New strategy to deal with low-performing students

New strategy to deal with low-performing students

Low-performing students pose a regular challenge for every responsible school, even headache for teachers who interact daily with these students. Because schools and teachers are interested in the growth of these students, revolutionizing success for them begs a constant check of new ideas and solutions. In this blog, I will focus on demanding excellence of low-performing students.

Demanding the best of low-performing students and becoming tougher on them without racial overtones may help them emerge competitive in both academic and social life. In fact, in a world where academic socialization happens in early years of education, massaging the ego of minority students may not be the solution. Demanding the best and measuring the progress may revolutionize academic success.

According to a 2012 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “26% of students in the United States were low performers in mathematics, 17% were low performers in reading, [and] 18% were low performers in science.” OECD concluded that such low performance will spell “severe consequences for individuals and economies.” No one will succeed in a low-performing economic machine.

The success of low-performing students depends partially on themselves, but it takes an approach to ignite awareness in them. Igniting awareness in these students doesn’t mean reminding them of their misfortune, nor what caused their status as low-performers. I have discussed some tips in a different post.

This approach requires teachers, and the entire school system, to declare war on academic low performance. With every means at their disposal, all should push low-performing students to perform well. In their “Twelve Secrets of Success” for low-performing students, Parrett and Barr synthesized that schools should stop the practices that “manufacture low achievement.” This will, in turn, help them gain the right attitude to win. They will pick up the right reading and thinking skills, all the while becoming generators of power.

To be frank, for low-performing students to build the confidence and the necessary rigor for academic success, teachers and the entire school system should step in and change focus. They must put in place a humanized, yet tractable system. Now, besides teachers and administrators, the system can hold every low performer accountable.

Tossing low-performing students into special classrooms won’t cut the deal and lead to an automatic success. That leads to depression and lack of motivation, instead. In fact, it might lead to accumulated behavioral problems ingrained in the minds of these students. Special education classrooms where problematic and low-performing students are segregated is just a recipe for academic and intellectual gap.

A better solution is to build low-performers’ confidence by holding them to higher academic standards. In sum, in order for them to avoid academic complacency, they must be put on a course of accountability where progress is the measure. Nothing short will do good.


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