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What Is Developmental Education?

Developmental Education is a field of research, policy, and practice focused on student success at the postsecondary level. Attuned especially to those students who struggle, due to a variety of factors, in their first year (and beyond) of a 2- or 4-year college, the field seeks to understand the reasons for those struggles, support those students who struggle, and define the role of higher education as a place where all learners can succeed. Traditional areas of the field have included course-based aspects of support, such as developmental reading, basic writing, developmental math, study skills, and learning frameworks courses, as well as non-course-based aspects of support like tutoring, supplemental instruction, and mentoring. Developmental Education has a multi-dimensional focus and is concerned with student issues of cognition, affect, identity, and other aspects of the college context. In short, Developmental Education is about student success for college students, especially those underprepared or misprepared for the postsecondary educational context.
For more information about the field of Developmental Education, the following sites may be useful:
National Association for Developmental Education:
College Reading and Learning Association:
National Center for Developmental Education:
Achieving the Dream’s Developmental Education Initiative: