What Parents Should Know About Middle School and GPA

Your tween's GPA will also determine her class standing.
Your support can help your child boost her GPA. Don Mason/Blend Images/Getty Images

Middle school is a time of transition for many students. As kids prepare themselves for high school and beyond, they have to give up the often nurturing environment of the elementary school for the realities of middle school.

Good Study Habits Are Key

If you're the parent of a middle schooler, you may be concerned about your child's grade point average (GPA). There are a few things to consider when you review your child's grades and his or her middle school GPA.

For starters, the most important goal during the middle school years is for your child to develop strong study habits, to continue to embrace learning, and to value education in general. Grades, of course, are important. But your child's attitude about school and learning is potentially even more important. And, if your child develops strong study habits now (as opposed to coasting through middle school with little or no effort), that could play an important factor in how he or she does in high school, college, and beyond. Since middle school grades only count toward your high school GPA if you take high school classes, you can think of this as a transitional period for your child to get used to how high school will be and to learn how to do his or her best.

Middle School Is Challenging

Keep in mind that some students struggle in middle school, but excel in high school. Why? Well, consider the fact that the middle school years are often years of adjustment and difficulty.

Bullying peaks in middle school, and as students go through the changes of puberty, they're often confronted with a multitude of issues including their own self-awareness, the constant need to be accepted by their peers, and trying to figure out where they fit in.

What to Do If Your Child Is Struggling

If your child is struggling with his or her grades in middle school, here's what you can do to help:

  • Concentrate on the potential problems and resolve to fix them together. Worrying about your child's GPA will only cause additional stress on the family. Instead, focus on how to help your child be the student he or she hopes to be, and if necessary, work with the school guidance counselor or your child's teachers to problem solve academic challenges.
  • Offer to help your child if he encounters homework problems, or consider hiring her a tutor to tackle specific academic challenges.
  • Refrain from placing additional stress on your tween by demanding a certain grade by the end of the semester. Instead, review his challenges, come up with solutions, and then together set a goal for him to achieve.
  • Consider offering a reward for hard work. As adults, we often reward ourselves for a job well done. Knowing there's a reward at the end can be motivational to kids as well.

Taking High School Courses

Some middle school students may take high school courses during the middle school years. That's great for students who are ready to cover the high school material but may be a bit of a stretch for others. If your child isn't ready to take Algebra or Geometry, it might be better to spend the middle school years building his math skills so that he's well prepared when he does tackle those high school courses.

If your child does take a high school course and doesn't do well, most high schools will allow her to take the course over and remove the original grade from high school transcripts.

Ease up on the Pressure

If your child is doing well in middle school, is happy, and has friends, count yourself lucky and refrain from placing too much pressure on him to get straight A's or be at the very head of her class. Students who truly want to shine will do so anyway and probably don't need a whole lot of parental pressure. Other students who are pressured by their parents to constantly receive high grades, especially when they're not capable of them, may be in danger of suffering from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or stress.

In other words, know your child and support him or her in working to his or her highest potential, whether that's A's, B's, or C's. For now, that's the best way to prepare him or her for college and for life in the adult world.​