Article Title: Assessing Academic Underachievement and High Achievement among Pakistani Secondary School Students

Author(s): Sara Nomaan, Rubina Hanif, and Ayesha Saeed1

Institute(s): National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Psychological Research, 2015, Vol. 30, No. 2, 377-391

Correspondence Address: Rubina Hanif, National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Email:


The present study was designed to assess academic underachievement among secondary school students in Pakistan. The underachievers were compared to high achievers on selected factors in school context (i.e., locality of the school as defined by Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, and type of school). Academic underachievement was measured through discrepancy between intelligence scores on Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrics (Raven, 1983) and achievement scores (Federal Board result of 9th grade). Initially, a total 1139 students (48.9% boys; 51.1% girls) from 16 randomly selected secondary schools from four cities of Pakistan were approached. Two samples of students underachievers (n = 213) and high achievers (n = 139) were screened out on the basis of percentile scores on Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices. The analyses revealed 18.7% of participants were underachievers. Further, ANOVA and posthoc analysis showed significant group differences with reference to school context factors. Underachievement was highest among boys’ urban Schools and lowest among boys’ residential school. The findings have significant implications in social, economic, and cultural context of Pakistani schools.

Keywords. Underachievement, underachiever, achievement difference, achievement in school context