Just Curious, Do Your Kids Get "Grades" in Elementary School?

Updated on February 16, 2017
T.S. asks from Hayward, CA
16 answers

I never did. We got N, S or O (needs improvement, satisfactory or outstanding.) My kids' report cards had a number type scaling system (1 to 5) until middle school, though in fifth grade they did start getting graded on certain assignments with a percentage, and they were aware that anything below 70% wasn't great.
I went to public school in the 1970's, my girls in the 2000's, just curious what it's like now.

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answers from New York on

It's a numbered scale here, 1-4 w/4 being super great and 3 being at level.
They also do a reading scale that uses the alphebet that doesn't go all the way to Z, which is weird b/c more than a couple kids are reading at a Z level or higher, mine included. So it's given as a 'grade' but Z isn't even on the scale?!

Percentage grades start in Jr.High/Midle school here with a few Pass or Fail classes. We go with strive for anything above the 70's, lol!

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answers from Anchorage on

My kids started getting letter grades (ABCDF) in 4th to help them prepare for the adjustment in middle school, before that they got NSO grades.

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answers from Boston on

Our district uses "standards based" report cards through grade 5. I forget the letters but it's basically behind the goal, progressing toward the goal as expected, or met the goal. The grades are based on periodic assessments throughout the grading period and are not an average of your grades. I like the emphasis on mastering grade-appropriate skills. That said, it was a big shock to switch from that to regular grades in middle school. When my middle son moved into middle school last year, his grades ranged from A's to F's. He had previously easily met all of the goals every year - often by the end of the first term - but had poor work habits. In middle school, with grades based on averages of all work, his scores plummeted due to missing or incomplete assignments, turning things in late, bombing a quiz, etc. He still could ace tests with ease but with day to day work now counting, it was a different world and took some adjustment for him.

When I was a student, we had A through F letter grades all the way through school. My elementary school even posted an honor roll with everyone's average on it, starting in 4th grade. While it was a great ego boost for me and the other kids who were always jostling to be at the top of the list, in retrospect, I can't imagine how crappy it felt to be one of the few kids who never made the list, or to see your average posted if it dropped from a 92.5% to an 85.6%. With 20-24 kids per grade, it was glaringly obvious who wasn't on that list. I can't imagine doing that in this day and age - while it fostered some healthy competition at the top, it did so at the expense of students who weren't top performers or who might have had learning disabilities.

ETA when our district picked the levels for grades K-5 they deliberately left off anything about exceeding expectations because they knew that the obnoxious parents here would all be complaining about why their kids didn't get that grade LOL.

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answers from Chicago on

Grades 1-3 get a M= meets expectations or I= improvement needed for Reading. For math they get B,D or S ( beginning, developing or secure) in math.
Grades 4-5th the kids get letter grades (A,B,C,D or F) for all classes except math (B,D,S).

6 Grade+ all letter grades

We have Power School which lets us check grades/assignments daily if we want.

They (High Schools/Jr. High) have 'taken away' GPA (although still printed on reports cards) and we have no weighted grades for Honors or Accelerated classes (in Jr. high) to prevent cut throat competition between the kids (or should I say parents).....sigh
On the fence with this idea.....

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answers from Springfield on

Our district begins letter grades in 6th grade. I think it's great! Our report cards have about 15 "grades" on them. They break down each subject into objectives. It really lets us know what our child needs to work on. I think that's so much more helpful to the parent than just a letter grade.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Our kids get a number from 1-4. Each number means something like Unsatisfactory, needs work, good, excellent. Then starting in middle school they get grades.


Our kids get a number from 1-4. Each number means something like Unsatisfactory, needs work, good, excellent. Then starting in middle school they get grades.

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answers from Denver on

No, but I think they should grade on a point system just like the higher grades. My kid's 5th grade teacher graded on a scale of 1-4 and she told the parents..."I hardly ever give out 4's". That's just stupid and very demotivating. If they earn the points, they should get the grade. Honestly it all seemed quite random and subjective.


answers from Norfolk on

In preschool and kindergarten our son got the N, S, O grades.
By 1st grade (this was private school) the grades were A/B/C/etc.
We moved and he was in public school for 3rd grade and up and it was all A/B/C/etc although in high school they are a lot more conscious of the Grade Point Average.
It's possible to have higher than a 4.0 GPA - and many of the STEM kids do.

Over here they break it down like this:
A 93-100
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D+ 67-69
D 64-66
E 0-63
I Incomplete
F Fail
P Pass
N Needs Improvement


answers from Los Angeles on

Our kids get a 1-4 grade in elementary, with 1 being limited understanding and 4 being very good understanding. In grade 7 they begin to get a percentage grade.



answers from New York on

Ours are weird. A couple times of year we seem to get Progress Reports that are strictly "Meets Requirements" or "Does Not Meet Requirements". Just got one of those the other day. It tells nothing except that my kid doesn't seem to be failing anything. Then, shortly before Parent-Teacher conferences, we get a more detailed report that rates them 1-4 (3s and 4s generally being good). I'm not in love with this system because last time around, after all "Meets Requirements", we received a more detailed report card where he had a couple "2"s for classroom participation, which came as a surprise. I think they should grade consistently throughout the year so nothing unexpected comes up.

I grew up in the '70s too and remember an "E, G, S, U" system, if my memory is correct. Excellent, Good, Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. A, B, C, D and F came in Junior High and High School.


answers from Springfield on

so far my kids school uses numbers. 1 not meeting standards 2 working towards meeting standards 3 meeting standards and 4 exceeding standards.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes starting in 1st grade kids get both their % and letter grade (>90=A, 80-90=B, etc) listed on their report card.

In K the subjects are followed by basic, proficient, or advanced.

Although, report cards are basically obsolete in our district because scores on all tests and assignments along with a running average and corresponding grade is available, up to date at the end of each school day, online and through an app.



answers from Chicago on

When I was in school in the late 70s/80s, for elementary I got E for excellent, f for fail, s for satisfactory. I think there was one in between as well. My 3rd grader got the same as you mention as 1, 2, 3 versus letter grades until this year. They use them pre-k through 2nd. 3rd is also the first year for state tests. Now it is A, B, C etc. My high schoolers get 1.00 to 5.00 for their assignments and then final grade reports are ABC.



answers from Binghamton on

Ours now has 1-3 scores which I think is fine for younger but for a 5th grader headed to middle school, getting a 1 encompasses anything over an 80% and there's a big difference between an average of 82 for the year and a 95. But I don't really care... I know where they fall.


answers from Dallas on

Our district starts report cards with grades in 3rd grade.

There is always a conference day in the fall for all grades k-5. K-2 have conferences several times a year to make sure children are on track.

Middle school is 6-8 with grades and conferences as needed until 8th grade. During 8th grade you set the 4 year plan for graduation making sure the requirements are met.

High school is 9-10 grades with grades and another conference in 10th grade (spring) to make sure you're on target with the 4 year plan.

Sr High School is 11-12 with grades and several conferences in 11th grade setting up college interviews and admissions.

We have a large district with 88 schools. 3 sr high schools all in top 100 in US with graduating classes of 1200-1600 students each.



answers from Los Angeles on

Our school starts giving regular letter grades in 4th grade. They also get OSN for citizenship, behavior, effort, etc. But they have real grades (A-F) for their schoolwork. Kinder through third grade just gets a grade saying whether or not they have met the expected year end standards for their grades (meets, progressing, or needs improvement).

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