Growth and Development – How They are Different?

Growth and Development - How They are Different? B.Ed Notes Group Of Tutors

Growth and Development Notes: In this article, we have provided complete notes on Growth and Development. This topic is very important for B.Ed, Teaching exams, etc.


The constant interaction with the environment results in the growth and development of the innate capacities, abilities, and potentialities of the child. The task of formal as well as informal education is to help in this path of growth and development.

Growth and development is a part of developmental psychology which is one of the important areas of pure psychology.


Growth is a quantitative aspect or a change. It can also be defined as an indicator of an increase in bodily dimensions. In short, growth means an increase in size, height, and weight.

Growth refers to a physical increase in some quantity over time. It includes changes in terms of height, weight, body proportions, and general physical appearance.

It implies the growth of the heart, brain, muscles, and body which can be observed and measured easily.

For example, the growth of a child means the increase in weight, height, and different organs of the child‟s body.


In Encyclopedia Britannica, growth is defined as “an increase in size or the amount of an entity”.

Hurlock has defined Growth as “change in size, in proportion, the disappearance of old features and acquisition of new ones”.

According to Crow and Crow 1962, “Growth refers to structural and physiological changes.”

According to Gassell:- “Growth is the function of the organism rather than of the environment.”

It is clear by the definitions given above that, growth involves all those structural and physiological changes that take place within an individual during the process of maturation.

Thus, growth refers to an increase in the physical size of a whole or any of its parts and can be measured.


Development refers to the qualitative changes in the organism as a whole. Development is a continuous process through which physical, emotional, and intellectual changes occur. It is a more wider and comprehensive term than growth.

It is an independent factor and is also possible without growth.

In other words, development stands for the changes that occur due to environmental influences on learning. It is the progressive change in the organism as total. It refers to change in structural form or shape as well as improvements in functioning.

Development refers to those effects upon the person’s cognitive-emotional system which strengthens or enlarges one or more of them, increases their number, or interrelates them in some different way.


The following are the definitions of development given by several psychologists:

According to Hurlock:- “Development can be defined as a progressive series of changes in an orderly coherent pattern towards the goal of maturity.”

According to Libert, Poulos and Marmor:- “Development refers to a process of change in growth and capability over time, as function of both maturation and interaction with the environment.”

In Webster‟s dictionary development is defined as “the series of changes which an organism undergoes in passing from an embryonic stage to maturity.”

In Encyclopedia Britannica is the term development defined as “the progressive change in size, shape, and function during the life of an organism by which its genetic potential are translated into functioning adult system.”

According to Skinner, Development is a continuous and gradual process

According to Crow and Crow (1965) “development is concerned with growth as well as those changes

in behavior which results from environmental situation.”

Thus, development is a process of change in growth and capability over time due to the function of both maturation and interaction with the environment.


The difference between Growth and Development is given below:

  • Growth is quantitative while Development is Qualitative.
  • Growth refers to changes in a particular aspect of the body, whereas development may imply the organization of various or all aspects of the body and behavior.
  • The Growth is measurable, while development can be observed by noting changes in the shape as they occur.
  • Growth and development are closely related and they actually go hand in hand.
  • Generally Growth stops when maturity has been attained but development continues till death.
  • Development is a wider and comprehensive term and It includes growth.
  • Development can be physical, intellectual, emotional or social where as growth is limited to physical aspect.

The difference between growth and development may be described in the following table:-

1. Growth refers to physiological changes.1. Development refers to overall changes in the individual.
It involves changes in an orderly and coherent type towards the goal of maturity.
2. Changes in the quantitative respect are termed growth.2. Development changes in the quality along with quantitative aspects.
3. Growth does not continue throughout life.3. Development continues throughout life.
4. Growth stops after maturation.4. Development is progressive
5. Growth occurs due to the multiplication of cells.5. Development occurs due to both maturation and interaction with the environment.
6. Growth is cellular.6. Development is organizational.
7. Growth is one of the parts of the developmental process.7. Development is a wider and comprehensive term.

The difference between growth and development may be described in the following table:-

ConceptGrowth is a part of the development process of human beings.Development is a comprehensive term that includes growth and all changes which take place within an organism.
ProcessIt is not a continuous process. It starts with conception but ends at the attainment of maturity.It is a continuous process that starts with conception & ends with the death of an individual.
ChangesIt refers to change in a particular aspect of the body.It refers to change as a whole i.e. various parts of body & behavior modification.
NatureGrowth is quantitative in nature i.e. increase in size, height, weight implying growth of heart, brain & body.Development is qualitative & quantitative in nature. It includes changes in form & structure as well as improvement in functioning.
ImprovementOnly in structureIn both structure and functioning (behavior)
IntegrationGrowth is not integrated, refers to change in structure & physique only.Development is an Integrated process i.e change in size, proportion, the disappearance of old features, considered in terms of the individual as a whole in relation to growth, capacity, experience, maturity.
CellularCan be looked upon as cellular multiplicationOrganization of all parts which grow & differentiation has produced.
 MeasurementIt is measurable.Qualitative changes are difficult to measure so assessed.
 InterrelativityIt May or may not bring development.
For example- if a child grows in terms of weight, but this may not bring any functional change.
They go hand in hand (in general) but development is also possible without growth as some people do not gain in size but do experience functional improvement or development in social, intellectual, or social aspects.

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