How to Improve Poor Student Performance? 8 Best Ways

According to research, pupils with poor academic performance have low excitement for learning, lack of motivation, lack of interest in learning, and poor study habits. They form part of our biggest challenge in teaching. But one thing is certain, we are not leaving these pupils with poor academic performance.

a teacher interacting with her pupils

Photo by Yan Krukov

As teachers, we can’t proceed to the next lesson if not everyone in our class has mastered the skills and learned the content. We don’t like poor results. Hence, we should talk about how to improve poor student performance.


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In this post, we will talk about practical and smart tips on how to improve poor student performance. Such an important topic knowing that we should sustain the ‘No child left behind policy. It’s overwhelming but I’m sure we can do something about it.

How to Improve Poor Student Performance?

Our capacity to motivate students through fascinating classroom discussions, well-structured bulletin boards, and an enthusiastic attitude of inspiring students to hone their potential should not be undervalued.

Students with poor performance deserve much attention. If their level and performance really require individual remediation, then we should do it aside from the following smart tips. These are meaningful suggestions to help us improve poor student performance.

1. Make learning fun

kids are playing

Photo by Yan Krukov

Students are deeply engaged when learning is made enjoyable and fun. Throw in some fun and see what it can d0.

With the first impression that learning is difficult, especially on challenging subjects, our students need to feel that things are made easy and enjoyable for them.

Using games, for example, will not only create fun memories in the classroom but will also enhance student learning.  Not only that, we can also break up our lessons.

When  we make learning attractive, our students are more eager to participate and often find our lessons not only more pleasant but also more engaging. With that, students will be more motivated to work hard to improve their performance.

The inspiration we give them by making lessons fun and interesting is what moves them to do better. By designing fun activities, whether inside or outside the classroom, our students will develop a love for lifelong learning.

2. Integrate technology

a child is using her tablet

Photo by Pixabay

The presence of technology in the classroom is highly recommended to increase student engagement. Smartphones, tablets, and computers have become an important element in the classroom that facilitate learning and keep students excited about learning.

Technology integration is an effective means of meeting the academic needs of  our students. The interactive PowerPoint presentations we prepare, the online educational games we use, the digital collaboration we design for our students can foster student engagement that can lead to magnifying students’ academic and social growth.

The simple technologies can help our students understand more complicated concepts than in pure lectures or discussions especially to visual and auditory learners.

Using educational apps like Kahoot and Quizizz can be used greatly in the classroom where the whole class participate. We can use these apps for our formative assessments or short quizzes as assessments. Or we can also use interactive online apps for our review activities before we begin a lesson.

3. Use differentiated instruction

We can achieve success in the classroom if we make every student an active participant in learning, even the most reluctant ones. With our students diverse learning styles, we need to adopt varied learning activities to differentiate instructions.

Carol Ann Tomlinson, educator and author, clearly states in her book, “How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms”, that children of the same age aren’t all the same in terms of their interests, personality, and preferences. With differentiated instruction, these differences become the focus in the classroom.

To help us promote diversity in the classroom, we can create lessons in  a manner where students are provided with choices for learning. There a lot of differentiated instruction strategies that we can utilize to help our students process content and master the skills.

First, we can implement a flexible seating arrangement that will allow students to move and rotate. An interesting example is by creating learning stations in the classroom where students have to choose which of the stations best suit to their aptitudes and interests.

4. Articulate clear learning objectives

For the students to process our lessons effectively, we need to articulate clear learning objectives. At the onset of the lesson, students should understand clearly what they will know or be able to do after the discussion.

Learning objectives are statements that tell exactly what students are expected to learn in a session. Hence, these statements must be carefully-thought and constructed.

Effective learning objectives are frequently articulated in terms of what students will  know and be able to do. When these are clear to them, they are most likely more engaged to listen, to participate, and to execute.

Learning objectives should demonstrate clear learning outcomes. These statements should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Using clear and concise words  is a way of achieving this.

With the clearly stated learning objectives, we are now ready to design and develop learning instructions based on specific content, learning activities, and  appropriate learning assessments.

Here’s a practical example:

At the end of the lesson, the students are expected to:

A. classify sentences according to their uses;

B. construct imperative, declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences;

C. show collaboration in different learning tasks.

5. Provide timely feedback

Constructive feedback can help students be guided and maintain focus in learning. It can also be a motivational way for students to interact with us and with their classmates.

When timely given, feedback can help students make necessary corrections and improvements in their work. Moreover, when feedback is given regularly, students are more directed with their learning and they will feel our concern and support.

Prompt and clear feedback can truly have a maximum impact on improving poor student performance. Hence, we should make it a point to give purposeful feedback while a specific topic or competency is still covered so that students can see its relevance and will be guided in accomplishing their tasks.

As we give students timely feedback, we have to make sure that it impacts their decisions. Thus, we should see to it that our feedback is promptly given, clearly stated, and very specified.

6. Foster a sense of belonging

children are interacting

Students will thrive in an environment where they feel they belong. In a learning environment where students manifest openness and cooperation, where they may freely exchange ideas, feel safe when applying what they have learned, and receive encouragement, students will succeed.

When students feel that they are being cared about and that someone believes in them, they are more motivated to do their best and become active participants in learning.

The way we treat our students in the classroom is the basis of how we create a learning space for them. The welcoming space we establish will make an impression that students are safe and accepted.

Hence, building positive relationships and school culture should be on our top list to help students improve their performance, especially the struggling ones. They need us. They need to feel that there’s someone who is willing to go the extra mile to help them succeed.

Fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom provides students with greater motivation to succeed. It’s integral to students’ esteem and perspectives. It intensifies a greater sense of trust and confidence in the students.

7. Provide appropriate assessment

When the learning objectives are effectively crafted and stated, the designing of appropriate learning activities and assessments surely follows.

What do we expect our students to learn in a particular lesson? How should they show it? Will they be more comfortable showing it by writing an essay? Or does it makes them more effective to show what they’ve learned through debates and small group discussions?

In whatever way, our assessments should be appropriate so we can definitely measure student learning. The results will help us decide whether to give remediation or reteach content.

Hence, the learning assessments should be reliable and valid. In other words, learning assessments should improve teaching and learning.

Learning assessment is our way of knowing if the students understand the lesson and master the given competency. Therefore, it should be well-planned and appropriate so students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their learning effectively.

8. Communicate with the parents

The very first people to know how students perform in the classroom are the parents. Constant communication with the parents can help build a sense of trust and collaboration. They have the right to know how their children perform and what are their levels of learning.

Parent-teacher communication is a great way to improve poor student performance. By effectively reaching them, we will gain more understanding of the child and help with our decisions in teaching.

Effective communication with parents builds a sense of trust. When we are reaching out to them via email, text, chat, or personally inviting them for a conference, will make them feel that their children are valued in school.

Nonetheless, in communicating with parents, we should manifest respect to foster a sense of trust. By initiating positivity in our bearing, we are making them feel welcome that we acknowledge their involvement in the education of their children.


Improving the poor performance of our students goes a long way. But with our commitment and dedication, we can help these brilliant minds to flourish and to make achievements.

Our commitment as teachers truly impacts student achievement. The smart tips enumerated above wouldn’t be done if we don’t own the internal force of commitment.

Poor student performance should not discourage us to do more but instead should inspire us to enhance our teaching skills and establish a safe and effective learning environment.