Terms of endearment: Words that define and guide developmental education

David Arendale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Although the issue of redefining the developmental education profession has been a constant in its history, the urgency to reexamine it has never been greater. As practice advances and changes, so must the language to describe it. A reexamination can be an opportunity to transform the work of the field, expand its borders, and redefine its essential role within postsecondary education. The developmental education profession has been identified by a variety of terms: academic preparatory program, remedial education, compensatory education, learning assistance, developmental education, and access program. This article argues that the field must articulate new language to help others better understand and support its efforts. New language may help professionals in the field recognize common goals and lead to more support for students and more effective positioning of programs to better meet institutional priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-82
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of College Reading and Learning
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


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