Statement from the Development Committee responsible for guiding the AP Psychology course

We, the AP Psychology Development Committee, are college and high school educators who bring decades of combined knowledge, training, and expertise to the development of the AP Psychology course and exam. We work to ensure the AP Psychology course is aligned with best practices for teaching and learning in introductory psychology and is developmentally appropriate for students and families choosing college-level work. We stand behind the AP Program in its commitment to “not modify courses to accommodate restrictions on teaching essential, college-level topics.” Further, we also believe that accommodating such restrictions “would break the fundamental promise of AP: colleges wouldn’t broadly accept that course for credit and that course wouldn’t prepare students for success in the discipline.” (AP Program, June 2023).

As a committee, we affirm that gender and sexual orientation are essential, longstanding, and foundational topics in the study of psychology. College-level introductory psychology students will encounter gender and sexual orientation as topics of study. Psychology graduates go on to pursue a range of careers and must be able to successfully navigate professional environments that will require familiarity with these concepts. To best prepare these students for college placement and careers in psychology, the topic on gender and sexual orientation will continue to be required in AP Psychology.

We are surprised that IB and AICE/Cambridge—after agreeing to Florida’s demand that they exclude all references to gender and sexual orientation—expect universities to accept their courses and exams for college credit. No experienced educator or practitioner in our field would support the decision to make these topics off limits. We challenge IB and Cambridge to identify the experts whom they consulted prior to deciding that a fundamental component of psychological development would now be banished from the classroom instruction they seek to promote.

Finally, we believe this deliberate exclusion amounts to a material change of AICE/Cambridge’s Psychology course that has historically been recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). It is our understanding that ACE will be asking its review panel to review this newly restrictive course.

Development Committee Members:

  • Kenneth Carter, PhD, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology, Oxford College of Emory University
  • Elliott Hammer, PhD, John LaFarge Professor in Social Justice, Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Gabriel Marquez, AP Psychology Teacher, Red Mountain High School (AZ)
  • Daria Schaffeld, AP Psychology Teacher, Prospect High School (IL)
  • Allison Shaver, AP Psychology Teacher, Plymouth High School (MA)
  • Gabrielle Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Texas Women’s University
  • Maria Vita, AP Psychology Teacher, Penn Manor High School (PA)
  • Jason Young, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Chair, Thomas Hunter Honors Program, CUNY – Hunter College