What Is a Low Achiever?

The IRIS Center Peabody College Vanderbilt University explains that low achievers are people with deficits in executive functions, which are the mental processes that control and coordinate learning-related activities. Executive function is not the same as intelligence, and people with executive function deficits experience difficulties in processing information, retaining and recalling information, organizing materials, managing time and using effective learning strategies.

Executive function processes are significantly related to academic success, the Iris Center notes. They are particularly important in completing large multifaceted tasks, such as research papers and end-of-unit projects that require the organization and coordination of different activities. Low achievers tend to struggle with using a strategic approach to learning and accomplishing assignments. In terms of processing information, they do not activate prior knowledge and do not know what information to study. Furthermore, they find it hard to identify valuable information during lectures. They also tend to focus on irrelevant information and fail to monitor their comprehension of information.

According to the Associates in Counseling and Child Guidance, low achievers perform best when information is provided in a concrete, hands-on structure with a brief, simple format. Although they usually find it difficult to use abstract reasoning, follow multi-step assignments and draw conclusions, they tend to be successful in memorizing particular facts or reasoning with concepts related to concrete daily living.