Not everyone does well in school in spite of being intellectually capable. While parental motivation and self-esteem all have a role to play a recent study published in the journal of Frontiers in Psychology shows that children’s learning strategies play a huge role in the academic success of the child. This can be a promising step towards helping children learn.
The study showed that students who had normal scores on intellectual tests but had poor grades in secondary school were also not as good at acquiring and retaining information or later applying it where needed. A lead researcher of the study concluded that underachieving students appeared to employed all of the learning strategies considered but to a lesser extent than normal. Overachieving students understood the strategies needed in order to gain academic success.
“The underachieving students had poorer attitudes towards their learning goals. In addition to this they had poorer relationships with their parents and also lower emotional stability than their peers but, learning strategies showed the strongest relationship with achievement.”
Comparing underachievers with normal or overachievers the work study gave new insight on how educational interventions may assist those that have difficulty in academics. Learning strategies can respond well to behavioral interventions, so there is hope that with the right help from parents and caregivers underachievement may be reversible. Researchers feel that teachers should focus on reinforcing these learning strategies and give their students the opportunity to have autonomy over their work.
To define underachievement, researchers in the study looked at the mismatch between expected achievement and actual achievement. Standardized tests were administered for each child’s intellectual expectations and their school grades as academic achievement. They also investigated learning strategies and a range of behaviors including relationships with their peers and parents.
The learning strategies that they used were involved in selection, organization and information processing , creative and critical thinking, information recovery and transference. Included were also planning, evaluation and information control and monitoring. The work done by the researchers showed that not only does attention need to be given to academic analysis but also there was a need to find the causes of under achievement around their respective environments as well.
The study also highlighted how research could help the professional development and the training of teachers. These studies could help facilitate the cross over ideas for research and teacher training.