Students with Academic Difficulties

Students’ difficulties in mathematics and science

Patricia Cloud Duttweiler

  1. Poverty and the associated disadvantages caused by low parental educational level, nutrition and health risks, low social support, and lack of community resources (LeCompte & Dworkin, 1991; National Research Council, 1993).
  2. A lack of fit between social skills acquired at home and the expectations of the school (Taylor, 1991).
  3. Strategies that ignore learning styles which respond better to holistic instruction (rather than fragmented, rote learning) and a lack of kinesthetic and tactile instructional materials (Battista, 1994; Means & Knapp, 1991).
  4. Strengths in interpersonal and oral communication that are not utilized in traditional mathematics instruction (Means & Knapp, 1991; Taylor, 1991).
  5. Lack of concrete, experience-based instruction (Means & Knapp, 1991).
  6. Home disadvantages that compound summer losses in achievement (Entwisle & Alexander, 1992).
  7. School practices that assign minority students in at-risk situations to the poorest teachers (LeCompte & Dworkin, 1991; National Research Council, 1993).
  8. The need for additional help in understanding mathematics—help that is not available at home (Entwisle & Alexander, 1992).
  9. Peer pressure against academic success (Clark, 1991).
  10. The inadequate preparation of elementary teachers to teach mathematics in a creative way (Battista, 1994).


Battista, M. T. (1994). Teacher beliefs and the reform movement in mathematics. Phi Delta Kappan, 75(6), 462-470.

Clark, M. L. (1991). Social identity, peer relations, and academic competence in African-American adolescents. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 41-52.

Entwisle, D. R., & Alexander, K. L. (1992). Summer setback: Race, poverty, school composition, and mathematics achievement in the first two years of school. American Sociological Review, 57(1), 72-84.

LeCompte, M. D., & Dworkin, A. G. (1991). Giving up on school. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press.

Means, B., & Knapp, M. S. (1991). Cognitive approaches to teaching advanced skills to educationally disadvantaged students. Phi Delta Kappan, 73(4), 282-289.

National Research Council. (1993). Losing generations: Adolescents in high-risk settings. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Taylor, A. R. (1991). Social competence and early school transition: Risk and protective factors for African-American children. Education and Urban Society, 24(1), 15-26.