Abstract: High rates of student failure in Zimbabwean Secondary Schools are a problem nationwide. Effective teaching and efficient management of schools requires information as to the causes of failure. One approach to acquiring this information is to improve our understanding of what the students themselves perceive as the causes and antecedents of school failure. In this article, we analyze the perceptions of the factors of academic failure among public and private secondary school students. A total of three hundred and ninety three students from twenty secondary schools drawn from the five of the nine provinces in Zimbabwe participated in the study. The major factors of failure at Ordinary level courses, according to sampled students, are quality of teaching and previous student preparation. A culture of high expectancy on the part of teachers, parents and administrators may be key to influencing learning success.
Keywords: Students failure, Shared blame, Pedagogy, School management practices, effective teaching and learning, student perceptions of teaching methods, teacher performance evaluations, student achievement