As I noted in Part 2 of this blog series on student survey results, English as a subject is not well liked by many students. And it is a particular problem for boys. Indeed, the gap between boys and girls in English (in terms of liking) is great than the gap between girls and boys in Math. This representative sample of answers helps explain why:

  • I don’t like English because I was never good at it and also the activities are not very fun. I love reading but the book selection that we read was not very good. Only lord of the flies was a good book.
  • I can’t write papers or understand further
  • I have a very hard time understanding most of the material, and I am not very good at writing.
  • Because the reading we do in the class make me sleepy for the rest of the day
  • I don’t get how to pass English.
  • I dislike English because the assignments aren’t always interesting and related to my interests.
  • The teachers have poor teachings methods on improving your grammar in writing, in fact they just give you assignments on the computer and don’t even help you if you don’t understand.
  • I don’t like it because, all the books we read I am not interested in. Which makes it hard to read everything fully, I would rather have a choice on what books to read rather than having them choose for me. It would help me to focus more.
  • The assignments do not interest me and we are not given enough time to complete assignment as well as the topic we have to write about are boring as well as the books we are forced to read.
  • I actually love English. However, the teacher I have takes off points for accidentally writing a word in the header wrong. Someone could have a perfect paper and get points taken off for little details that do not represent what they have learned on the assignment. This is unfair to all students due to the fact that this type of grading does not reflect what they have truly learned.
  • English classes are very repetitive.
  • If teachers made learning about these things more interesting and fun to learn I might change the way I feel about English. Also in English we read books that aren’t interesting, or make you not want to read at all. We read books that are old and really aren’t the ideal book to read.
  • The topics are uninteresting for I don’t believe I need to know this in this day an age I have technology to get correct spelling and grammar. I believe it should also have more reading involved that I’m choose and can get interested in.
  • The teachers never assign anything cool. They NEVER HELP.
  • Even though the books are classics they are very uninteresting. Almost every one of my classmates admits to never reading the books because they are so painfully boring to read. A lot of the work we do is just packets and note taking. No real learning is coming from that class. We pretty much memorize the work, take the test, and immediately forget it. This shows that there is very little educational value coming from that class. It’s the same grammatical work that we have been doing since elementary school. Also, unless the essays are written exactly how that teacher likes you are almost always guaranteed a poor grade. You never get a chance to write in your own voice because it’s so formatted and strict. No real freedom there. Overall a miserable class.
  • I hate English and see no point in it. There is no value in read old books and making up stupid feelings that we are supposed to get from reading when none of it makes sense or it is just a stupid book. I have gotten the same grade on every single paper this year give or take a few percent . I don’t think the teachers actually read them they just give you the same grade you got last time.
  • English is my least favorite class for many reasons. One being that I don’t feel that I improve at all with my writing or reading ability. The teachers don’t do anything to help improve my grades or my skills so I’m stuck with the grades I get. Also I don’t like how we don’t get a say in any of the books we have to read. During class if I ask for help it don’t receive any help that will improve my skills and I really have to push to maintain a decent grade.
  • The subjects selected and book that are read are in general boring and hard to stay interested. book assignments should be done with books that a student has interest in reading not a book randomly selected
  • Because I never get a say on what I can read
  • I hate writing and doing analytical assignments. Also, in English we do a lot of filler work (such as pointless worksheets) instead of focusing on a greater scale project.
  • Even if I try my hardest I still cannot get anything better than a middle of the road B and I don’t enjoy reading the books on the curriculum.
  • It is too hard because I am not good at finding the deeper meaning. I’m not good at punctuation and I’m not good at learning all the different writing styles.
  • I feel that English classes don’t teach what they are supposed to. I get more English/communication skills done in history than I do English. Rather than reading useless books and poems, it’s important that writing skills are also talked about to make us more efficient in both categories.
  • English is the worst class because it is purely judgemental. By that I mean there is no definite answer therefore if a teacher doesn’t like me which has happened in the past then you get a bad grade. It’s frustrating to say the least.
  • I am bad and never got help
  • It’s not interactive at all.
  • The assignments seemed to be uninteresting and not required for me to have. I feel as though that we do not need English for four years. It is practically the same stuff every year and gets incredibly boring. The only thing I kind of liked about English last year was free read Friday because it was actually a time I could read. Also, I believe the reading made my writing assignments a bit better. However, I really do stress that English should not be required to take all four years of high school.
  • It’s boring to me because it doesn’t allow me to be very creative.
  • I feel like the stuff we do in that class, I will not use in the future that much
  • I believe the twelve sentence paragraph is poor writing since it makes a paper too structured. Teachers I had judged all papers on this criteria. Converting my papers to the twelve sentence structure brought my writing abilities down.

Notice that there are two themes here that correlate with earlier results mentioned in Part 1: the interest value of the work matters more than anything, reflected here in the issue of choice and relevance of texts. Feeling incompetent and incapable of improving is the 2nd biggest factor in negativity, and it is reflected here often: students claim not to know how to get better and many say teachers offer little help in that regard.

Let’s look at the reasons given why math is the least favorite; note the similarities and differences with English:

  • I don’t like math because it doesn’t make sense to me. It is way too hard the teachers don’t help one on one and they go too fast, it’s extremely boring and I don’t think the stuff they teach us is relevant to anything we will need in our lives later.
  • For me, it’s difficult to understanding and how the teacher is explaining it doesn’t make sense to me.
  • Math has never been my strong subject,and I just can’t seem to grasp it
  • I don’t understand some of the lessons that we are being taught and I wish we could get it explained more
  • It’s not that I’m bad at math, because I can understand it, it just takes me awhile and it’s really confusing and boring. It isn’t a teacher issue because I’ve liked all of the teachers that ever taught me math.
  • Math is boring and hard because the teachers don’t make it any fun. The teachers do the same routine every single day. You sit down in the hard desk, they give you a worksheet and then you do group work for the hour. This routine was never fun and I didn’t learn we’ll this way. My math teacher in 8th grade made math exciting by giving us math games to play that went with our unit.
  • I struggle learning this subject and I don’t understand why learning some things are so relevant and some of the teachers are bad because when they teach, they either get off task or are stressed out and that makes the learning environment for me very difficult.
  • The grading scale in the math department is awful and I feel we need textbooks instead of packets and worksheets. Because if we had textbooks, we wouldn’t have to worry about keeping track of a ton of papers.
  • The teachers do not care about students or take time trying to help them learn. They have trouble controlling the class. Also, we are forced to work in groups and being stuck into a group means being stuck with people who don’t feel like doing work and are lazy.
  • We move on and learn new things way too fast and it is very confusing
  • Because its a terrible class all around as it has little to no relevance to any world issues or topics
  • I’m totally uninterested in it. I don’t like it, I zone out a lot during that class and it can get really confusing and I just don’t care about it
  • We’ll it’s kind of hard to understand and there’s just a lot going on at once and I don’t feel I’m getting the help I’m needed when I ask.
  • I am just bad it and the teachers some times do not like me
  • The math department is ridiculous. The teachers don’t do their job. They shove kids into groups and make them fend for themselves and teach themselves. My math teacher this year was the Internet and my father. I can honestly say I’ve learned nothing from my teacher and prior math teacher. The system is now formulated to always work in groups in most classes. It is not my responsibility to teach my classmates. Teachers often give a “group grade” based on this. Instead of pouring all of the budget money into iPads,… the money should be spent on teachers that actually TEACH.
  • Memorizing all the different equations and my class makes it difficult to learn new material
  • Half of the stuff we learn is pointless
  • I don’t like the teachers in math because they need to do a better job explaining
  • All the teachers that I have had, middle school through high school have a great difficulty explaining how to do a lesson. I know that they understand it but they can’t teach it or communicate the information from their brain out their mouth into my mind. There’s some lack of communication. Also they don’t teach it in an interesting way they just go on and on in a monotone voice that makes you want to fall asleep.
  • Math is one of my least favorite subjects because If my teacher can’t make it fun then I just simply am not interested. It is probable one of the hardest subjects and if I’m not motivated to do it, I won’t. Which makes it even harder to follow with.
  • It’s hard and confusing
  • The teachers I have we’re bad because they make the problems harder than need to be. The information they give us is usually more confusing than it needs to be.
  • The assignments and work sheets are boring and uninteresting. Nothing excites me or makes me want to learn in math.
  • The teachers I have is bad because they don’t make sure we fully understand something, before moving on sometimes I feel like I’m teaching myself how to do math
  • The teacher doesn’t know how to teach us correctly so, therefore it’s hard.
  • I don’t dislike math. I feel the teaching was bad. He didn’t teach me anything and I had to get outside help from a different teacher. He was very rude and immature acting toward any confrontation that may have happened in class
  • I tend to struggle with it and I can’t sometimes get a good understanding of it.

The graphs reflect the patterns of answers:

English is my least favorite because

Math Least Favorite Why



I should note that this school’s pattern is not the norm in the overall national results. Here are the 2 graphs for ALL students, grades 6 – 12, surveyed this year and last (7500+):

ALL Students English Least Why

ALL Students Why Math is Least Favorite


Let’s end this post on a happier note: Looking at what DOES work for students in this typical HS. We noted in the first post that Science was the academic subject students were most interested in (after PE). We also note the following:

Most Challenged


So, why do students like science? Here are answers from those students who put it as their favorite:

Science is my favroite because


  • I am pretty good at it and it isn’t as boring as the other classes
  • The teachers create fun activities to help us learn the concepts.
  • Science is my favorite class because we get to do all kinds of labs
  • Because it’s fun and easy to me. Science has always been my better subject. I have really never had problems with science. Science homework is really my favorite, I never really had a problem doing science home work.
  • I like to study the earth
  • Science is my favorite subject because I am interested in it I for the post part understand it and it’s fun.
  • Ever since I was a little kid science has been my favorite. I would always record science programs on the Discovery Channel.
  • Mrs. X is a good teacher and is willing to help. The labs are always interesting and serve a good purpose. The work and tests are always easy.
  • I like my teacher and I actually learn something in her class because she helps us through it rather then assigning something and then making us do it on our own
  • I like how science can be applied to the real world, and that it affects my life.
  • Because my future job requires a lot of science.
  • I like to be able to investigate topics on my own and draw conclusions from labs with data and evidence.
  • It’s just fun to do
  • It’s my favorite subject cause I’m doing the best in that class
  • I have always since I was little been good at science and it has always been interesting to see how things work through science to me.
  • I like to learn about how the world works.
  • I really excel in science and it interests me greatly. The teachers are almost always really passionate about their subject and they share that enthusiasm with us, and encourage us to learn more and explore the world around us.
  • I enjoy learning about how the world works, and how the balance of the cosmos could be tipped, even just a little, and screw us over, but that balance never tips.
  • I find it interesting and Ive always received good grades in my science classes
  • Because it’s interesting and I’m good at it, because it involves a lot more logical/analytical/math based thinking as opposed to abstract/creative thinking.
  • Because it is interesting
  • The topics that we are learning are really interesting.
  • Fun and interesting experiments.
  • I like science classes because I like the hands on activities that we do and it is easy for me to engage myself in science
  • I have an interest in different scientific studies and it is easier for me to learn and understand than other subjects
  • I am extremely passionate about science and learning about, I love how science opens the world to me in new and unimaginable ways.
  • I like look for the change of something
  • Science is one of my easiest subjects and I am able to understand the material well. Doing hands-on labs and things like that help me.
  • The science class that I am taking this year is my favorite class because I am interested in what is being taught and I do pretty well in the class. Also, the lessons are straight forward and relate to the class.
  • Because it’s interesting and fun and it works to get you thinking and working
  • I have a large interest in zoology,and it explains the world in a logical and fact-proven way.
  • Because I like to learn about it. And want to be a doctor
  • I find all of the info we learn and test is very interesting
  • I’m good at it and I enjoy it.
  • I like the teacher and the material we learn is interesting and important
  • I like the teacher and want a career in science
  • I like science because have lot things about experiments
  • I think that science is my favorite subject because I am intrigued by the lessons we learn each day and it comes very easy to me, in other words I don’t struggle figuring out a problem I may have.
  • It’s fun and interesting
  • I find science, especially anatomy really interesting.
  • I like the connections to the real world
  • The way the world works interests me.
  • It’s fascinating and varied. You never do the same thing twice in a year; there’s always a way to expand your knowledge and understanding.
  • Science is my favorite subject because I enjoy hands on learning and there are a Lot of labs.
  • I like doing the labs and I find it pretty easy.
  • It’s interesting and I enjoy finding out how the world works as far as nature goes


Once again, what would you say is the problem statement for English and Math? What can we learn about improving all subjects based on the Science responses?