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The following syllabus page is a three column layout with a header that contains a quicklinks jump menu and the search CSUN function. Page sections are identified with headers. The footer contains update, contact and emergency information.


Contact Information

Instructional Materials

  • Lightfoot, C., Cole, M., & Cole, S. R. (2013). The development of children (7th Ed.). Worth: New York, NY. [Note: you can use the 6th edition of the textbook as well as the 7th edition.  However, if you use the 5th edition, please see me as there were major changes to that edition and you may have difficulty mapping course materials to the book.]

Moodle is the online learning system adopted by CSUN. A student should be enrolled in the site after registering for the course.  I use the site for online quizzes and exams (below) and to maintain updated information about due dates, class meetings, lecture notes, and study guides, particularly in the case that things change.  I encourage you to pose any questions that are not of a personal nature via the discussion forums on Moodle rather than through email.

Important Notices

The descriptions on this web page are provided as a service to students who are considering enrolling in PSY313 with me so that they can see what the course will likely be like before they enroll and have access to the Moodle site. These are subject to change during any given semester.


Class Accommodations

If you seek any arrangements for special needs or disability, please let me know as soon as possible and contact The Center on Disabilities in 110 Bayramian Hall (677-2684).

  1. Center On Disabilities
  2. National Center On Deafness

Course Information Overview

Course Description

Course Catalog Entry

Analysis of the cultural, physical, social and emotional aspects of development from birth to adolescence. Emphasis on study of the processes underlying the acquisition and development of behavior throughout the developmental period. Normative behaviors for particular ages and developmental states are examined where appropriate. Includes evaluation of selected theories, contemporary issues and practical applications. 3 hours lecture-discussion.

Course Prerequisites

Prerequisite Alert

Prerequisites: PSY 250 and completion of the lower-division writing requirement. Recommended preparatory PSY 320/L.

Student Learning Objectives

This course is organized around three sets of goals. With regard to the specific content area of this course and for the Developmental Cluster in the major, as a student in this course, you will be expected to:

Because this is a psychology course within a school of social and behavioral sciences, you will be expected to draw from research as evidence to substantiate and evaluate claims made by yourself and others.

Because this is an undergraduate course, you will be expected to communicate clearly and synthesize and analyze relevant information, including effectively drawing information from both readings and lectures.


Typical Points Breakdown (subject to change in a given semester)
Assessment Points
Exams (5 exams, top 4 count, each worth 30 points)
Cumulative Portion of the Final Exam
Online quizzes (via Moodle)
Microthemes (essays: 2, each worth 10 points)
Total points
Letter grades are typically based on the following percentages. Cutoffs for specific numbers of points are subject to change from one semester to the next. Please see the official syllabus on Moodle for any given semester.


































Sample Assessment Details

Important note: the following descriptions are provided as a service to students who are considering enrolling in PSY313 with me so that they can see what the course will be like before they enroll and have access to the Moodle site. These are subject to change during any given semester.


There will be five exams.  The exams will be primarily non-cumulative, but will include some material from previous chapters to encourage you to engage in long-term learning as opposed to short-term memorization.  Exams will include multiple choice and short answer questions.  Any material covered in assigned readings or class meetings (including discussions/activities and videos) may be on the exam. The exam portion of your overall grade will be based on your best 4 exam scores.  If you miss one exam, there will be no make‐up exam, and your score will be based on the 4 exams that you take.  Make-up exams will only be offered in extremely rare circumstances, and when appropriate documentation can be provided.  I therefore strongly recommend that you take every exam.

Exams for this class are designed to assess conceptual understanding and not just recall of facts. Some people see these as “trick” or “tricky” questions.  I am not trying to trick you, but I am trying to determine whether you actually know the details or just the general ideas, or, vice versa to determine whether you know the underlying concepts and not just the separate facts.  I am specifically looking to ensure that you understand relationships between ideas and can recognize and generate general examples of key concepts and not just the facts themselves.  There will be no formal study sessions, but there will be reading/study guides posted to the Moodle site.  Be sure to use these reading/study guides to direct your study efforts.  If you would like ideas about how to study for conceptual understanding, please see me during office hours and I will be happy to provide suggestions. I have compiled a number of useful links to web sites that explain study strategies on our Moodle page.  Note that trying out new study strategies often takes time and practice before they pay off so I encourage you to see me earlier rather than later.


Keeping up with the reading facilitates better class meetings and allows us to do more with the time we have together in class.  Therefore, you will be required to complete online quizzes based on assigned readings BEFORE the lecture.  The first quiz will be extra credit so that you can become familiar with the format.  Most weeks you will have a quiz on the full chapter on Monday night.  You may use your notes and book for quizzes, but they will have a time limit of 15 minutes and you must complete your own work – do not work with anyone else to complete them.  Only the top 10 scores count.  Be sure to plan to set aside time to complete the reading in a timely manner.

Ongoing Engagement/Participation/Attendance (10 points)

I track attendance as well as completion of in-class activities and discussion.  If you regularly attend class and usually participate in activities, you will receive full points for attendance and participation.  You may miss 2 class sessions with no consequence, but for every class missed after that, 2 points will be deducted.  Absences will only be excused according to the university policy (e.g., for documented participation in a university event or religious observances). Please do not email me for other reasons to miss class, even highly legitimate ones.  I assign points for participation and attendance because regular presence in class can foster a community and aid students’ learning.  If you are not present, then that community does not emerge or you are not part of it even if your reasons are good. 

Similarly, you will have opportunities to participate in online and in-class activities.  These will include completing occasional online-activities, completing weekly quizzes, and bringing outlines for microthemes to class on designated days (see below).  You can miss 2 activities with no consequence. However, 2 points will be deducted from your participation points for every activity missed beyond those two. 

Microthemes (2 graded at 10 points each)

You will write a series of short papers that explore controversial ideas or debated perspectives on child-rearing.  Although you will be required to bring a microtheme to class for each day listed in the syllabus (counted as participation in class, with points deducted for missed microthemes), you do not need to hand in every microtheme to be graded/evaluated.

Although you will have opportunities to hand in multiple papers (you can choose which papers to hand in), two of these assignments will count toward your final grade.  If you hand in more than two papers, your best scores will count in your final grade.  If you only hand in two papers (which you are free to do), then both scores will count in your final grade.

Microthemes will be assessed for two things: (a) your use of accurate, factual information from the textbook; and (b) your use of details from course material to support an argument about what is best for children.  Each of these will be graded on a 5-point scale for a total of 10 points for each paper (you can access the rubric on the Moodle site).

Microthemes are meant to be informed answers to practical questions that are grounded in knowledge of research about child development are NOT meant to be simply your ideas and reflections.  In particular, these papers are an opportunity for you to learn how to think about the implications of child development research for decisions adults make that relate to children on controversial topics.  Practice using evidence to inform your decision making.  Practice critical thinking skills and relating ideas together to make a point.  A full list of possible topics is available via Moodle so that you can see them in advance and prepare.  Although short, these essays are complex and require thought and planning to be done well.

Lectures and Readings:

My lectures are not organized around “covering” the chapter.  Instead, I organize my lectures around helping students grasp concepts.  The lecture notes posted to Moodle are not a complete record of what is covered in class.  In fact, many of the key points of the lecture will NOT be in the lecture slides.  The lecture notes posted are meant to be an overview that you must fill in based on what you hear, think about, and discuss during class.  Some of the material from the chapters will not be covered in lectures, but if it is included on the Study Guide, you are still responsible for that material for exams.  I strongly encourage you to use a strategy to read effectively.  One example of a reading strategy is the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) that you can read more about at http://www.studygs.net/texred2.htm.  I also encourage you to make concept maps and take effective notes (e.g., see http://www.studygs.net/mapping/). 

Civility and Engagement with the Course:

In order to create a positive learning environment for all, we need to each make a conscious effort to behave respectfully to each other.  Here I will briefly outline some assumptions I make about you and what you can expect from me. 
I assume that you have made a choice to take this course and that you will take responsibility for your own behavior.  The following are some of the ways I expect you to do so.  You will read course materials carefully and thoroughly, including the course syllabus and assignment descriptions.  You will come to class prepared (which means that you have completed the reading, thought about it on your own, and prepared questions).  I expect that most weeks, coming prepared means spending about three hours of work outside of class for every credit-hour hour spent in class – for a three-credit course, you will be spending eight to nine hours outside of class every week. You will respect the time of your peers and your professor by arriving on time and staying for the duration of class time and by turning off any noisy devices like cell phones, pagers or watch alarms.  If you find it necessary to come late or leave early, you will enter making as little a disruption as possible by opening and closing doors quietly, sitting at the side of the classroom, not walking in front of a speaker if possible.
In return, you may expect from me that I will start and end on time, prepare as best as I can for each course session, follow the course plan carefully whenever possible, use our class time to focus on the topics of the course and to assist your learning, listen to your questions and respond whenever I can do so in a timely manner.  I will be available to help you if you can communicate to me that you need help.  You can find me during scheduled office hours, or at other times, by appointment.


Course Schedule

A full listing of the course schedule, activities, and assignments, and policies is provided in the course syllabus via moodle.