceptions about the material. Being active in discussion is another way to achieve this.

Regular attention to course materials is important or you can easily slip behind. As an on-line student you have to take personal time management very, very seriously. I recommend that you

1. select a time twice weekly to review materials and consider it equivalent to a regular class time, not to be changed or shortened. You may discover that your first times aren't working and need to try different ones.

2. record the times you worked in your calendar. You should expect about 9 hours per week on this class. (The 3 hours normally in a classroom plus the 3 hours of study for each hour in class). You can report your weekly time to me and I'll acknowledge your effort with praise and appreciation for your foresight and planning. Avoid waiting for huge blocks of time. 15 minutes of real study is worth more than an hour in which you are distracted. Bottom line: You have to put in quality time.

3. find an environment in which you can prevent interruptions for that period of time.

4. stop when the time is up. (Overworking will make you reluctant to pick up the books next time).

5. praise yourself for putting in the time, even if you feel not much was accomplished. First, learn how to set aside time, then learn how to make it productive. Sometimes trying for 15 minutes is better than staring at the wall for an hour.

What about missed exams?

Drive carefully, check your car tires, beg grandparents to stay healthy, get medicine at the first signs of ill health, set two alarm clocks but don't miss the exam dates. I don't give make-up exams. You have 3 days to get your exam done. I’m a stickler for due dates because otherwise your classmates who were on time are twiddling their thumbs waiting for their grades.

I sometimes hear complaints about this, that it isn't "fair."

However, providing a make-up exam is not fair to those who are ready on time and prepared and are tested under common conditions (e.g., the same point in the term). Each term there are students who forge ahead through burdens without asking for special dispensation. If someone asks for special treatment I owe it to the others in the class to expect a certain standard of life difficulty and a particular level of documentation. It is not a sign of distrust of an individual but of maintaining trust with the entire class.

There are 2 circumstances in which accommodation is made for missing an exam. What are those special circumstances?

1. A personally life-threatening emergency (includes fever over 100 or being shipped off by military). I expect appropriate documentation. I will discuss other options with the student. The following are NOT life-threatening emergencies: A spouse who is sick, your best friend's relative dies; a cold (no fever); a hangover; a trip to Bermuda; a wedding; a flat tire. Life is about making choices. They are not always easy choices. Having to make a difficult choice is part of being an adult, it is not a sign of being mistreated. I hope no one has to make these types of choices in this class. I am willing to listen to concerns but can’t promise help other than sympathy.

Business accepts as an excuse the deaths of grandparents, parents (includes step), children, or spouse with documentation so I'll follow the same model. Although I am very sympathetic I am not flexible about deaths in the immediate family unless you can bring me a newspaper obituary and funeral home card or confirmation from an established citizen, such as the minister, giving the date and time of the funeral and the relationship to you. The death of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. are not considered acceptable excuses. It would be impossible for me to judge the depth of relationships/trauma across all the students for those not listed above.

2. The university chooses to approve certain types of absences.

Grade accommodation. If you meet one of the above 2 conditions your grade on the missed test will be the average of your grades on the other exams. You must take the final exam to receive course credit. You can only use this process on one exam. If you do not meet one of the above conditions, your grade on the exam will be zero.

I have experimented with a variety of methods. I have found offering an alternative test to be unsatisfactory as the person is so distressed by the life stressor that they typically do very badly, compounding their pain. It works better for the student to put their effort into a later exam after they've had a chance to adjust to the trying circumstances.

The vast majority of the time students manage to take the exams and perform in a manner commensurate with their daily effort on the material. A crisis doesn’t disrupt the grade of someone who has kept up all along.

Some students report test anxiety. I offer a lecture in week one on coping with test anxiety. The WKU counseling center, or a psychologist near you, perhaps at a Community Mental Health Center, can also offer help. Fortunately, test anxiety is quite amenable to methodical intervention. You don’t need to suffer if you will practice and accept gradual improvement.

“Anything more dull and commonplace it wouldn't be easy to reproduce.”
-- The London Times, on Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

C. Course Portfolio.

Students will prepare a portfolio for 100 points.

It will consist of several short papers, a test project prepared during the term, and a summary paper. These parts will be submitted as you do them and then collected into a binder at the end of term which is your portfolio.

By the end of the term, most of the work will be completed so you will only have to spend some time pulling all the pieces together. You’ll have a heavier work load in the first half of the term and a lighter one in the second half.

I recommend starting a folder in which to keep the pieces. I ask for the final portfolio to be turned in as paper, not digitally, because some of what you will be doing isn’t easily transferred into digital format (e.g., working some formulas, drawing graphs, answering questionnaires.)

I recommend you print out your graded assignments as you go along and store them in the folder.

More detailed information regarding the contents will be made available in Blackboard under Assignments. Following are generic course policies regarding deadlines, plagiarism, and how to submit your work.

“Don't wait for something big to occur. Start where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you into something greater.”
-- Mary Manin Morrissey


One of the goals of a college education is to prepare you to behave as a professional and to be successful in the real world. Most students will behave responsibly and thoughtfully. Thank you, I appreciate you.

A significant portion of life success, particularly in today's society, rests on producing a good product on time. Timeliness is a hard skill to learn but worth the sacrifice. It is not fair to the students who are prompt to allow lateness without penalty. It is also not fair to the late individual to reinforce that lateness.

Materials due are to be handed in on the due date (see Assignments). You may always turn materials in early but get a signed note from me saying you did so. This simple precaution will protect you from my memory. Students are advised to keep a copy of their products. I require different submission procedures on different tasks. Be sure to read the directions.

Each day late (using the postmark as delivery date for mailed items) is an additional letter grade reduced. A product not given directly to me or submitted as directed is a product not officially delivered. For example, if you put it in my box or give it to a secretary and I never see it--you are obligated to produce another copy promptly and the late penalties are enforced. Please understand that I want to help you get it in on time and to me— For example, call me and I’ll talk you to my office/check your mailing address if it is to be physically delivered.

Check that you have all the pieces before turning it in. I provide checklists to help you.

In the event of a protracted emergency a good faith effort to be on time (e.g., a handwritten copy to show the work is basically done) is a very good idea. In the event that you just can't manage to get it in on time, do still give me a copy. I can give you feedback before the next piece is due even if that element doesn't earn credit.

How do I recognize and avoid academically dishonest behavior?

Material may be checked using plagiarism detection software or search engines.

There aren’t too many opportunities to plagiarize in my Psy 361 since most of your work is creative efforts of your own, however, just in case…

Plagiarism. Copying another person's work (in any form, including images, web pages, textbooks, etc., without giving credit is plagiarism. Copying the exact words and giving credit is still plagiarism unless you indicate which words are yours and which words are the other persons' by means of quotation marks. As a rule of thumb, do not copy more than three consecutive words. Rephrase any ideas into your own words. A copy machine can duplicate material. You are a scholar who must think about (rephrase) an idea to own it. Plagiarism will result in an F on the project. I check for plagiarism. I most often find copying the author's words without using quotation marks. The most common reason is that "the author expresses it better than I can." Your textbook author deserves quotation marks and, in papers, citation as well. You are doing the paper to learn how to express yourself well, not to copy. Rephrase, rephrase, rephrase.

Submission of Papers

How you submit a document depends on the task. Early in the term I ask for a variety of formats as a way of assuring you can use all the tools for submission, whether that is via U.S. mail, email, the Assignment tool, the discussion board or other. Sometimes I have to have a document in a particular format either so the grading system “works” in BB or because I need an actual signature on a print document. I always give instructions and, especially early in the term when you are learning, please ask if you are unsure what to do. I expect the occasional difficulty and will work through it with you if you notify me promptly.

How do I avoid pressing one of the professor's "hot buttons?" Use some permanent device, such as staples or a 3-ring notebook, to bind products.

Do not use paperclips or any similar clipping device.

Do not use plastic clip folders.

Do not expect me to provide staples. (That is, don't show up and ask for a stapler-- you can buy a mini stapler for very little and carry it with you.)

No Paper clips symbol

Why am I "hot" on this point? Because clipping devices fall off, creating a management problem and putting me in a foul mood for that paper. (By the way, this is true of many teachers). It seems fair to warn you. I downgrade papers that are not reasonably bound. I don't expect you to spend big bucks on a binding device, but I do expect you to be sufficiently proud of your product to want to present it reasonably.

This is a real world issue: think about your product from the recipients' point of view. Do that and you'll be successful in every job you undertake.

APA Style. Any written product is expected to conform to the standards set forth in the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association unless my directions indicate otherwise. Some helps are available on my web site (see address above). Again, there aren’t too many opportunities to use APA style but there are a few. Ask me if you are unsure of it.

Remember that the official format for submitting papers is rtf. I can read Word documents but do not send something in another format as I cannot read it. If you need help getting to a format I can read, call me when you are at your computer and we’ll work through the options.

General Internet Policies

Courses offered entirely on-line (aka Internet-based courses) require that students have reliable and regular access to the Internet. The Internet section is constructed with minimal face-to-face or synchronous meeting requirements. It does require proctored exams (arrangements made upon start of the semester). Most of the following points are common sense precautions but many of us haven't thought about them before, so I make them explicit.

A. Privacy Matters.

The Internet may change or challenge notions of what is private and what isn't. I prefer to provide disclosure up front so you know what the possibilities are. Although the course is protected by a password, such tools are not perfect as human beings are using them. You are relatively protected by the password but no one can guarantee privacy on-line. Privacy for every student depends on the actions of each individual student--sharing your password with a friend is violating the privacy of your classmates. Please don't do it.

• Disclosure: The course software I use enables me to know which students have logged in, where in the course site they have visited, and how long they have stayed. The technology support people have access to information posted at the site.

• Course Security: In the event you use a public terminal (e.g., at work in a computer lab or at a hotel or library) you need to completely close the browser software when you are finished. This will prevent another person from accessing the course using your identification, doing mischief in your name, and violating the privacy of other students. For extra security and to prevent the next person at the terminal from seeing what you looked at, empty the cache on the browser.

In Internet Explorer: Tools...Internet Options...General...[middle section of Temporary Internet Files]...Delete Files. It may take awhile if no one has done it before.

In Mozilla….Edit…Preferences….Advanced….Cache….Clear Cache

• Do not allow access to the course to those not registered in the course. This includes your spouse, child, boyfriend/girlfriend. You may trust them with your life, but your classmates don't know this person.

• Guard your password and change it regularly.

• Students sometimes want to discuss their grade via e-mail. E-mail is NOT secure or private. If an individual student requests his/her grade, I cannot reveal to that student his/her grade through e-mail without a legal signature from that student on a permission form. The course software does provide a way for you to check your grade on-line. I am cautious in discussing it in detail via email. I can say some things. When I feel it is too much, I'll call you. So ask what you need to ask. Just don't be surprised at a phone call.

• Participants are expected to represent their course identities in a truthful manner. Falsifying your identity is grounds for disciplinary action of all parties involved.

B. On-line discussion.

On-line discussion is generally looser and more free-flowing than face-to-face. I ask that everyone exercise a basic respect for one another. I do not worry about spelling and grammar in discussion boards but I do expect it in formal papers. I hope you will jump in with both feet and obtain the advantages of on-line interaction for yourself and your learning.

C. Intellectual Property.

It is a common misconception that material on the Internet is free. Even if a copyright notice is not present, work is the property of the creator. I expect you will post only material that is yours by right of creation unless you give proper credit and indications. The plagiarism policy applies on the Internet too.

Images, sounds and other multimedia are included in copyright law. (For example, professionally done photos as for high school yearbooks belong to the photographer. You only purchase copies.) It is common to receive E-mails with amusing articles or other materials. Be aware that it might be an illegal copy and exercise caution in forwarding it. It may also contain a virus.

On the plus side, ideas cannot be copyrighted, so you can share the most important part of a website as long as it is in your own words or interpretation. The laws protect what you produce as well.

Just in Case....

Special functions or Off-Campus Sites: Although I do not currently anticipate any trips, students may need or choose to make trips in partial fulfillment of the requirements of this course in order to meet program accreditation standards.

For the lawyers in the class, I get to decide the outcome of any loopholes in these rules. ;0)

Most students are conscientious and responsible. Thank you, I do appreciate and notice your effort and courtesies to me and to your classmates. I try to return the favor by providing a structure for a fair course where everyone has at least a similar, if not equal, chance.

"The above schedule and procedures in this course are subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances" (Altman, 1989).


Psy 361 Schedule (This is a sample calendar for a spring semester)

I try my best to avoid changing this schedule but circumstances sometimes force a change. I will try very hard to avoid this and will announce any changes on the Website announcements and in a class session. Chapters are from the textbook.Worksheets are at the end of the particular chapter.

Week ending Content Chapt Assignment Due
1/10 Intro & Overview

Test Anxiety

1 Metaphor 1/10;

1/17 MLK day. This week continue with readings. Visit on-line. 1,2,3 Work ahead and draft assignments due next week.
1/24 Society & Stats

(Appendix D is statistics review)

3, 4 Syllabus Homework Due

Scales Mt paper Due (2 pages)

Select partner/idea for Project



5, 6
Material not covered this week, will be covered next before the exam.
2/7 EXAM 1 Ch 1-4, 50 pts
2/14 Reliability finished; Validity 7, 8 In-class time to collect data. Bring 10 copies.
2/21 continued   Phase I Project Due
2/28 exam first

Validity continued


EXAM 2 ( Ch 5-8), 50 points

Item Analysis, Test Development

10, 11
Phase II Evaluation of Measure due. Read Ch 11 before writing.
3/13 Spring Break


Measuring Ability: Individuals & Group

12, 13
do the portfolio self-tests

Issues in Ability Testing


EXAM 3 (Ch. 9, 10, 11, 13, 14; review 7 & 8) 100 points

Personality Testing

17, 21


Clinical Assessment

22 Class begins at 6:30!!

Review App C
4/17 Interest Inventories 16 PORTFOLIO due 100 points
4/24 Final 6:00 pm 100 points

Psy 361
For My Students | Admin/Research | Psychology | WKU 

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Website created: June 1996. Page Created: August 28, 1999. Last modified: June 5, 2007.