The NEETs phenomenon in Italy is not a recent one, but it increased dramatically after the Global Financial Crisis. As in France many different factors influence it, but the prevailing two are the skills mismatch and the youth generations’ discouragement. Whereas in France the role of the school is crucial into tackling NEETs, in Italy the initiatives are mainly carried out by local authorities and small and medium enterprises. Therefore, more research is needed that sheds lights on teachers’ role in dealing with low educational achievers. This exploratory study investigates teachers’ perceptions and conceptualizations of low educational achievers in upper secondary schools, analysing their response to the issues connected to low attainment in terms of teaching strategies. From the study emerged strong communicative barriers between teachers and students that could lead teachers to stigmatize low achievers in their academic failure, ingenerating lack of self-esteem and disengagement in young people.


Low Educational Achievers, Upper Secondary School, NEETs, Teachers’ Perceptions

Author Bio(s)

Gabriella Agrusti is associate professor of Research Methods in Education at LUMSA University (Italy). Co-manager for LIBE project, scientific supervisor for Italy in the EuSTORe project - European Standards for Open Education and Open Learning Resources, and member of the Joint Management Committee for IEA ICCS 2016 - International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, Dr Agrusti’s interests focus on the areas of reading literacy, assessment, distance education and large scale comparative studies on transversal competences. She is a member of the editorial boards of Cadmo. An International Journal of Educational Research (FrancoAngeli, Italy), Educational Research (NFER, UK), Educazione. Giornale di Pedagogia critica (Anicia, Italy), and International Journal of Language Academy (Turkey).

Francesca Corradi completed her studies at the Roma Tre University (Italy) with a joint PhD with Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse (France) in Education and Communication Sciences. She has over 20 years of teaching experience at the primary school level, mostly in the areas of literacy. Her research interests focus on contextual factors affecting learning, teacher professional development, and qualitative methods in education.

Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Gabriella Agrusti at, g.agrusti@lumsa.it.


The authors are grateful to the teachers, educators and head teachers involved in the project.

Funding: This research was supported by the European Commission (Project Ref. No.: 543058-LLP-1-2013-1-IT-KA3-KA3MP). This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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