In middle school, students receive grades every quarter and semester. But what do they mean? For many students, this is the first time you are getting a letter grade for an entire class. In elementary school, tests and specific assignments are sometimes graded on the letter scale but rarely do students get an overall grade for each course. Therefore, it can be confusing to comprehend and compare your grades in middle school. This guide will help you interpret these grades and provide some tips to improve upon them.
What is a Good Grade in Middle School?
In middle school, a good grade is usually in the A or B range. It’s said that a C is an “average” grade, however, most middle schoolers have a 3.0-grade point average, or GPA, which translates to a B. Most middle schools have an honors program where students are recognized for having good grades, usually within the A range.
You may be familiar with a percentage grade on assignments in elementary school, however, in middle school, you will receive a letter grade that is derived from this percentage. To better understand your grades on this unfamiliar letter-grade scale, it will be helpful to know the percent to letter grade conversions made in the below chart.
Some school districts grade on different scales but these are the standard marks used by most institutions. Your letter grade then translates to a GPA that is calculated during your years. Not all middle schools determine one’s GPA, but it’s important nonetheless to be familiar with a GPA since it will be used in high school and college.
Does Your Middle School Grade Matter?
Your middle school grades matter more than you may think. Although right now, high school and college seem to be in your distant future, they are quickly approaching. The actual letter grades that you get in middle school may not matter when applying to college, but the routines that you define in middle school will follow you in your future academic endeavors. In other words, your middle school grades matter and play a role in your future, however, it might not be in the way you expect.
Get into a pattern
Getting into a study pattern in middle school will prove to be very valuable in the future. Coming home from school, going to soccer practice, eating dinner with your family, hanging out with friends, and hours of homework seems like a lot, and it is. However, for most students, this busy workload is only enhanced in high school. Being able to manage your time to be successful in middle school amid a plethora of activities is an impressive feat that will translate to being able to do so in a high school setting and beyond as well.
In middle school, you have the opportunity to develop organizational skills to feel confident in completing your work and studying each night in addition to your other responsibilities. Some students naturally don’t feel comfortable doing this at the beginning of middle school, which is normal since it is such a big shift from elementary school where your out-of-school responsibilities are slim. Most students, however, usually get into a pattern by the end of their middle school career that helps them transition to a high school environment.
Define your expectations
Middle school is also a great time to get a gage to how you will succeed in high school and further in your education. Your grades matter here too because they will provide you with some insight into how you measure up among your peers. Traditionally, those who excel in middle school continue to do so in high school. Therefore, your grades in middle school are data that you can use to see where you stand while helping you set future goals.
Often in middle school, a form of accelerated or advanced math and English courses are offered. To get into these classes you usually have to have done well in prior classes in that subject and you also have to pass an entrance exam to further prove your abilities.
The purpose of these advanced classes is to get you ready for higher-level content in high school if you can move at a faster than traditional learning pace. Once you reach the end of middle school, some of these advanced classes propel you to be able to skip a level of math or English in high school. Therefore, your grades significantly matter in this respect since they have influence over which classes you can take in high school.
High school transcript
In some of the noted advanced courses, your grade will appear on your high school transcript if it’s a high school level class that allows you to skip a level of that specific subject in high school. Although this grade does not influence your GPA, it is visible to colleges when you apply.
These classes are usually early Algebra or Geometry for math, an entry-level foreign language course, or a gym or health credit. They are typically only offered in your last year of middle school as well. Taking these classes can seem tedious and possibly “useless” or like they don’t matter, however, they can open up your high school schedule in the future.
For example, if you test out of gym and french in middle school, that can translate to two semesters of opportunity in high school. This is significant because high schools often offer more diverse classes and electives than middle schools do, so you will likely be able to take more appealing courses with this additional room in your schedule that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
How to Get Straight A’s in Middle School?
It is difficult to get straight A’s in middle school, but with hard work and consistency, it is also a feasible task. You will likely have to make sacrifices to be able to master your class material to a level where all A’s are attainable. However, if you study each night, get help when you need it, stay organized, all A’s will often come.
Something to keep in mind when aiming for all A’s is being diligent with your work throughout the entire semester. It can be easy and tempting for some to start the year off extremely motivated but then slack off at the end of a semester. Unfortunately, this is the time that most finals fall. Therefore, the students who receive an A versus a student who gets a B are often set apart in these final weeks when some excel and others fall apart when it comes to final exams. Therefore, being a consistent “A student” is the only way to actually receive an A at the end of the year.
11 Effective Ways to Get Better Grades in Middle School
Studying is one of the easiest ways to improve grades in middle school. Taking some time outside of the school day to review your class materials and lecture points for that day makes tests and homework come lots easier. Furthermore, studying makes the material more familiar and makes you more comfortable and confident in working with it.
2. Pay Attention in class
Paying attention in class is another helpful tool since that is where most of the material is presented. Usually, in middle school, there is little to none outside reading or learning, so the classroom setting is an ideal place to absorb knowledge. Being present in class each day will answer many questions that you may have during that night’s homework as well.
3. Use a planner
Using a planner is essential for organizations in middle school. The transition from one class to another can be complicated and overwhelming when each teacher has assigned work and expectations each night. Keeping a consistent planner to remember your homework, test dates, and extracurricular activities will prove to keep your life in order. Your planner is a tool for how to be a successful middle school student.
4. Participate in class
Not only being present in class but participating is a great skill to develop in middle school. Feeling comfortable answering questions, presenting in front of the class, and working with others are skills that will enhance your understanding while translating to other areas of your life.
5. Join an extracurricular activity
Joining an extracurricular activity may seem like a distraction from your grades at first, but they will often prove to be helpful. The schedule of your club or activity will make you set aside a designated time of the day to complete your schoolwork. In other words, it gives additional structure to your day that you otherwise may not have which often leads to procrastination.
6. Play sports
Not only are sports extracurriculars, but the physical activity that they provide allows for a release of energy that allows students to approach their schoolwork with a more focused mind. In middle school especially, students are going through puberty and exercise gives them an outlet for feelings and energy that they may not be used to that can become a distraction to their work.
7. Get a study buddy
One’s social life is important in middle school and can be hard to balance with your academic commitments. However, getting a study buddy can help you feel social while increasing your productivity by helping each other with your work. However, be careful because some friends can prove to be quite distracting when getting homework done.
8. Get into a homework routine
Setting aside a specific amount of time to get your homework done each night is helpful for your present grades since it secures its completion. Homework is a large portion of your middle school grades so getting it done each night will significantly help your mark in the class. Furthermore, getting into a routine now will often be maintained in the future. This will also limit cramming for an exam the night before; something that you should look to avoid.
9. Develop a relationship with your teacher
Getting to know your teacher is also helpful in middle school regarding your grades and success. Feeling comfortable asking questions, sending emails, and asking for clarification is a big asset to your middle school success. It can be easy to “fear” a specific strict teacher, however, they all have your best interest in mind and want to help you succeed, but how would you know without developing a relationship with them?
10. Don’t be scared to ask for help
Never be scared to ask for help in middle school! It can be embarrassing at times, especially when everyone else seems to understand what’s going on, to ask for help. However, there are likely other students in the class that are wondering the same thing you are. When the teacher explains something for the second time it can really “click” for students.
11. Focus on tests
A large portion of your grade, like homework, is tests. Therefore, studying extra in the days leading up to an exam will significantly help your grades overall. Even focusing on a final exam and scoring well, can transform your grade for that class. Remember that your grade is composed of multiple scores, however, tests likely will make up a majority of the points.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Get Good Grades in Middle School
Getting good grades in middle school is an achievement that often precedes great success in your future academic endeavors. Being confident in your abilities and setting aside time to get help, study, and ask questions will help you succeed in a middle school setting. This guide walks you through the do’s and don’ts of middle school academics to help you get those good grades now.