Underachievement in school is one of the most widely used terms in education today. As a discourse, it has been responsible for influencing government policy, staffroom discussions, as well as the pages of academic journals and the TES. It is also a subject which raises questions about what we expect from a fair and equitable education system. This book provides a critical analysis of two sides of the underachievement debate, at each of the three levels of focus - international, the UK and the individual. On the one hand, it will consider the 'crisis' account; of falling standards and failing pupils and, on the other, present an alternative account, which urges a re-evaluation of the underachievement debate in order to consider who might be underachieving and why.
Emma Smith is Lecturer in Education at the University of Birmingham, UK.
1. Underachievement in context; Part 1: Underachievement: An international perspective; 2. The falling nations debate; 3. Reconsidering international comparisons; Part 2: Falling standards and failing pupils?; 4. Failing boys and moral practices; 5. Reevaluating underachievement; 6. Underachieving working class boys?; Part 3: Understanding underachievement; 7. Reconceptualising 'underachievement'; 8. Recommendations for practice.