Underachievers in Secondary School: Education off the Mark

Underachievers in Secondary School: Education off the Mark

Underachievers in Secondary School: Education off the Mark

Underachievers in Secondary School: Education off the Mark

Synopsis

Underachievement is approached from a broad, integrated perspective in this insightful look at the talented adolescent who always performs below his or her optimum level of achievement. Professor Griffin examines the psychological, social, and scholastic reasons behind the phenomenon of the distracted and disengaged high school student. The result of this in-depth study: A unique volume describing effective student learning behavior, providing curricular and instructional proposals for motivating underachievers, and offering a construct that provides the basis for understanding the various factors that account for academic achievement.

Excerpt

This is a book about the phenomenon of underachievement among secondary school students and what to do about it. At present, there are large numbers of adolescents with talent who are somewhat flat, disengaged, or distracted in school. Academically they drift along at a mediocre level, if that; far below, it seems, what they could be achieving if they put their minds to it. Likewise, there are significant numbers of well-intentioned young people who, despite good potential, just do not get off the mark in their classes. I grope for a label to use in referring to students of this sort. Underachievers seems as good as any.

Even if we are not sure how to refer to these kinds of students, every school professional I encounter considers this group as representative of a significant issue that we need to confront in our work. One principal I know calls them, with a sigh, "my 30%." Dealing with these adolescents is especially a problem today when there is heightened emphasis on the schools' responsibility to foster increased levels of academic excellence. Although the schools are being charged with bringing about higher levels of academic achievement, educators indicate that what they have learned about teaching, learning, and setting up schools does not work well enough with this large category of students.

To be sure, these teenagers are both challenging and frustrating to teach. At the same time, they can be overlooked amid the press of the schools' other business. They do not get the attention and accolades we grant the academic "stars." At the other end of the spectrum, they do not fit into the special education category that is the rallying point for a cadre of professionals and advocates, the basis for the provision of special services, and the subject of legal mandates--all with the central purpose of serving the needs of handicapped students. The students I have chosen to focus on in this book are not the high visibility discipline problems . . .

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