There are several reasons for the academic delay, and we can summarize them in the following factors:
1. Mental and cognitive reasons:
From a mental point of view, most of the students in elementary school classes are average in intelligence, and a few of them are above average, and they are always at the front of the class. But a number of others, who are late in academic achievement, are stupid and their percentage is approximately 10% of the total students.
Cognitive problems are sometimes linked to students’ problems with senses, especially shortsightedness and hearing impairment, which impede educational development by making students unable to perceive and understand the input. This shows that, undoubtedly, there is a correlation between school delays and mental or physical health problems.
2. Physical causes:
General health problems, malnutrition, and the incapability to fight diseases lead to mental apathy, inability to concentrate, and frequent absenteeism from school. This, of course, has negative effects on students’ academic achievements. The student’s absence from lessons affects his structural achievement of the academic subject, and this is clearly shown in mathematics which is distinguished for its cumulative, integrated material.µ
3. Emotional causes:
There are several emotional factors that hinder healthy and intelligent children in school. Anxious, introverted children find difficulties coping with new situations and problems. Their anxiety may be due to their exposure to different types of family conflicts or psychological troubles.
Whatever the cause is, such a child may find the school a threatening environment, especially if the teacher is an authoritarian and a punisher one, and does not play his role as a monitor and does not endeavor to help his students to overcome their school difficulties. In addition, some students may find in mathematics (given the examples of multiplication and division lessons) sources of concern, and their attention may be impaired. This may prevent them from following their teacher’s directions; a fact which increases their delay and anxiety, and they may get into a vicious circle.
Moreover, the relationship of the student with the teacher is an extension of his relationship with his parents. If his relationship with his parents is bad, it may also be reflected in a relationship with his teacher. So the teacher will find it difficult to gain the student’s trust and cooperation.
Plus, children who get excessive and exaggerated protection from their parents don’t grow in a natural manner and find school life difficult, especially if they have not reached a level of emotional maturity that is appropriate for their enrollment in school.
4. Linguistic reasons:
It has been proven that a student’s weakness in any of the language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) may affect all his academic achievements, taking into account the fact that a child who has difficulty in speaking finds it difficult to learn to read whatever materials he is exposed to. To conclude, a child’s level in one subject can, directly or indirectly, affect his level in another.
On the other hand, it is possible that the lack of ability to use the language in any subject is due to three different sources: Low level of intelligence, defects in speech, and poor linguistic environment. It has been made evident by scientific research that there is a clear correlation between defects in speech and weakness in reading all materials. Speech defects may arise from disturbances in the organs of speech, irregular breathing, emotional problems, and hearing impairment. In this case, the student must be examined medically, and cure his defects before going to school, and before his process of learning how to read begins.
Also, the children’s family environment affects their linguistic development in most school subjects. The home environment may deprive them of linguistic development because it does not provide them with varied and sufficient linguistic expertise. So if this happens, a program must be set up to provide them with the necessary experience that enables them to advance in language skills so that this will not cause academic delay.
These children can be detected by comparing their scores on verbal intelligence and pictorial tests of performance. Oftentimes, the students’ scores in verbal tests are lower than their scores in performance tests.
5. Reasons related to the teacher:
One of the problems in teaching mathematics at the elementary level is the children’s love or hatred they hold for this subject. Many of them have a tendency to dislike mathematics, and that many of them feel alienated from mathematics because of its quantitative content and abstract thinking in general.
So one of the main roles of the primary school teacher is to attract children to mathematics and encourage them to study it and not to alienate them from it, by not planting in them a feeling of failure and by not putting them in situations where they lose their self-confidence when dealing with mathematics.
It is widely believed that pupils start to develop attitudes towards mathematics and the person who teaches it in the first grade of primary school. Therefore, great attention should be given to it as a subject, its value, and usefulness, how it is taught by the teacher, the method of teaching it, and how enjoyable its learning is, without forgetting the criteria adopted in choosing teachers and when they should teach it.
To sum up, the students’ poor academic achievements are closely connected to the factors stated above, in addition to other factors, which may also exist. Therefore, as a recommendation, all educational partners, the government’s officials, parents, educators, and non-governmental organizations, must work together to give the sector of education a push towards success and healthiness.