The present investigation examined the underlying characteristics of the form and function of the school and their relation to student achievement amongst students in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 primary and secondary students from a combination of village and urban schools in PNG. Interviews attempted to elucidate the underlying dimensions of a key component of Okagaki's triarchic model of student achievement for students in developing countries. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed qualitatively. Analyses revealed there were three underlying dimensions of the form of the school that predominantly predicted student achievement: small-group learning, teacher-student communication, and home-school continuity. Furthermore, both perceived instrumentality and future goal orientation were highlighted as the two dimensions underlying the function of the school. This conceptualisation of the form and function of the school can provide a template to guide future research into student achievement in developing countries.