I am sure everyone of us might have come across low achiever(s) in the classes we teach. I am personally very careful about these students and their needs. I feel if we can help them to perform better we are helping a lot of persons around us and the community at large.

          Nations wishing to raise overall levels of educational achievement are likely to obtain the greatest returns from raising the performance of the lowest achievers: their potential gains are substantially greater than those whose achievement levels are already high. Raising the achievement levels of the lowest achievers is likely to have economic consequences in addition to equity benefits.

          There are suggestions that raising the performance of low achievers can result in a compressed skill distribution that allows the productivity of the lowest achievers to be raised.

          Only about a fifth of the lowest achievers go on to a further education college and acquire any other sort of education or training (McIntosh, 2004). Consequently many of them have few prospects in the jobs market. Not surprisingly, they may end up unemployed and vulnerable, and a proportion will become single parents or involved in drugs and crime. For many of them, being full members of society will be difficult. Young offenders and the prison population generally are disproportionately those who were excluded from school or had poor educational results. Low achievement is a misfortune for the individuals concerned, and a considerable social problem. The costs to society of not addressing the issues discussed here are high.

          Low achievement is strongly – but not universally – associated with disadvantage. It works in various ways, some of them connected with poverty itself – its attendant stresses, poor housing, even poor nutrition and health – and social class. A key factor is the ‘home learning environment’: the amount parents read to their children, the number of books in the home, the degree to which parents support their children’s education in and out of school (Sylva et al., 2004). In the study cited, the home learning environment was only moderately associated with factors such as social class and parental education levels, and what parents did with their children had a more important impact than their own background or circumstances. Even more strongly: ‘In the primary age range the impact caused by different levels of parental involvement is much bigger than differences associated with variations in the quality of schools. The scale of the impact is evident across all social classes and all ethnic groups’ (Desforges and Abouchaar, 2003). The critical impact of parenting is noted in a number of studies, especially in helping children to overcome early disadvantage.

          Income itself can help with early achievement. Several of the above factors are in turn related to parents’ own education: in fact low educational achievement has been identified as one of the main means by which social exclusion is passed from one generation to another (Hobcraft, 2000, 2002, 2003). Tackling low achievement will have lasting effects; failure to do so will impair any government’s hopes of reducing fundamental social inequalities. So,

“How do we capture/draw the

students who really need help

and are at risk academically?

is very very important