The identification of academically able underachieving Year 3 children and subsequent systematic observations of their academic lessons.
This study is a classroom observational study in primary schools in one Local Education
Authority in England The study, which was begun in 1990, was concerned to identify the range
and nature of academic classroom behaviours of academically able underachievers, and in
comparison with children of average ability, to identify the effects and implications of those
behaviours for teachers arid classroom management.
The research sample consisted of a total of seven matched Year 3 pupils aged 7-8 years
old drawn from five primary schools. The identification of the more able (the target group) and
their 'normal' counterparts (the control group) was carried out using a small number of objective
tests and triangulated by teacher and pupil perceptions of abilities and relative class positions.
The data was collected by the observation of English and Mathematics lessons for one session
per Week over a period of one month. A continuous observation schedule was used containing
fOurteen different categories of cl~sroom behaviours.
The research demonstrates that academically able underachievers are undetected in
classrooms; consequently are not given work commensurate with their undetected abilities; are
rarely required to participate in lessons; and who subsequently become bored' in a relatively
unchallenging environment. Even though they were bored they did not disrupt lessons, but
quiet1Yacquiesced to the mores of the peer group. The thesis discusses the implications of these
findings for primary education for academically able children as well as reflecting upon the
findings in the light of subsequent reading and updating of the bibliography.