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Psychology Dept | Library | Other SPCL OER

SPCL 7900 Theories of Human Development: CONTACT / INFO

Open Educational Resource (OER) created for Professor Elizalde-Utnick's SPCL 7900 course.


Course: SPCL 7900, Sections T3 (21617) & ET6 (21818)
Credits: 3 + conference hours
Semester: Fall 2020 
Instructor: Graciela Elizalde-Utnick, Ph.D.

Class Time:  Section 21617: Tuesdays 3:40-6:10 p.m.

                                  Section 21818: Tuesdays @ 6:30-9:00 p.m.

Class will meet synchronously via Zoom; links will be posted on Blackboard.



Students are required to keep up to date on class readings and assignments, and to be active team members. Students are expected to participate actively in all aspects of the course, both the synchronous and asynchronous components, including posting on discussion boards. During the synchronous component, active participation entails working on skills important to counseling – active listening and participation in small- and large-group discussions. To foster active engagement during the synchronous sessions, all members of the class are expected to turn on their audio and video technology.

If students miss a class, they miss whatever their team did. The team process is critical to learning, and the content of each session will be reflected on the midterm and final exams. Most teams, in real life and here, will forgive a single absence for which students have a really good reason, and be less forgiving of multiple or casual absences. More than one absence and/or tardiness will affect the course grade (two points per absence and one point for lateness).

Attendance is taken at the beginning of class and it is expected that all students will be present at the start of class.  Brooklyn College abides to the state law regarding non-attendance because of religious beliefs, as expressed in page 53 of the student bulletin.

As cited in the bulletin (p. 53), New York State Education Law, Title I, Article 5, Section 224-a, declares that: “Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of his [or her] religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days shall, because of such absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.” In addition, “It shall be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school, because of his [or her] religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirements which he [or she] may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days… No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his [or her] availing himself [or herself] of the provisions of this section.”

If you are unable to attend class in any occasion for religious reasons, please notify me in advance to make the necessary arrangements.


Timely submission of work is an important professional attribute. Work submitted late will be marked down accordingly at the discretion of the instructor. The only exception is when the student contacts the instructor before the assignment is due, and the instructor agrees to provide an exception to the due date based on the student’s extenuating circumstances. Assignments not submitted on the due date with no advance notice to the instructor will be penalized as specified in the assignment instructions (see individual rubrics).

Faculty Council has determined the following policy for Incomplete Grades:  A grade of Incomplete (INC) may be given at the discretion of the instructor when 1) a student has satisfactorily completed most, but not all, course requirements, and 2) a student provides to the instructor evidence documenting the extenuating circumstances that prevent the completion of course requirements by the end of the semester. Candidates receive grades of incomplete (INC) only when a situation beyond their control prevents them from completing course work.

It is important to note that grades of INC will only be given if the instructor determines the grade is appropriate given the unusual extenuating circumstances and such circumstances are documented by the student. An incomplete grade in a course that is a prerequisite for another course must be cleared before the candidate can enter the next course. Final assignments not submitted on the due date at the end of the semester are given a grade of zero.


This course builds on the students’ knowledge of human development acquired during their undergraduate education. In this graduate course, we will focus on understanding the nature of interactions between children and their environments that give rise to unfolding cognitive, emotional, and behavioral propensities. Case studies rich complexity, including cultural/ethnic/social class/gender/sexual diversity will provide substance for conversation and assignments. Knowledge acquired in this course will aid in meaningful understanding of learning and developmental processes in all areas of schooling, including academic learning, peer relationships, socioemotional relations, responses to counseling, psychoeducational evaluations, and home-school relationships. The content of this course directly relates to the school psychologist’s work in schools including developing and implementing interventions for children and adolescents, and consulting and collaborating with school personnel and families.

The learning objectives for students are as follows:

1. School psychologist candidates will examine major theories of human development theories. We will pay special attention to issues of human/social identity diversity as it is represented in or absent from the examined theories. The goal is for students to become critical evaluators of clinical theories, who are able to accurately perceive their strengths and limitations.

2. School psychologist candidates will critically evaluate each theory and understand its approach to assessment of cognitive development and healthy behaviors and treatment of problematic behaviors. We will give special attention to issues of human/social identity diversity within theories of human development.

3. School psychologist candidates will be versed in assessment of childhood developmental milestones and in educational and emotional interventions designed to support and strengthen development.

4. School psychologist candidates will analyze the relationship between development and environmental factors (such as trauma, poverty, neglect, abuse, as well as social systems of privilege and oppression). Sensitized to these interrelationships, students will become reflective practitioners who understand how environmental and individual variables influence learning and socioemotional functioning of students.

5. School psychologist candidates will meaningfully understand the interrelatedness between childhood and adolescent development and academic/socioemotional functioning of youth in school

6. School psychologist candidates will meaningfully understand human/social identity diversity. Every part of the course will be grounded in understanding the particulars of the lives of youth. We will learn about working with marginalized populations. Students will gain meaningful knowledge about intersections of diversity, societal structures, and health/educational outcomes.

7. School psychologist candidates will learn how to conduct a research literature review and how to write according to APA style.  

​​​​​​​8. School psychologist candidates will demonstrate improved ability to work productively in a team.​​​​​​​


  • Class Participation: 15%
  • Anti-Racism Practice Article: 10%
  • RATs: 15% (lowest two scores dropped)
  • APA Style & Plagiarism Assignment: 0%*
  • Preschooler Observation: 20%
  • Piagetian Tasks: 20%
  • Gender Identity Interview Narrative & Reflection: 15%
  • Peer Evaluation: 5%
  • Professional Standards of Conduct: 0%**

*Students will not be allowed to submit any written assignment if this assignment is not completed and handed in. Ten points will be subtracted from the final grade for this course if this assignment is not completed.

**Students are expected to meet all appropriate/applicable criteria. Failure to meet the criteria will result in an administrative meeting with the instructor and/or School Psychology Program Coordinator to determine how the inability to meet professional standards of conduct impacts the student’s standing in the course and/or program.

All assignments are due on the dates indicated on the course calendar Grades on assignments will be lowered the designated number of points per week/day late, as measured by the beginning of the class period in which the assignment was due.

Use the attached Excel Spreadsheet Template to input your individual grades and see how your course grade is computed.

Be careful to only input scores in the YELLOW cells. There are formulas embedded in two of the cells, and you do not want to corrupt the formulas.