The Importance of Your Child's Middle School GPA

Teacher helping middle school student in class

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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 in Middle School

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 their middle school GPA.

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 they perform 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 their 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 for many students, the middle school years can be a time of adjustment and even 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 Middle Schooler's Grades Are Suffering

If your child is struggling with their 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 whole family. Instead, focus on how to help your child be the student they hope 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 they encounter homework problems, or consider hiring them 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 their challenges, come up with solutions, and then work together to set a goal for them 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 for 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 their math skills so that they are well prepared for when they do tackle those high school courses.

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

When to 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 them to get straight A's or be at the very head of their 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 at risk for developing low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or stress.

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

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  1. American Psychological Association. Middle school malaise. 2019.

  2. KidsHealth from Nemours. 10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School. Updated August 2018.

  3. Ciciolla L, Curlee AS, Karageorge J, Luthar SS. When Mothers and Fathers Are Seen as Disproportionately Valuing Achievements: Implications for Adjustment Among Upper Middle Class Youth. J Youth Adolesc. 2017;46(5):1057-1075. doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0596-x