May I suggest, Frank, that the reason you do not find many 
definitions of "developmental student" is because the term, at least 
from my understanding the developmental perspective,  is redundant. 
An equivalent would be "professional  doctor". The concept of 
development seems inherent in, or to use the linguistic term, 
"entailed" by, the term "student", much as the idea of being a 
professional is entailed by the term "doctor". Students are, by 
definition, those who are developing their knowledge, skills and 
identity, etc..

Thus, I would take issue with Maxwell's definition. Her definition is 
probably an accurate operational or institutional definition 
(essentially amounting to "any student who is in a developmental 
program") in many contexts. But, I would say that it's not a useful 
theoretical definition; that is, it doesn't advance our thinking 
conceptually even though it might serve a purpose practically. I say 
this on the grounds that the denotative and connotative meanings of 
the term "development" don't have much, if anything, to do with 
comparison to "typical",  which is the basis for her definition. And, 
I don't see how such a use of the term follows from developmental 

I'd be curious to hear what others think.

>Colleagues, the recent post by Mary Leahy (Re FYI-New Report), stimulated me
>to look at LSCHE for a definition of "developmental student."  Although
>LSCHE has compiled ten definitions for the term, "developmental education,"
>there is not a definition for "developmental student."  I don't  recollect
>ever having seen such a definition. Hw does one differentiate between
>developmental students and those not described as developmental? Are
>developmental students the underprepared students?
>I did not find a definition for a developmental student in the  Casazza and
>Silverman book, Learning Assistance and Developmental Education. The
>authors, however, did state that "One significant aspect of this shift in
>perspective [from remedial and compensatory to developmental]  is that all
>students are potentially developmental students: ..." Page 32.
>In Maxwell,  improving Student Learning Skills: A New Edition, Maxwell
>wrote"In an earlier edition of this book, I defined developmental students
>as those whose skills, knowledge, motivation, and/or academic ability are
>significantly below those of the 'typical' student in the college or
>curriculum in which they are enrolled."  Page 2.
>In the Cross book, Beyond the Open Door, I did not find a definition.
>Perhaps she had a definition in one or more of her other books.
>In the Boylan book, What Works: Research-Based Practices in Developmental
>Education, the terms, "developmental education" and "underprepared students"
>are defined.I did not find a definition for  "Developmental students."
>Nor did I find one in the Van doctoral dissertation, The Application of
>Essential Developmental Education Principles by Program Administrators,
>although the author had a section, "Definition of Terms, that included three
>definitions related to developmental education. Pp.9-10.
>Perhaps, someone has defined "developmental student" using criteria by which
>such students can be empirically recognized. I am not an expert in this area
>but I do believe that if we are discussing developmental education, we need
>to have developmental students defined and differentiated from
>non-developmental students. It may be that the criteria established by
>Piaget or Perry in naming developmental stages might be starting points.
>Perhaps Stahl, Caverly, Boylan, Roueche or others who publish on
>developmental education have defined in print their definitions of a
>developmental student. If so,  can anyone cite specific references (title,
>author, date, page) that define a developmental student? If so, I would add
>them to the LSCHE resources on definitions that currently has no definition
>of a developmental student.
>[log in to unmask]                   For all of us to win in the knowledge
>Frank L Christ                      we need to unleash the knowledge in our
>Emeritus, CSULB                document databases, use and reuse our past
>Visiting Scholar, U of AZ     knowledge, find ways to create new knowledge
>             and then share it across our enterprise........
>             ...Rick Thoman, Former Xerox Corp President & CEO
>LSCHE Web Portal:
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Leahy, Mary" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:06 AM
>Subject: Re: FYI-- New report
>>It's too bad there wasn't a "developmental student" category in this
>>study. I should develop some type of similar measure and give it to my
>>students during my study. It would really be interesting to see where
>>dev. Readers fall in this taxonomy. But, these students often tell you
>>what you want to hear (in a survey or otherwise) rather than what they
>>meala think or do.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
>>[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Norman Stahl
>>Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:53 AM
>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>Subject: FYI-- New report
>>Subject: NEW NCES REPORT! - Profile of Undergraduates in U.S.
>>Postsecondary Education Institutions: 2003-04, With a Special Analysis
>>of Community College Students
>>This report is the fifth in a series of reports that accompany the
>>release of the data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study
>>(NPSAS). This report includes an analysis of community college students,
>>examining the relationship between a measure of students' degree
>>commitment and their likelihood of maintaining their enrollment over the
>>1-year period under study.
>>The study developed a taxonomy called the Community College Track, which
>>classifies students' degree commitment (more, less, or not committed)
>>based on their reported intentions of completing a program of study
>>(transfer, associates degree, certificate, or no degree) and their
>>attendance status (at least half time or not) within their program of
>>Overall, some 49 percent of community college students were classified
>>as "more committed," 39 percent as "less committed" and 12 percent as
>>"not committed." The two largest groups were students classified as
>>"more committed" in transfer programs (29 percent) and "less committed"
>>in general associate's degree programs (17 percent).
>>The results indicate that students who demonstrate a relatively strong
>>commitment to completing a program of study (i.e., they explicitly
>>report that either transfer or degree completion are reasons for
>>attending and they attend classes at least half time) are very likely to
>>maintain their enrollment for one year. Some 83 percent of the "more
>>committed" students did so, compared with 70 percent of "less committed"
>>and 58 percent of those designated as "not committed."
>>To download, view and print the publication as a PDF file, please visit:
>>Norman A. Stahl
>>Professor and Chair
>>Literacy Education
>>GA 147
>>Northern Illinois University
>>DeKalb, IL 60115
>>Phone: (815) 753-9032
>>FAX:   (815) 753-8563
>>[log in to unmask]
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Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention,  through 
the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in 
the world, with the world, and with each other. --Paolo Freire

Dominic (Nic) J. Voge
Study Strategies Program Coordinator
University of California, Berkeley
Student Learning Center
136 Cesar Chavez Student Center  #4260
Berkeley, CA 94720-4260

(510) 643-9278
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