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‘Achievement’ can have a large, vague meaning, such as ‘the sum total of human experience’. However, the word has come to have a precise meaning in current educational terminology. At one time, modest goals could be achieved. A teacher could say, ‘He needed a grade C, and he achieved that,’ irrespective of whether this was the highest grade the pupil was capable of or not.

Achievement is now judged against the prediction. If the pupil was expected to get a C, and he got a C, that is satisfactory achievement. If he got a B, that is good achievement; an A or A* would be outstanding. If he was expected to get a B, and got a C, that is judged as underachievement. Predictions are ...

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