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Introduction to Educational Psychology

Description of the Examination

The Introduction to Educational Psychology examination covers material that is usually taught in a one-semester undergraduate course in this subject. Emphasis is placed on principles of learning and cognition, teaching methods and classroom management, child growth and development, and evaluation and assessment of learning.

The examination contains approximately 100 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. 

Please note that the questions on the CLEP Introduction to Educational Psychology exam will continue to adhere to the terminology, criteria, and classifications referred to in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) until further notice.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was published in May 2014 with revisions to the criteria for the diagnosis and classifications of mental disorders. In the interest of fairness and to allow time for publishers to integrate such changes into pertinent sections of textbooks, the College Board has decided to align the tests with the DSM-IV-TR.

Knowledge and Skills Required

Questions on the Introduction to Educational Psychology examination require candidates to demonstrate one or more of the following abilities.

  • Knowledge and comprehension of basic facts, concepts, and principles
  • Association of ideas with given theoretical positions
  • Awareness of important influences on learning and instruction
  • Familiarity with research and statistical concepts and procedures
  • Ability to apply various concepts and theories as they apply to particular teaching situations and problems

The subject matter of the Introduction to Educational Psychology examination is drawn from the following topics. The percentages next to the main topics indicate the approximate percentage of exam questions on that topic.

Educational Aims and Philosophies

  • Lifelong learning
  • Moral/character development
  • Preparation for careers
  • Preparation for responsible citizenship
  • Socialization

Cognitive Perspective

  • Attention and perception
  • Memory
  • Complex cognitive processes (e.g., problem solving, transfer, conceptual change)
  • Applications of cognitive theory

Behavioral Perspective

  • Classical conditioning
  • Operant conditioning
  • Schedules of reinforcement
  • Applications of behavioral perspectives


  • Cognitive
  • Social
  • Moral
  • Gender identity/sex roles


  • Social-cognitive theories of motivation (e.g., attribution theory, expectancy-value theory, goal orientation theory, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, self-determination theory)
  • Learned helplessness
  • Teacher expectations/Pygmalion effect
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Applications of motivational theories

Individual Differences

  • Intelligence
  • Genetic and environmental influences
  • Exceptionalities in learning (e.g., giftedness, learning disabilities, behavior disorders)
  • Ability grouping and tracking


  • Classroom assessment (e.g., formative and summative evaluation, grading procedures)
  • Norm- and criterion-referenced tests
  • Test reliability and validity
  • Bias in testing
  • High-stakes assessment
  • Interpretation of test results (e.g., descriptive statistics, scaled scores)
  • Use and misuse of tests


  • Planning instruction for effective learning
  • Social constructivist pedagogy (e.g., scaffolding)
  • Cooperative/collaborative learning
  • Classroom management

Research Design and Analysis

  • Research design (e.g., longitudinal, experimental, case study, quasi-experimental)
  • Research methods (e.g., survey, observation, interview)
  • Interpretation of research (e.g., correlation versus causation, descriptive statistics)

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