grade-level mastery

Getting the most out of 6th grade

VP SAT Instructor

Based on Common Core Standards
Written by Brian Galvin, MEd Chief Academic Officer

Key Takeaways

These are the most critical skills a 6th grader should master before entering 7th grade:

1. Expressions and Equations
2. Ratios and Proportional Relationships
3. Statistics and Probability
4. The Number System

English Language Arts:
1. Evaluate the Argument and Claims in a Text
2. Use Pronouns in the Proper Form
3. Interpret Figures of Speech in Context

Find out which 6th grade skills your student needs to work on by taking our learning assessments:

6th grade is a significant transitional year for many students to become accustomed to the new social and structural experience of middle school while also building to the new challenges of higher level learning. 6th graders begin seeing math much more conceptually and abstractly using algebra and ratios. In reading and writing courses students are evaluating arguments and claims within multiple texts and interpreting figures of speech. This scholastic checklist will help you ensure that your 6th grader is confident with the critical path skills that will determine 7th-grade readiness.


Critical Skills for Math

Expressions and Equations
6th grade is a formative year for developing algebra skills. When students complete 6th grade they should be able to write, read, and evaluate algebraic expressions; generate equivalent expressions, solve one-variable equations and inequalities, and interpret relationships between dependent and independent variables. These skills lay a critical foundation upon which future algebra concepts will build.

Ratios and Proportional Relationships
A major new concept in 6th grade is that of ratios and proportions. By the end of the school year, students should understand the concept of a ratio, use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities, use ratio reasoning to solve problems, find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100, and make tables of equivalent ratios. These foundational skills are important as in 7th grade and beyond, students will do quite a bit of work applying ratios to word problems and put proportions to use as analytical tools.

Statistics and Probability
6th grade is a formative time in mathematics as students become exposed to statistics and probability. As students exit 6th grade they need to be able to solve for mean, median, and range, and understand the shape and composition of a data set. Students in 7th grade will be using these skills and data sets to draw inferences about a population, compare populations based on data, and calculate probabilities of chance events.

The Number System
As students leave 6th grade they must be able to divide multi-digit numbers and fractions; fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals; find the greatest common factor of two whole numbers; and understand the ordering and absolute values of rational numbers. As algebra skills take more prominence in 7th and 8th grade, students will need to trust their core computational skills as they become smaller steps in larger analytical problems.

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Math Assessment – 6th Grade

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Critical Skills for English Language Arts

Evaluate the Argument and Claims in a Text
When students exit the 6th grade they should be able to find an argument or a claim in a text and evaluate what that argument or claim is stating and how it is supported. Students should be able to distinguish claims or arguments that are supported by evidence from claims or arguments that are not. When students move into 7th grade they will dive deeper into the logic of arguments, assessing whether the reasoning is sound, the evidence is relevant, and the evidence supports the claim. Students will move past just identifying the information but analyzing and explaining why their evidence is satisfactory.

Use Pronouns in the Proper Form
In 6th grade, students will work with a variety of pronouns, and by the end of the year, they should be able to master the use of subjective, objective, possessive, and intensive pronouns. They should also be able to correct vague pronouns or inappropriate shifts in pronoun number or person. In the 7th grade, students will be introduced to more complex grammar conventions such as clauses, phrases, modifiers, and coordinate adjectives. The use of proper pronoun forms will help students make their writing more clear and easy to understand as they move into more research-based writing.

Interpret Figures of Speech in Context
As 6th graders finish out the school year they should be able to interpret figures of speech in the context of a passage or text set. Students should be able to identify and interpret personification, hyperbole, and alliteration in context. In previous grades, they were introduced to similes, metaphors, and idioms and these are still present in middle school text. In 7th grade, students will see new types of figurative language and figures of speech such as literary, biblical, and mythological allusions. A firm grasp on the interpretation of figures of speech is essential as students read and interpret more challenging material and add style and nuance to their own writing.

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ELA Assessment – 6th Grade

Our smart learning system can assess your student, identify their strengths and weaknesses in a subject, and recommend learning tools to help them improve their mastery.
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