How many student development theories are there?

The field of student affairs is expansive, and as a result, the number of theories about student development is also large. There are countless theories and models to choose from when working with students, and it can be difficult to know which one to use in a given situation. This article provides an overview of some of the most commonly used student development theories, so that you can have a better understanding of how they work. It also includes examples of how these theories can be applied in practice.

What are the most popular student development theories? There are four main types of student development theories. Psychosocial theories address the personal and interpersonal dimensions of student lives.

What Do Student Development Theories Have in Common?

There are several different student development theories, each with its own specific focus and purpose. In this article, we will briefly discuss the Peer context, Person-environment, Cognitive-structural, and Psychosocial theories. These theories have their place, but what do they have in common? Which one is the best? Here are some examples of each. For more information, check out the associated articles. Then, choose the one that best suits your learning style and situation.

Peer context

Students develop in different ways based on their peer context, so it’s important to understand how they develop. This study approach reminds participants that even traditional-aged students are developing, and they may require different support and guidance. In the context of the campus, a learning environment must be affirming and supportive of student development, and faculty should be aware of different types of student groups and their needs. Theories of student development provide a framework for understanding these differences.

The peer context is a significant source of influence in the development of student attitudes and values. Peer interaction fosters growth by reinforcing positive values and morals. Peer interaction influences persistence decisions, moral development, and academic aspiration. In a study published in the journal Educational Psychology, Pascarella, Wolniak, and Pierson (2003) found that peer interaction affects students’ academic, moral, and vocational choices.


While it is not the sole explanation for why a child develops differently from their peers, the person-environment theory can provide a useful rationale for intervening in a child’s life. Rather than examining how individual differences impact student development, this theory focuses on the factors that can promote or sabotage a child’s development. The theory argues that people develop best when their needs and environment fit together.

One study examined the relationship between student development and the person-environment-fit, examining the mediating effects of adjustment and satisfaction. The researchers studied 195 hearing-impaired students from Malaysia. They measured student development in three ways: major fit, personality-environment fit, and needs-supplies fit. The results revealed that major fit and personality-environment fit were significant determinants of academic achievement. Further, these two factors mediated the effects of student achievement.


Theorists of student development include Piaget, Kohlberg, and Perry. All describe the process by which students organize information. These theories focus on the sequential stages of development, describing the most prominent stage as the relativistic one, where students choose an ideology and use it to guide their worldview. Using one of these theories in your own classroom will help you better understand the thinking process of your students. This article examines the differences between these theories and their applications.

Cognitive-structural and psychological student development theories seek to address the differences between diverse groups of students within the learning environment. However, this process occurs in a context of largely white, Christian, and upper-class students. Hence, understanding the influence of privilege and oppression is essential to the study of student development. The traditional college age is a time of great instability for students, in which they regularly make critical decisions regarding their identities, school, and other aspects of their lives.


The importance of psychosocial student development theories is reflected in the growing amount of research into student behavior. These theories focus on long-term issues such as the identification of a person’s self and the complexities of relationships. In the early 20th century, Erikson, a psychologist, proposed that each individual experiences eight major conflicts during his or her lifetime. When these conflicts are resolved, an individual will be strengthened in his or her self-perception.

Many theories have explored the development of human behavior in terms of the process of learning. These theories are based on the concepts of development in psychology. They address topics ranging from ecology, identity, and belonging to the psychology of aging, gender, and culture. These theories are particularly useful for understanding the dynamics of human behavior in higher education. By drawing on examples of diverse student populations, they allow for the application of the concepts in contexts related to the field.

What are the various theories of student development? It is important that you recognize that there are multiple theories. These include Astin’s involvement theory and Chickering’s theory about identity development. Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. Rendon’s theory of validation. Schlossberg’s theory on mattering and marginality. Schlossberg’s transition theory.

What is student learning theory and development theory? Learning and development for students refers to research on human development applied to postsecondary education. Cognitive-Structural Development & Learning Theory – Research explores how and what people learn, and illuminates changes to the way individuals think.

Who thought of student development theory? experiences. Maslow published his first conceptualization of his theory more than 50 years ago (Maslow 1943). It has since been one of the most cited theories about human motivation.

Is there a student development theory for every subject? – Similar Questions

What’s Perry’s theory?

His research on the cognitive and ethical development of human beings is the basis for William Perry’s theory. in undergraduate students. He believes college students experience four stages of mental or moral development. The four states include dualism (multiplicity), relativism, commitment, and finally, denial.

What is Erikson theory for social development?

Erikson believed that personality development takes place in a predetermined sequence through eight stages of psychosocial growth, which spans from infancy through adulthood. Each stage can lead to a psychosocial crisis that could have a positive outcome or a negative impact on personality development.

What is the Tinto theory of student retention and what does it mean?

Tinto’s “Model of Institutional Departure” states that students must be integrated into both formal (faculty/staff interactions), academic systems, and formal (extracurricular activities) social systems in order to continue their studies.

What is Astin theory for involvement?

Alexander Astin’s Theory of Student Involvement describes how institutions of higher education can achieve desirable outcomes by looking at how students develop and change as a result being involved in co-curricular activities. Student involvement is ongoing and the amount of energy spent varies from one student to another.

What would you call college student development?

Student Development: “the ways that a student grows, progresses, or increases [their] developmental capabilities as a result of enrollment in an institution of higher education” ~ Rodgers 1990.

What does student development look like in higher education?

Higher education student development is the integration between academic learning programs and the larger issues that concern personal growth and personal improvement. It’s a holistic student-centered experience, focusing on values and nurturing skills as well as moving towards knowledge.

What is Schlossberg transition theory?

Schlossberg’s Transition Theory, an adult development theory, is based on Evans, Forney & Guido­Dibrito (1998). It focuses on the transitions adults experience in life and how they adjust to them (Schlossberg and al. 1995).

Who developed appreciative advising

Jennifer L. Bloom, Ed. D. co-founded Appreciative Advising, Appreciative Education and the Office of Appreciative Education.

What is validation theory?

About the Validation Method

Validation theory states that many elderly engage in a struggle before dying to solve unfinished issues. This age-specific, human behavior is broken down into four stages with their own distinct characteristics.

Who is William Perry cognitive growth?

William Perry (1913 – 1998) was a psychologist and researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was a researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education for 15 years during the 50’s and 1960’s. He studied the intellectual growth of students through their undergraduate education.

What is relativistic thinking?

Answer. According to the National Adult Literacy Database, relativistic thinking is “knowledge at this stage in William Perry’s model intellectual development is considered relative and situational.” Learners can critically consider multiple perspectives to find the most appropriate answer for a situation.

Is Erik Erikson’s theory divided into stages?

Erikson says that each person experiences eight developmental stages, which are mutually beneficial.

What is Erikson’s theory?

Erik Erikson is most well-known for his theories of psychosocial development, and his concept of the identity crises.

Does Erik Erikson’s theory still hold true today?

Yes. Yes. Erikson’s theory still holds true today, seven decades after it was first published. The theory is more relevant than ever today due to the growing pressures on family and relationships and the pursuit of personal growth and fulfillment.

What is Tinto’s Integration Theory?

Tinto’s (1993), student Integration Theory focuses on the social and academic aspects of student integration. These are related to student’s commitments to the institution and/or external efforts. Combining these three factors leads to a set if goals, intentions, and commitments from an institution.

What is Spady’s sociological theory of the world?

Spady states that students’ decisions about whether or not to continue their studies at their academic institution are influenced in part by two main factors: academic grades and intellectual development, and normative coherence and friendship support in social systems.

What is Tinto’s student integration model and how does it work?

Tinto’s (1975), three-part model focuses on the following: (a. Students enter college with varying levels of academic preparation and character; (b. they develop different levels integration into an institution’s academic social system including strengths and diversity of preparation standards; and, (c).

What is the Astins IEO Model?

Astin’s (1988, 1993a, 1993b) Input-Environment-Output (I-E-O) model was. This model was modified to show the relationships between student’s development and their input and learning. environments. Astin explained that student development is closely linked to the involvement of their friends, academicians, and academic program.

What is Walberg’s theory about educational productivity?

Walberg’s theory on academic achievement posits the influence of psychological characteristics and immediate psychological environments on educational outcomes (cognitive. behavioral. and attitudinal).

What are the truths about developmental theories?

According to developmental theories, development is a progression from simple understandings of self and world to more complex understandings over time. Although progress can be continuous or slowed down, it is still moving in the direction of deeper, more complex understandings.

What is the significance of student development theories?

Higher education administrators gain valuable insights into student development theory and are better equipped to help students transition to college.