Struggling Students

Struggling students face considerable and diverse barriers to success.  Students struggle with grade-level curriculum for a wide range of reasons, but particularly because they are below-proficient readers, English language learners, and/or students with learning gaps.

What do struggling students need to succeed?

Below proficient readers need help with reading comprehension, especially understanding individual words.

They benefit from:

  • Vocabulary that introduces grade-level ideas and terms in readily accessible language.
  • Explicit instruction of the active reading strategies needed to understand texts and assignments.
  • Scaffolded resources for reading, writing, and note-taking.


English language learners can simultaneously develop language and subject-area mastery when the content is comprehensible.

They benefit from:

  • Simple definitions for unfamiliar words and read-aloud for text.
  • Relevant examples, rich visualizations and interactive learning experiences.
  • Native language support to access grade-level curriculum.


Students with learning gaps need to feel like they aren’t perpetually behind. If they get stuck, they need immediate support to get back on track.

They benefit from:

  • Targeted remediation to prepare them for grade-level material.
  • Chunked instruction with multiple ways to learn each new idea.
  • Calibrated scaffolding for grade-level assignments.


This Special Report on Struggling Students discusses the potential impact on those students' futures and on school districts, as well as the unique challenges for below-proficient readers, English language learners and students with learning gaps. The report provides strategies for supporting struggling students learners and highly effective instruction can help them stay on grade level and advance.


Upcoming Webinar on Struggling Students

  • Join us on October 25 at 2 PM ET to hear from Lee White, Superintendent of Loving Municipal Schools, NM. 

Learn more and register for the webinar.