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11/7/2016

PotentialPlusUKSchools

IdentifyingUnderachievement
Part of the Westminster Government guidelines for identifying high potential learners is for
schools to have a focus on ability rather than achievement, so that underachievers are
supportedtorealisetheirpotential.Wehopethatthefollowinginformationisnotonlyusefulfor
schoolsinEngland,butalsoinScotland,NorthernIrelandandWales.
It is acknowledged that there is significant underachievement among high potential learners,
and that gaps exist between the progress, achievement and attainment of some of the most
disadvantagedgroupsandtheirpeers.
Highpotentiallearnerscomefromallbackgroundsandhaveawiderangeofdifferentabilities
andtalent.Schoolshavearesponsibilitytoactivelyseekhighpotentialinallpupilsandschool
assessmentsystemsneedtobeeffectiveinordertoidentifyindividualsandgroupsofstudents
thatareunderachieving.
Particularattentionneedstobepaidtogroupsofvulnerablestudents,including:
Lowsocioeconomicgroups
Blackandminorityethnic(BME)groups
ThosewithEnglishasanadditionallanguage(EAL),includingbilingualstudents
Studentsinsmallruralschoolswithlimitedresources
Thosewithspecialeducationalneeds
Thosewithmedicalconditionsordisabilities
Studentsinpubliccare
Studentsmaybeunidentifiedashighpotentiallearnersbecausethey:
Havelimitedopportunitytodevelopanddemonstratetheirabilities
Arenotsupportedorencouragedtotakeadvantageoftheirabilities
Haveanincompletehistoricalrecord
Havepoorwritingskills
Havebarrierstoparticipationthatareeconomic,cultural,emotionalorsocial
Characteristicsofunderachievinghighpotentiallearnersinclude:
Poortestperformance
Achievementatorbelowexpectationsinoneorallofthebasicskillareas
Dailyworkfrequentlyincompleteorpoorlydone
Superiorcomprehensionandretentionofconceptswheninterested
Vastgapbetweenleveloforalandwrittenwork:
Exceptionallylargerepertoireoffactualknowledge
Vitalityofimagination:creative
Persistentdissatisfactionwithworkaccomplished,eveninart
Avoidance of trying new activities to prevent imperfect performance evidence of
perfectionism,selfcriticism:
Showsinitiativeinpursuingselfselectedprojectsathome
A wide range of interests and possible special expertise in an area of investigation and
research
Evidence of low selfesteem with tendencies to withdraw or be aggressive in the
classroom:
Doesnotfunctioncomfortablyofconstructivelyinagroupofanysize
Showsacutesensitivityandperceptionsrelatedtoself,othersandlifeingeneral
Tendstosetunrealisticselfexpectations:goalstoohighortoolow
Dislikespracticeworkordrillformemorisationandmastery
Easilydistractedunabletofocusattentionandconcentrateeffortsontasks
Hasanindifferentornegativeattitudetowardsschool
Resiststeachereffortstomotivateordisciplinebehaviourinclass
Hasdifficultyinpeerrelationships:maintainsfewfriendships

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11/7/2016

PotentialPlusUKSchools

GiftedandTalentedEducation:GuidanceonAddressingUnderachievementPlanninga
WholeSchoolApproach,DCSF,2009
GiftedandTalentedEducation:HelpingtoFindandSupportChildrenwithDualorMultiple
Exceptionalities,DCSF,2008
GuidanceonPreventingUnderachievement:AFocusonExceptionallyAblePupils,DCSF,
2008
GuidanceonPreventingUnderachievement:AFocusonChildrenandYoungPeoplein
Care,DCSF,2007
GuidanceonPreventingUnderachievement:AFocusonDualorMultipleExceptionalities,
DfES,2007
IdentifyingDualorMultipleExceptionalLearners

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