This paper discusses the causes of poor academic performance in English language as a foreign language of secondary-level students in rural areas in Kandy district based on the students’ and teachers’ perceptions. The students from grades nine to eleven and respective English teachers from three different schools whose performances were reported to be weak for English in the ordinary level examination were selected. The study was carried out quantitatively. Data were collected by distributing questionnaires. According to the results, problems related to students, teachers, parents, learning environment, and curriculum were identified. Study findings illustrate that students’ attitudes and low self-confidence, Lack of basic knowledge and vocabulary, poor parents’ motivation, financial issues, disadvantageous social background, shortage of trained teachers, lack of facilities, unsuitable and inefficient teaching methods and curriculum are the major contributing factors for the lower English level of the secondary level students in rural areas.