The Introductory Psychology Census: A National Study


Nearly all undergraduate psychology programs in the United States (99%) offer an Introductory Psychology (IP) course (Norcross et al., 2016). Yet, there is a surprising dearth of information relating to the learning outcomes and course designs employed in IP, nor is information readily available regarding the training and support of those who teach it. Over the past 12 years, American Psychological Association (APA) working groups have made recommendations intended to strengthen IP but no empirical data are available concerning the efficacy or impact of those recommendations. This national census of IP instructors, conducted by APA’s Introductory Psychology Initiative (IPI), surveyed instructors of the course nationally to investigate how past IP recommendations have been implemented and to develop a baseline understanding of the current state and structure of the IP course. The census was structured in four parts, paralleling the four subgroups of the IPI: Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment; Course Models and Design; Teacher Training and Development; and Student Success and Transformation. We provide an overview of who teaches the course, how it is taught, how instructors’ teaching skills are developed and supported, and the extent to which evidence-based learning strategies are incorporated into the IP course.



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training, design, assessment, introductory psychology

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Journal Title

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology