Are you a student wondering what levels are middle school and how you can scale through them? This article answers all the questions you probably have about middle school. When it comes to understanding the schooling system in the United States and elsewhere, it’s often the seemingly simple questions that confuse people. Middle school is such a vital part of the schooling system that it can make or mar a student’s preparation for high school. Yes, you’ve probably heard that the results from middle school wouldn’t necessarily affect high school, but there are several other ways that middle school would affect your high school experience. Therefore, students must prepare to do well in middle school. One of such areas of preparation is knowing what levels are middle school beforehand and preparing for them. This article answers several questions relating to middle school students’ age and levels. Let’s dive in.
What Age is Middle School in the USA?
Different states in the US operate slightly different schooling structures after the elementary level. While some states use the middle school system, others opt for junior high, which typically starts one year later than the usual middle school time. In most cases, students would be ready for middle school when they are around 11 years old. Of course, this means that students who opt for junior high school would be prepared for it at age 12. Both types of schooling systems typically last for three years.
Students do not have to pay any fees to attend middle schools in the United States. So, they’ll typically offer elective and compulsory courses for free. Bear in mind that the curriculum for this stage is designed to suit the average age of middle school students. However, it remains broad and covers English, math, science, art, social studies, and PE.
What Subjects are Taught in Middle School?
Whether you are a student going into middle school or a parent to such children, you’ll want to know what to expect. One of such areas you’ll need adequate information in is one of the subjects taught in middle school. Typically, middle schools teach four major academic subjects. In addition to these academic subjects, you’ll need non-academic classes like music, art, and physical education. Here are some of the academic subjects taught in middle school.
In middle school, students focus on building their reading and writing abilities by exploring several complex pieces of literature. The subject is designed to make students more aware of famous authors. It triggers their hearts to the point of wanting to research the major works and contributions from such authors.
At this age, middle schoolers naturally begin to develop questions about the political world around them. They often ask questions about the causes of certain events and how governments can influence them. Social studies teachers have the responsibility of answering these questions in the proper context.
Students generally follow the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) strategies to acquire research and communication skills that will help them improve their performance in all other subjects.
In middle school, mathematics teachers help students hone and refine mathematical concepts introduced to them in elementary school. The goal of this subject is to help students develop algebraic reasoning skills.
Middle schoolers have to explore more complex math topics like decimals, fractions, percentages, etc.
In middle school, teachers have a lot to do to help students maintain their interests in science. Students continue to develop their understanding of scientific processes. They also participate more actively in lab works and reports. Students also learn how to use investigative skills to make a hypothesis about problems.
Additionally, middle school science exposes students to the basic principles of matter, such as liquids, solids, and gases. It also explores elements like atoms, and compounds, so that students can make connections between matter and how they are affected by energy.
How Many Years is Middle School?
Like every other schooling level in the United States education system, there’s a specified number of years for middle school. While preparing for middle school, it’s often crucial that you know the number of years you’ll spend in school beforehand and plan accordingly. Generally, middle school grade levels start from grade 6 and end in grade 8. Therefore, an average student should be done with middle school within three years. However, there are also exceptions where a student may spend more than the stipulated three years in middle school. Situations like missing school for more than the required number of days and not meeting up to academic expectations can cause a school to recommend an extension in the number of years spent in middle school.
Is 6th Grade Elementary or Middle School?
Sixth grade has often been described as a major crossroad to a child’s educational development. Thus, the need to place sixth graders in the best environments during this critical period. Thanks to the importance of this grade, there has been an age-long debate on whether sixth-graders would be better off in middle school or elementary school. After looking at common characteristics of sixth graders, this section clears the air of where sixth graders belong.
For clarity purposes, the sixth grade is the sixth school year after kindergarten. As explained above, students are typically between 11 and 12 years old at this level. Although, there are rare situations where students could be younger or older. In many parts of the United States, sixth grade is considered the last year of elementary school, while it’s regarded as the first year of middle school in other places. In fact, some school districts define it as the last year of intermediate school.
The answer to whether sixth grade in elementary school or middle school is “it depends.” If you are confused about it, it’ll be best to check with your district’s educational authority office to know. You can also check with your local school counselor to understand what it is like, especially if you’ve just moved to a new district.
What Grades Are Included in Middle School?
As we’ve explained throughout this article, middle school, also known as Junior High School, is an educational level that bridges the gap between elementary and high school. Middle school’s exact organization may vary from place to place, but it mainly consists of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, when students are typically between 12-14 years old. In districts where it is called junior high school, it traditionally includes just the seventh and eighth grades. Let’s point out that middle school is most common in the United States. However, variations of middle schools exist in educational systems around the world.
Whether you are a parent or student, you must realize that middle school years are critical schooling stages for students, especially considering the rise in expectations that the period is associated with and the effects of social and biological changes that students pass through at this time. The middle school was established to serve as a transition period, helping students move away from childhood and introducing them to social skills vital for them in the long run. It’s also a period where students master knowledge and techniques that would be vital for surviving high school. The whole middle school period is characterized by middle schools nurturing their students emotionally and socially while providing guidance in social and academic relationships.
How Does the School Decide Whether a Child is Fit for Middle School?
If you are moving your child to a new school, the school would be actively involved in deciding whether the child is fit for middle school or not. There are many reasons for this, but the most common reason is to ensure that a student is intellectually and physically capable of handling the pressure that comes with middle school. With that clear, many people wonder how schools decide what class level is best for a student. This section looks at the factors schools look at when determining whether new or returning students are fit for middle school.
Students’ understanding of English: Of course, students may have moved from non-English speaking countries, and the school would want to ensure that the child understands English enough to cope with middle school. Many schools will organize a simple English test for this.
- Parents/guardians recommendations: As parents or guardians, it’s believed that you have an idea of your kid’s capability. Therefore, most schools will ask for your opinion when deciding the best level for your child.
- Teacher or counselor recommendations: Like parents, teachers have an idea of their student’s capabilities. Therefore, some schools will require written recommendations from a kid’s previous teacher to ensure they are ready for the new challenges.
- Samples of student work: Don’t be surprised if a school asks you to submit samples of a student’s previous works. Yes, they’ll probably give an internal test, but that doesn’t stop them from asking for specific samples of a kid’s previous works.
Wrapping Things Up: What Grades are Middle School?
That’s it—a detailed review of middle school in the United States and how it works. As a United States parent, you’ll probably wonder what grades are middle schools in the USA. Yes, it’s true that middle school grades do not count towards high school/college credits, but they still matter in other ways. Therefore, students must prepare well beforehand for middle school so that they can merely glide through it when that time comes. One of such areas that will help students prepare better is knowing what levels are middle school.
As we’ve discussed in this article, middle school is a critical time in a child’s education because it represents the time when a student transitions from childhood to adulthood physically and emotionally. The real answer to what grades are middle school depends on the district and school. However, most schools in the United States have middle schools between grade 6 and grade 8.