I agree with what others have said about the
differences between "remedial" and "developmental" and
have quoted the definitions from NADE myself.  However,
in Texas, lawmakers use the terms interchangeably to
refer to the same thing, that being any coursework
offered at institutions of higher education (senior or
community college) which are below-college-level and
carry no degree credit.  Defining below-college-level,
although it could be an esoteric debate (Is begining
swimming/dance, etc.  college-level or
below-college-level?), is not since the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board describes PE courses (and
others) as college-level and reading, writing, basic
math (below college algebra) as below-college-level.

In the last legislative session in Texas, lawmakers
changed a law requiring basic academic skills
assessment, placement, advisement, remediation, and
evaluation to require skills development (instead of
remediation).  They did not mean any change in the
programs, just a change of semantics that they were
somehow convinced would be less
offensive/objectionable.  This session a bill dealing
with this issue refers to a program of developmental
education.  That is not describing any new program,
again just a change in semantics for the lawmakers.

Many developmental educators in Texas agreed that
skills development (or developmental education) is a
better term (less offensive/objectionable) to students,
pedagogical/andragogical issues aside.  However, Martha
Maxwell observed at CRLA in 1998 (I believe) that the
term developmental is frequently used to describe
individuals with developmental delays (or mental

Semantics and accurate, precise terminology are
important to those of us in the field, but to the
general public (as well as lawmakers and public policy
pundits), it's all the same:  something that many of
them think "doesn't belong in college because college
is for an elite sector of the population who will
eventually make new laws and new policies."

Gail Platt