University of Leicester
2014mayersyredd.pdf (2.5 MB)

A comparative study of high achieving boys and underachieving boys in a co-educational secondary school in Barbados

Download (2.5 MB)
posted on 2014-08-08, 13:58 authored by Yvette Rosemary Mayers
This case study attempted to determine the factors which distinguish boys who are achieving highly from those who are underachieving in the context of a coeducational secondary school. Attribution theory was introduced as the conceptual framework for the investigation. The study was undertaken with an ontological stance of constructivism and an epistemological position of interpretivism. Data collection methods included the examination of school documents, focus group and individual interviews and questionnaires. Student’s T-Test was used to compare the means of the responses on the student questionnaire to determine if there was any statistical difference between the responses for the two groups of boys. The high achievement of boys was attributed to natural talent and consistent and persistent effort, good time management, and the support and encouragement of their parents. There was a significant difference between the high achieving boys and the underachieving boys in the area of academic self-handicapping. There was a significant difference between the levels of motivation of both groups of boys. The high achievers tended to have an incremental theory of intelligence, though this was not significantly different from the underachievers. There was however a significant difference between the two groups of boys, with the high achievers caring more about how their teachers and other boys viewed them as persons. Both high achieving and underachieving boys generally had positive attitudes to their school and indicated that they wanted to do well in school. Both groups tended to have traditional patriarchal views about masculinity. However, the high achievers also associated masculinity with intellectual competence, respect and deportment. Strategies to improve the academic attainment of the boys must take into consideration the individual. Students who are underachieving need to develop their meta-cognitive skills. Wherever possible parents should be a part of any intervention strategy.



Wood, Philip; Ainley, Janet

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Education

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Theses


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager