If the nation’s high schools were to graduate all students ready for college, the nation would likely save as much as $5.6 billion in college remediation costs and lost earnings (Alliance for Excellent Education (Alliance), “The High Cost of High School Dropouts,” 2011). Nationally, 81% of the fastest-growing high-wage jobs will require at least some post secondary education (Alliance analysis of 2008 data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), but we must get students to finish high school strong. It is for this reason, we are looking at the failures so everyone can be equipped to help high school students combat the failures and be positioned for success.

  1. Lack of Perseverance: Life is not a sprint, but a marathon. With that, there are lessons to be learned, obstacles to overcome and challenges to be conquered. Going through life thinking success, achievement and winning come easy is a false sense of hope that leads to nowhere.
  2. Excessive Dependency of Thought: Youth’s inability to think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions/learning, or become solution oriented will cripple their future. Walking through life waiting on people to tell you what to do at every stage of your life will leave students on the sidelines of life. Having an independent mindset is what sets a young adult apart from being the “driver” in their life to being a “passenger.” Students must learn how to manage their life and not let life manage them.
  3. Low Self-Esteem/Too much Self-Confidence: It also helps youth make good choices. Consequently, the adverse effect of not having good self-esteem can paralyze one’s ability to grow and progress through life. On the opposite end, having too much self-confidence can be detrimental to a youth’s future. Thinking “I’m better” than someone or something reflects bad character and cause people to flee from you. Regardless of a student’s gifts and abilities, they must be humble and know how to interact with people, engage them and not drive them away. It’s the only way to attain success.
  4. Sense of Entitlement: Taking this approach with their school work sets them up for failure because students don’t put forth the required effort needed to pass a class, win a game/competition or succeed. This behavior is a driving factor that shows up in other steps outlined here. Conversely, parents and leaders must work to correct this mentality in youth as it can be the most detrimental.
  5. Fear of Failing: Failure is a fact of life and the foundation for all success. Nobody wakes up saying they want to fail, nor do they enjoy failure. The key is resilience and learning from the failure, changing in the process and growing toward success. Youth must be taught the importance of not wallowing in their mistakes, but learn the lessons quickly and move on.
  6. Procrastination: Procrastination is the antithesis of time management and does not exist in the success formula. Doing things at the last minute is not only ineffective and non-productive, but it leads to stress, substandard/marginal work, and poor performance. Not correcting this practice at a high school level can prove to be harmful and costly at a collegiate level.
  7. Inability to think Critically, Analytically and Creatively: This is one of the most deficient areas for the 21st century workforce. Companies are looking for people with these skills, but unfortunately this generation is being crippled by technological advancements and the lack of challenge. Students must be challenged to analyze situations, problem solve, be creative, intuitive and think critically both inside and outside of school. Correcting and tackling these failures will help position students to successfully navigate the challenges of being a teenager and obtain a high school diploma. Regardless of their post-secondary goals, whether it’s a trade school, four-year college, or military obtaining a high-school diploma is necessary. So, let’s do it right. Get educated, empowered and enriched with knowledge. Take these failures and empower our youth to overcome to know they can overcome them, but it will require work, a plan of action and a support team. This is necessary to combat the grim graduation statistics presented earlier. Don’t let our youth be a statistic, they are destined for Greatness! So, get involved today and take action to propel our youth to the next phase in their life.
  8. Lack of Preparation: Many teenagers are not challenged and have a lazy mindset, which leads to their ability to see the need for preparation. Consequently, they feel things should be done for them or given to them with little effort on their part. When parents and teachers don’t challenge them in this area, they set them up for failure as they plan to transition into post-secondary education.
  9. Too Many Distractions/Lack of Focus: With social media, Readers, iPads, smartphones, etc. teenagers have many toys to distract them in their lives. When you couple this with challenges in the home, their stress just compounds, causing them to lose focus. Parents and/or support groups must teach youth how to balance competing technologies and external elements so they are prepared for post-secondary educational challenges.
  10. Poor Time Management: Managing time effectively is a critical to a student’s ability to balance multiple responsibilities that come with being in school (homework, projects, a job, social time, family obligations, etc.). It is important for them to learn this skill now prior to attending college that way they can learn from their failures in a less costly environment. Learning not to over commit oneself is part of finding balance to focus on what’s necessary and important.


The presence of child’s clinician in the process seems to result in more individualized attention paid to the educational needs of a failing child. This study has highlighted prominent social, school related, psychological and health related factors that can slow the student’s progress at school and often lead to failure. The results presented will help policy makers to divert specific intervention for the target groups. Further study is warranted that could contrast present study findings among school failures with students who display excellent and good results at school. This will help in determining risk factors and definite causes of school failure in the population of Qatar. Nevertheless this study is an initial step towards that objective.

In the study population, the majority had more than one contributing factor to their failure. Emotional disturbance as a cause of school failure is increasing as was described in many cases presented as anxiety and exam fear. Depression among school age students is not easily detected by the school personnel, it can present itself with low self esteem, and or behavioral problems. It is encouraged that teachers are aware of the symptoms for early detection and referral to the primary care Pediatrician.

Chronic illness may lead to school failure by increasing school absence during exacerbations.5,10 Other conditions, such as sleep disturbances, proper nutrition are other factors that have a strong correlation with school performance and grade retention. Student need a stable emotional environment to assist them learning and circumstances like divorce, maternal employment; single parent are known to affect a student performance at school similar to poverty and family conflict.

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The duration of TV viewing, playing video games and time spent on the internet is inversely associated with school performance, in this study, almost 43.8% of students who failed their grades had spent most of their time engaged in such activities. Recently, arguments against grade retention have evolved due to all the negative effects that out weigh the academic benefits. In the state of Qatar, a new evolving school system called the ” Independent schools” has began to emerge. They are designed to help students with some difficulties pass their grades with no retention by tailoring the program down to the individual needs, providing special tutoring for certain subjects and above all early consultation and intervention from the medical team keeping in mind not to miss ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Depression, LD (Learning disability) among other health related factors. By 2010, all the schools in Qatar will follow the new systems “Independent schools”. Many families whose children fail academically need help and encouragement to become more actively involved in their child’s education Advocacy for pediatric patient may be the most important role of a primary care clinician in order to provide appropriate intervention at an earlier phase and prevent the failing of students from further deterioration.


I equally advice the students to have self confidence over any subject they found themselves therein, that with their hard working they will start to perform very well than to be hanging around when lecture is going on in their lecture hall. Both psychological and health related factors were found to be more prevalent. The role of the primary care pediatrician, in helping failing students and their families, cannot be overemphasized; early detection of students at risk of failure and intervention is the main goal.



Karande S, Kulkarni M. Poor school performance. Indian J Pediatr 2005. Nov;72(11):961-967 10.1007/BF02731673 [PubMed] (Cross Ref).

Taras H, Potts-Datema W. Chronic health conditions and student performance at school. J Sch Health 2005. Sep;75(7):255-266 (PubMed).

Kelly DH, Balch RW. Social Origins and School Failure: A Reexamination of Cohen’s Theory of Working-Class Delinquency. Pac Sociol Rev 1971;14:413-430.

Byrd RS, Weitzman M, Doniger AS. Increased drug use among old-for-grade adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1996. May;150(5):470-476 (PubMed).

Phillips DM, Longlett SK, Mulrine C, Kruse J, Kewney R. School problems and the family physician. American Academy of Family Physicians. 1999;59:28169

Mclnerny TK. Children who have difficulty in school: A primary pediatrician’s approach. Pediactrics 1995;16:325-332 (PubMed).


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