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Psychological Causes of Academic Failure in Students and Possible Interventions

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Psychological Causes of Academic Failure in Students and Possible Interventions


Causes of Academic Failure in Students and Helpful Interventions
Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma and about 1.2 million students drop out annually. What factors into this statistic? Academic failure occurs where the primary aims of education cannot be delivered to the degree that there is a fundamental and ongoing breakdown in a students ability to learn. According to the Aspen Education group, students who are consistently failing are at a high risk of dropping out before finishing their education. This is problematic because “High School drop outs are 72% more likely to be unemployed and they will earn 27% less than high school graduates”(US Dept. of Labor). When it comes to the world of Academia, there are many different components in play that affect the success or failure of students. Psychologists and educators alike have speculated about this for years, and they have proposed several different theories on student academic failure. Three main contributing factors of academic failure are learned helplessness, emotional and behavioral disorders, and learning disabilities, all of which have ways to help alleviate the chance of a student failing.
Learned Helplessness
Learned helplessness theory was first described by Seligman and Maier, based off of an experiment they conducted on dogs. They placed dogs in shuttle boxes and exposed them to ineludible shock. Once the dogs were exposed to this shock, they could move to the other side; however they choose not to do so. They sat helplessly, enduring the excruciating shocks. Seligman and Maier witnessed the dogs make minimal effort to escape even if they had previously successfully escaped the shock. In this case the dogs had learned to behave helplessly, even when…...

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