How do some students manage to excel in their studies and be popular while other high achievers are treated as social outcasts? This lively and accessible text looks at the relationships between gender, race and social class, and attainment and popularity, for high achieving pupils. The internationally renowned authors present a lucid theoretical framework that reflects the complexity of these issues, placing them within the broader context of the policies which cause and constrain particular behaviours among teachers and pupils. The authors draw together empirical data, bringing the realities of young people to life and presenting the lessons that can be learnt to enhance the educational achievement of all students. Issues covered include: The social consequences for the 'too hardworking'; The tension between high achievement and popularity; The classroom practices adopted by pupils accomplishing popularity and high achievement An engaging text for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students exploring the debates on identity and achievement.