PSYCH 326 : Life Span Development


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The development of people across the life span is studied. Describes key milestones in development and examines the causes and processes that produce stability and change in people's development over time. Topics discussed will include aspects of cognitive, social and physical development with consideration given to biological, societal and family influences. Attention will also be given to development within the New Zealand context.

Course Overview

This course focuses on human development across the lifespan. This course will describe key milestones of human social, cognitive, emotional, and physical development from birth through death. Although this course will include topics that cover the entire lifespan, the lecturers who are involved in this course each have their own specialty in the field of developmental psychology and thus, will often focus on their areas (and age range) of expertise. We will examine the underlying causes and processes that produce stability and change in people's development over time. Consideration will be given to biological, societal, and family influences. When relevant, attention will be given to human development within the New Zealand context. In this course, you will develop skills that will allow you to critically evaluate research that determines how early life influences impact on child development in multiple domains and age groups.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 45 points at Stage II in Psychology and 15 points from STATS 100-125 Restriction: PSYCH 316

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and evaluate classic and modern theories of human development across the lifespan. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Review and critically assess the current state of key research findings in relation to key themes in the field of developmental psychology. As part of this, students should be able to draw implications for future research, professional practice, and other applied settings. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Synthesise key theories and research findings from the topics covered throughout the course into an understanding of the stability and change experienced by humans across their lifespan. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Apply theory and current research findings to explain everyday human behaviour (within New Zealand and across the globe). (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay 30% Individual Coursework
Midterm Assessment 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Midterm Assessment
Final Exam
To gain plussage you must do all coursework, and obtain a passing grade of 50% overall for coursework. 
• If you are eligible for plussage: your final grade for this course will be based either on the final exam alone (marked out of 100) or on the final exam (marked out of 40) plus the coursework (marked out of 60), whichever alternative gives you the better mark.  
• If you are not eligible for plussage: your final grade will be based on the final exam (marked out of 40) plus the coursework (marked out of 60). Thus, if you fail plussage, you are still able to sit the final exam, but your coursework will automatically count toward 60% of your final overall grade. 

Key Topics

Topics - First half of course: Ch. 1 Introduction to Life-Span Development; Ch. 2 Theories of Human Development; Ch. 3 Genes, Environment , Beginnings of Life; Ch. 4 Physical growth and Motor Development; Ch. 5 Cognitive Development, Reading and Dyslexia; Ch. 12 Atypical development: Autism, ADHD, and Mental Health. 
Topics - Second half of course: Introduction to Growing Up in NZ and Reports 1,2,3 (for essay); Ch. 8 Language; Ch. 9 Gender, Self and Personality; Ch 10. Social Cognition; Ch. 11 Attachment and Social Relationships. 

Special Requirements

There will be 4 labs throughout the semester roughly held every other week (beginning Week 4). Please check SSO to confirm your lab time and location. Labs provide an opportunity to discuss the main themes of the course, critically examine relevant issues, and prepare for class assessments. Labs will cover material that is directly related to coursework. Attendance is recommended. Please pay special attention to the schedule and be sure to attend the labs when they are offered. Please consult your Student Centre (Arts/Science) for assistance with making a permanent change to your laboratory time.

Workload Expectations

Following University workload guidelines, a standard 15 point course represents approximately 150 hours of study.

During a typical teaching week there will be 3 hours of lectures and 2 hours of tutorials (4 weeks). For the 12 teaching weeks, this totals to 44 hours. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 106 hours across the entire semester for independent study, e.g. reading, reflection, preparing for assessments/exams, etc.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

This course is available to offshore students and students who have been exempted from in-person attendance. Different conditions will apply for these students.

Learning Resources

Sigelman, C. K., Rider, E. A., & De George-Walker L. (2019). Life Span Human Development: Australian and New Zealand Edition (3rd Ed). Cengage Learning Australia. ISBN 9780170415910

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Based on student feedback, we have made some changes and improvements to the course. We have changed the word count and criteria for the essay. We also increased the amount of lecture time devoted to discussing the essay and included FAQs in the syllabus. The essay prep lab will take place 2 weeks before the essay is due to allow students time to prepare for the essay. The time allowed for the mid-term assessment will be a 24 hours.

Other Information

Essay: Growing Up in NZ. Choose ONE finding reported in sections 3 to 7 (Report 1), 2 to 4 (Report 2), OR 2 to 5 (Report 3) that is interesting to you. For example, in a section from Report 3 entitled “informal and formal society,” there are many subsections (e.g., labour force status, household income, early education arrangements). Pick a subsection that interests you. This subsection will make up your “finding” on which you will base your essay. For this finding (or set of findings if the subsection has many findings) you will:
(1) summarise the finding. Use at least 6 recent research articles (i.e., within the past 10 years) to make informed predictions about the impact this finding might have on the child’s biological/physical, social, and cognitive development throughout their life-span;
(2) draw on factors related to all three of the domains of development (e.g., physical/biological, cognitive, and social). For each domain, you must address at least two different time points in development. (e.g., infancy and late adulthood). Your essay must address development throughout the lifespan.

Due: 11 May @ 4 pm on-line: Essays handed in late will receive a penalty. Maximum Length: 3000 Words. Essays 3001 words to 3599 words in length will receive a 10% penalty. Essays longer than 3600 words will receive a 20% penalty. The word limit includes in-text referencing, but does not include your Reference List. Remove your Reference List when submitting to Turnitin.

Format: Essays should be typed using a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman), double-spaced, and in APA referencing style. Thus, all articles that you describe in your essay should be cited in the text and referenced on a separate page at the end of your document.
Coversheet and handing in essay: All assignments must be handed in with a cover sheet that will be posted on CANVAS under course resources. Assignments must also be submitted to Turnitin. In-text citing does not get deleted. Further information regarding the essay and assessment criteria will be offered during the course.
Please note: Students MUST retain an electronic copy of their assignment. This may be requested at any time until the end of the exam period. Essays handed in late (without an approved extension) will lose 10% of the total marks per day, which means that assignments handed in on May 12h (before 4:00 pm) will lose 10%, and so on. Saturday and Sunday count as one day. Essays more than five days late will not be marked. 

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Powerpoint slides will be posted on Canvas, if possible, 24 hours before the lecture.
Reading lists for the Essay (Reports 1-3 Growing Up in NZ) will be posted on Canvas. Some lecture material will require additional readings and these will be posted on Canvas.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

 Under the government’s Covid-19 Alert Levels, we anticipate using the following delivery modes. Note this is subject to change depending on the specific circumstances. 

Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode 

Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.  

Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 05/01/2021 05:11 p.m.