The last grades in elementary school are crucial for
developing interest and dedication to academic success.
The upper elementary school grades are also the
years when state standardized testing begins.
Students may begin to feel increased academic pressure or even testing anxiety.
Improving confidence as well as a student’s foundation in reading, writing, and
math is important to alleviate any anxiety.
This is a great age for students to begin pursuing extracurricular activities.
Children in late elementary school can explore activities to see which ones are
a good match for their passions and abilities. Students can begin developing
skills in sports, music, or the arts. Students should focus on having fun and
building social skills.
Opportunities for Growth
High-performing students at this age have ample opportunity for growth and
enrichment. They can continue to improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary
by reading widely, and they can also develop critical thinking skills by solving
difficult math problems. Students can begin to develop their interests and passions
by reading about subjects they are interested in and pursuing independent
Depending on the school or district, some students will already find
themselves tracked into honors level classes when they begin middle school and
some schools already have gifted programs or enrichment programs in late elementary
school. It is important for high-performing students in the late
elementary school years to maintain their motivation and continue to do well
in order to distinguish themselves for these opportunities.
Strong students in late elementary school can also begin to work on study skills
and time management. Middle school will be a big change in regards to commitments
and opportunities, and students who already know how to stay organized and manage
their time will find the transition easier.
Students who have mostly B’s at this point may need to improve their confidence,
motivation, and focus. It’s important at this stage to address any problems with
reading comprehension or understanding of math concepts, so that students can be
prepared to work more independently in middle school.
The late elementary school years are an opportunity for B students to improve
their skills and work towards higher grades. A student who can improve
by the end of elementary school may have the opportunity to be considered for
honors classes or gifted programs in middle school.
These students should also begin working on study skills. During 3rd-5th grades,
students will have increasing independence. Students will thus need to learn the
self-discipline and diligence to still perform well with increasing independence.
Developing organizational skills and time-management skills can help these students
improve their grades and prepare them for middle school.
C or Below Students
Students who mostly receive C or below grades in the late elementary
school years likely need support in reading or math (or both). Many
students at this level still struggle with reading fluency and decoding. It is
critical to address these problems now, as any student who is still below grade
level in reading will struggle to adjust to middle school. While all students
should be reading daily by this age level, it is even more important for those
who struggle with reading to get daily practice, so that they do not fall farther
behind. They may also need remediation and review of phonics and spelling.
Any student struggling in math at this point also needs extensive review and
support. Students must have a strong understanding of key concepts like place
value, multiplication and division, and fractions in order to be prepared for
more difficult abstract concepts in middle school. Any weaknesses need to be
identified and addressed now.
Students who have difficulty in school often start to lose motivation at this
age, and disengage from school. It is important to encourage these students to
develop a mindset which motivates them to work hard, build their confidence, and
find ways to connect academic work to their interests.