Course Syllabus for Psychology 212, Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Spring 2007 (Subject to Change)

Professor:        Dr. Mark A. Casteel, Associate Professor
Office:              Information Sciences & Technology Center, Room 210
Office Hours:    Monday and Wednesday, 1:00-2:45, other times by appointment
Phone:             771-4028 (office), 771-8404 (fax)


Textbook:      Infants, Children, and Adolescents ( 5th ed.), by Laura E. Berk

Click here to go to the textbook web site (location of the Practice Tests)

Course Objectives and General Comments

This course will provide an overview of the area of developmental psychology to the student who has already had a basic introduction to the field of psychology. Therefore, a grade of D or better in a college-level introductory psychology course is a prerequisite for enrollment in this course. During the semester, we will study the social, emotional, cognitive, and personality changes that occur in the developing individual from birth through adolescence. Because our in-class time is limited, it is impossible for me to introduce and discuss all of the important information from each chapter. As a result, it will be imperative for you read each reading assignment. I do expect you to come to class each morning having already read the assigned reading.


Your final grade will be based on the total points you accumulate from the following sources: (1) exams; (2) the major project; (3) attendance; (4) participation; and (5) possible extra activities. I discuss each of these sources below.

A. Exams. You will have five exams in the course. The tentative exam dates (subject to change) have been placed in bold type in the Course Outline on the last page of this syllabus. The fifth exam, which is the final exam, is NOT comprehensive and will only cover information from the final three chapters (chapters 14-16).  The exams will consist largely of multiple choice and matching questions although I will probably also use some essay questions. The exams will consist of questions from the textbook, lecture, class discussions, and any videos we watch. I will assign grades according to the percentage scale listed below under Final Grades.

B. On-line Quizzes (70 points possible). You will be responsible for taking the on-line Practice Tests for every chapter that we cover. The tests may be found on the website that accompanies our textbook.   When you go to this link the home page of the publisher’s web site that accompanies our textbook appears. You will see “Welcome” in a pull-down menu at the top of the page to the right of “Select Chapter.” You can select each chapter from this pull-down menu. For instance, when you select “Chapter 1" and then press “Go,” a new menu appears in the lefthand pane. You will find the Practice Test for Chapter 1 as the sixth choice in this menu. Click on this link and a Practice Test will appear.  You will need to take the Practice Test for each chapter, print off the first page of your results that shows your score (a % correct out of 20), and turn your score in to me on the last day we cover each chapter (see the Course Outline for the specific due dates). Each quiz is comprised of about 20 questions, and you will receive 5 points for each quiz on which you average 70% or better. You must work individually on these quizzes, but you may retake each quiz as many times as is necessary until you receive at least 70% correct. Please note that I may not remember to remind you that the quizzes are due so please record the due dates in your personal calendar. It  is your responsibility to know the Practice Test due dates. I will not accept quizzes later than 5 minutes after the class starts. Please note that I am not responsible for any email message you may send to me that I either do not receive or that arrives late.

C. Major Project. About 4-6 weeks into the course I will distribute specific guidelines on this course assignment.

D. Attendance (40 points). Attendance in this course is graded. Everyone will start with 40 attendance points. You are allowed to miss three class periods, for any reason at all, without penalty. Any absences more than three (for any reason) will result in the loss of two points per absence.

E. Participation (80 points). Class participation is an important component of this course. Sometimes, class discussion will be centered on material in the textbook while other times it may be on outside topics. I expect everyone to contribute, so if you are shy or introverted, you must push yourself in this area.

F. Possible Additional Activities.  From time to time, I may assign some additional in-class or homework assignments that will be graded. Additional information will be provided with each assignment. If you miss a class when one of these assignments is distributed, it is still your responsibility have the assignment completed by the due date and time. I

Final Grades

Final grades are calculated by summing all of the points you have accumulated in the course, and dividing this number by the total number of possible points. Grades are assigned using the grading scale below. For example, if you accumulate 863 out of 1000 possible points, you would have an 86.3%, or a B+.

92 - 100% of total possible points  = A          76 - 78.5% of total possible points = C+
89 - 91.5% of total possible points = A-         70 - 75.5% of total possible points = C
86 - 88.5% of total possible points = B+         60 - 69.5% of total possible points = D
82 - 85.5% of total possible points = B             0 - 59.5% of total possible points = F
79 - 81.5% of total possible points = B-

Course Policies

Cell phones: As I’m sure you are aware, when a cell phone rings in class it is highly distracting (and disrespectful) to everyone. Cell phones distract other students from learning, disrupt lectures, and create an environment in which events outside the classroom appear to be more important than those occurring inside the classroom -- precisely the kind of environment none of us wants or needs for our classes. Therefore, unless there are special extenuating circumstances that you have discussed with me in advance (i.e., a parent who has a sick child at home), all cell phones must be turned off (not just silenced) and stored out of view.

Make-Up Exams: The opportunity to make up a missed exam is a privilege, not a right, and wil only be considered in cases of extreme unforeseen events. In the case of a serious problem, you must contact me by telephone (not email) before the exam is given. I am generally in my office from 7:00-7:45 on exam days, so please call me during these times (if not before). If for some reason I do not answer the phone, please leave a message on my voice mail with a number where I can reach you. No make-ups will be allowed without contacting me before the time the exam is to be given.

Late Papers: As a general policy, I do not accept late papers. All written assignments are due at the start of class on their appropriate dates. Students who are ill on the day an assignment is due are still responsible for turning in their assignment by the start of class. You may either have a friend turn in the paper, email it to me, or fax the assignment to me at 771-8404.

Course Study Assistance

For study assistance, please visit our textbook's Companion Web Site. In addition to the Practice Tests, the web site also contains chapter objectives and flashcards to help you with your studying. This web site is organized around each chapter in the textbook; you simply select your chapter by selecting from the pull-down menu in the upper left-hand corner. There is also an excellent Learning Center on campus that I highly recommend. The Learning Center is in the lower level of the old Library and offers free tutoring services. The tutors are students like youselves that I have recommended as tutors because they did extremely well in this course and because they are very friendly. To take advantage of this free service, simply stop by the Learning Center and fill out a Tutor Request Form. It’s that easy!

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty violates the most fundamental values of an intellectual community and depreciates the achievements of the entire university community. As a result, I am strongly committed to assigning grades based on my students’ honest efforts on exams and other class assignments.  I am also strongly committed to ensuring that students who do honest work are not disadvantaged by students who cheat.  Academic dishonesty in any form, therefore, will not be tolerated in my classes. In the event that some form of academic dishonesty is encountered, it will be dealt with following Penn State's policy 49-20. Inappropriate actions include (but are not limited to) the following: cheating, helping another student to cheat, plagiarism, falsifying data or sources, having another student write a paper, or copying from another student's work. If I suspect academic dishonesty, I will confront you directly although this will typically be done in the privacy of my office. Sanctions for breaches of academic dishonesty will typically range from failing an assignment with a score of zero to failing the course, although more harsh sanctions exist for especially severe cases.

Please notice that one thing that is strictly forbidden using the above criteria is for students in the earlier 9:00 class who may finish an exam early to discuss aspects of the exam with students from the later 10:00 class. This would constitute cheating by both students, and will be considered a case of academic dishonesty. Although I will use alternate forms of the exams, I do not want
students sharing information.

Students With Disabilities. Penn State is committed to providing access to a quality education for all students, including those with documented disabilities. If a student has a disability and wishes an accommodation for a course, it is the student's responsibility to obtain a University letter confirming the disability and suggesting appropriate accommodation. This letter can be requested from the York campus Disability Contact Liaison, Dr. Cora Dzubak located at the Learning Center. Students are encouraged to request accommodation early in the semester so that, once identified, reasonable accommodation can be implemented in a timely manner.

Course Outline:  Click here for a pdf file of the day-to-day Couse Outline that includes the assigned textbook readings and due dates for exams and practice tests.