Thursday, November 09, 2006

Underachievers: the Misunderstood Students (and their Learning Styles)

The word “underachiever” is often used as a euphemism for a student who is failing, getting poor grades or consistently not doing their homework. The actual definition of an underachiever, however, is “A child whose academic performance is below what one would expect based on age, IQ, achievement test scores and potential.”

I’ve met very bright underachievers who were consistently getting A-scores in subjects they loved and C-scores in the rest. While an A-C report card is a perfectly respectable result for a child who works hard, some A-C students could have easily got straight A-scores had they only applied themselves a little.

So what makes some otherwise bright children underperform at school? Part of the challenge may lie in their Learning Style. It may be that the child’s motivation system is incompatible with that of the school’s, or that the teacher doesn’t recognise the child’s learning style needs. A bright underperformer may also display a preference for non-conformity. In addition, gifted children may deliberately choose to underperform in order to fit in with their social group.

Creative Learning’s new tool, Learning Style Analysis (LSA) Junior MINI, provides a quick and easy way to assess a student’s Learning Style. Find out whether your child may be underperforming at school and learn how to provide a perfect study environment at home according to your child’s Learning Style.

Your child’s Learning Style consists of 48 elements unique to them. How many can you name?


Anonymous said...

I have that problem!!!!! I am 21 years old and at the best university on my continent (Africa). I got straight A's at final year in school. However, my academic performance at university has collapsed. I don't do anything but work - no movies, series, music, parties, nothing. I work work work. And I sleep about 6 hours a day. BUT, I have started failing everything! It is depressing because I am failing one subject, one which I love and never got less than 84% for at first and second year level. Now I'm concerned that I might not graduate at the end of this year.

I don't know how to study and it doesn't help that I have friends who pass everything easily, even when they sleep in class and don't complete their assignments in time.

What do I do??? I have exams in 4 weeks, and if I fail, I'll lose my bursary and won't be able to afford to go to university. I'm not sure what my learning style is, but I learn best by doing the example myself and learning fundamentals, which I apply to more complex examples.



Concerned student said...

I'll keep checking this site for a reply :'(

Yvonne Walus said...

I'm not sure what happened here, I did post a looooong reply. Let me dig it out again....

Yvonne Walus said...

Thank you for writing! From your comments, it's clear that you're an intelligent conscientious student, and there is no reason why you shouldn't do well this year, just like you've done in the past.

1. First off, change your attitude from "I can't" to "I will". Positive thinking won't make you pass the test if you haven't studied, but negative thinking can make you fail even when you know the work. It's the magic of our brain, the "mind over matter" phenomenon.

2. Secondly, get your health right. Are you well? Any stress, other than related to the exams? Any heartbreak? Any change of family circumstances, accommodation? Consider taking vitamin B supplements to calm your nerves.

3. Are you sleeping enough? 6 hours is usually insufficient for most of us. If you're underslept, you won't be productive. Sleep is never a waste of time - your body and brain need it.

4. Do you know what helps you learn well? A dim room or a bright room? Morning or evening? Bullet points or understanding the overall picture? Working on one thing or many things at once? Buy a copy of LSA Adult ( to help you answer these questions.

5. You say you don't know how to study. You've done well before, so I suspect you can study, it's just that there may be a particular something this year that you can't get your head around. Have you tired speaking to your fellow students or tutor about it?

6. Some fun tools to help you study (watch it, or they can become too time consuming and counter-productive): mind maps, reading textbooks, remembering Please email me on if you need more help.

Good luck!