Child Development 242 (01)
Theoretical Perspectives in Child Development
California State University, Sacramento
Fall, 2010







Class meetings


Required Reading






Additional Policies


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Course Description

An in-depth examination of physical, cognitive, and social development from infancy through adolescence. Content includes current developmental theory and research and the application of this research to educational and community settings, with special emphasis on the sociocultural context of development. The development of critical thinking skills and scholarly writing will be emphasized. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor permission.











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Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of current research and theory in human development/developmental science

  • Show an appreciation for multiple influences on human development, including biological, social and cultural factors

  • Be able to apply course content to educational and/or community settings

  • Demonstrate skills related to scholarly writing and oral presentation, including APA conventions

  • Be able to summarize, analyze and critically evaluate empirical research in human development

  • Be able to develop an integrated, well-organized literature review on a developmental topic









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Class Meetings



Class meets: Tues 5:00 - 7:50 p.m. Brighton Hall 209 

Instructor Office Hours: Tu: 12:00 - 1:00; Wed: 9:30 - 10:30 am and 2:00 - 3:00 pm (or by appointment) - Brighton Hall 232






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Required Reading

The following required texts are available at the University Bookstore:

1) Bornstein, M.H., & Lamb, ME. (Eds.) (2010). Developmental science: An advanced textbook.

2) Miller, P.H. (2010). Theories of developmental psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.

3) Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association (6th edition). (for use in all your Child Development courses).  

Additional supplementary readings are required.  Links for these readings and due dates for readings are listed on the course schedule. Please complete the assigned reading before Tuesday's class meeting. 












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The following assignments are required. Click on the green links for detailed handouts on these assignments.

1) Participation/Reading
Students are expected to attend each scheduled class and to have read the assigned reading beforehand in order to be ready to participate in class discussion. Part of the course will be set up in “seminar” format. Thus, we need (and want) everyone’s participation! Please bring your text and/or a copy of the assigned supplementary reading to class each week. In addition, you will need to develop at least two discussion questions based on assigned reading to serve as the basis for a portion of the class session. A grade will be assigned based on attendance, completion of discussion questions and participation in class discussion.

2) Response Papers
In place of formal exams, a short response paper, based on the assigned reading, will be assigned each week. Papers are 3-page essays responding to a question provided by the instructor. Students are required to complete 7 of the 12 essays with each response paper worth 20 points. In some cases, you will be asked to revise your essay to work on your writing skills. Please note: NO LATE RESPONSE PAPERS will be accepted and you must be present in class to submit a response paper. The first three response papers are required of all students.

3) Article Presentation
Each student is responsible for presenting a recent empirical article related to topics covered in class. Your 12-15 minute presentation will include a summary of the study (intro, method, results, discussion), as well as an evaluation of the study's method and/or conclusions. Topics and dates for presentations will be selected early in the semester.

4) Literature Review
Students are required to write a 10-15 page literature review on a developmental topic.  Intermediate steps of this assignments (topic, outline, references) will be due throughout the semester (see course schedule for due dates). I will read a (complete) early draft of your paper and give feedback on it if it is given to me no later than November 16th  (optional, but highly encouraged).  The final paper is due on or before December 14th (finals week). Late papers will not receive full credit (5% of total points will be deducted for each day late). Please be prepared to give a short presentation of your paper on the last day of class.












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Grades and Grading Policy

Grades are based on the percentage of points earned (out of a possible 320). Points are broken down in the following manner:



  40 points

  Response Papers  (7@ 20 points each) 

 140 points

  Article Review/presentation   40 points

  Literature Review

100 points

  320 points

Typically, 94% earns an ‘A’, 84% a ‘B’, and 75% a ‘C’, with ‘+” or ‘-’ grades achieved at intermediate points (e.g., A- at 90%). However, I reserve the right to adjust this scale as needed, based on student performance.











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Additional Policies 

1.   Students are expected to practice academic honesty in completing assignments and cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Academic dishonesty may result in an ‘F’ for the assignment and/or the course. If you have any questions about this policy, please see the instructor.  

2.   There will be no extra credit offered in this course. Extra credit is not necessary to earn an A in the course. 

3.   Please refrain from distracting behaviors during class time. This includes tardiness/leaving early, cell phone use, and non-course related conversation. If you bring a laptop to class to take notes, please refrain from surfing the internet/checking email during class time, as this is also distracting to students around you. 

4.   Incomplete ('I') grades are not assigned UNLESS there is a compelling reason to do so. An incomplete will be assigned ONLY with prior consultation and approval of instructor.

Please note:  I wish to include persons with disability in this course.  Please let me know if there are any accommodations I can make in curriculum, instruction, or assessment to facilitate your full participation.




Send problems, comments or suggestions to: Updated: August 15, 2010

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