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Developmental Education: Overview and Concepts

The National Association for Developmental Education (NADE) has defined developmental education as “a comprehensive process that focuses on the intellectual, social, and emotional growth and development of all students.” This definition reflects the American Council on Education's historical documents on the student personnel point of view, which promoted a focus on the “whole” student, as well as student development theories that focus on identity development and self-actualization. In the United States, however, the term developmental education continues to be used interchangeably with historical terms like preparatory, remedial, and compensatory education. Such terms have been used in previous eras to refer to courses, programs, and services for students considered “underprepared” for postsecondary education or at “high risk” of not achieving their postsecondary education goals or, from ...

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