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How Much Do Grades Really Matter?


Students talking about a report card outside.

It’s a question asked by both parents and students alike—and often comes up when a student is struggling in school.

First things first: Grades matter in every year of a student’s education. They reveal how much course material a student is grasping, his or her current skill level, and any areas where he or she needs an extra boost.

Grades start to play an even larger role in upper years as they impact post-secondary plans—including scholarships and college acceptances.

As a result, parents and students should be thinking about grade performance at every grade level.

Keep reading to learn why grades matter and which areas you should be focusing on to help keep your child on track.

Do Elementary School Grades Matter?

Elementary school grades matter because they reflect a student’s skill and comprehension levels.

If a child is getting lower grades during this time, it’s something to keep in mind, but not get too concerned about. Children in the early years of elementary school are just starting to learn how to… well, learn! If a child is getting lower grades, it may be because he or she hasn’t developed the necessary study strategies yet.

Helping your child learn how to be a student is a long process; patience is required! Once your child builds skills and learns what strategies work best for him or her, grades should slowly improve.

Students in elementary school won’t miss out on scholarships, awards, or program acceptance if their grades are poor. However, these grades are a sign that if their study habits don’t change, they could face challenges in future grades.

Areas To Focus On In Elementary School

Time in elementary school should be used to develop foundational study skills and nip any bad habits in the bud.

Core Learning & Study Skills

Work with your child to establish strong communication, spelling, and overall study skills during this time. Elementary school years should also be dedicated to helping your child develop a steady after-school routine. This way, by the time school gets busier, he or she already has a routine that can handle a heavier workload.

Learning From A Bad Grade

While stakes for grades are lower in elementary school, this time should be used to learn how to address and improve upon slipping grades. It’s important that your child knows to use a poor grade as a learning opportunity and not let it discourage him or her from studying for the next test.

Do Middle School Grades Matter?

Middle school is the time when students start to take learning into their own hands. They are starting to motivate themselves to do better in school and rely less on parents for direction.

However, middle school can also be an anxiety-inducing time for students. Luckily, students’ grades don’t carry as much weight as they do in high school—so if they need time to work out how to become self-motivated and improve study habits, they have time to do so.

Middle school grades are an indicator of the level of skill a student needs in order to be successful in high school. The better a child is able to perform in middle school, the more prepared he or she will be for the advanced material and heavier workload that comes with high school. Higher grades in middle school also impact the types and level of high school classes students can take, so it’s important that students try their best.

Areas To Focus On In Middle School

Middle school years should be used to ensure students are as prepared as possible for high school (where grades have much higher stakes).

Breaking Bad Habits

Many students may be set in their ways when it comes to study habits when they’re in middle school. They have been in school for several years now and improving study habits may be difficult—but still possible! Habits such as starting projects late, forgetting homework assignments, and being unprepared can all begin to impact a student’s potential.

It’s important to address these habits in middle school so students don’t carry poor habits into high school. Work with your child now to identify weak study habits and work together to improve them.

Juggling A Busy Schedule

Middle school is a time when students start extracurricular activities or school clubs that take up a lot of after-school time. When a lot of homework time is taken up by extracurriculars, students may start to fall behind and grades may falter as a result.

Your child’s schedule is only going to get busier as years go by, so this time should be used to learn how to manage time effectively. Offer your child advice on managing a busy schedule and help him or her create an efficient after-school schedule.

Do High School Grades Matter?

Grades carry much more weight in high school than they did in middle or elementary school. Good high school grades are important for a student’s post-secondary career—especially if he or she is thinking about scholarships and college admission.

High school can be a very anxiety-inducing and frustrating time for students. If a student feels overwhelmed or directionless when it comes to school or career plans, it may be hard to find the drive to get good grades. A way to motivate your child is to help him or her start thinking about plans after high school and what is required to achieve those goals. Being there for your child and supporting him or her can make a big difference.

Areas To Focus On In High School

High school is a time when students should prepare for college by focusing on grades and expanding their skills and interests.

Expanding On Advanced Skills

High school students should focus on developing more advanced learning skills in high school. Students at this level should be able to think critically, manage time efficiently, and have strong writing skills. Working on these skills in advance will help prepare your child for success throughout high school and into his or her post-secondary career.

Discovering Interests

High school should be a time where your child starts to discover what interests and motivates him or her. Encourage your child to get involved in school clubs or extracurricular activities. Discovering new interests will make choosing a college program or career path easier (and more exciting) for your child.

Is your child struggling to get good grades or having a hard time dealing with school stress?
Learn more about the programs GradePower Learning offers and how a tutor can help.






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