The purpose of this study is to look closely at the way people within the school system–uninitiated (parents) or expert (special education teachers)–see successful students and those having learning difficulties. To do so we have questioned 29 parents and 33 special education teachers. The results show that in those people’s minds, difficulties are sorted out into three categories: backgrounds, personal and cultural features whereas success is divided into two categories: backgrounds, and personal features. Other results show that the mental representation that people have of a child with learning difficulties is not the opposite of that of a successful one, and the reasons given to explain these phenomena are not opposed either. Finally the parents’ and teachers’ mental representations are on the whole rather different, with, for instance, better homogeneity and wider consensus in teachers.