What Parents Should Know about Middle School and Gpa

Help your tween understand the significance of her middle school 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

Question: I really want my child to go to college and to get into a competitive college. Should I be worried about his middle school GPA? How important is the middle school GPA?

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

That said, there are a few things to consider when you review your child's grades and his 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.

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 include their own self-awareness, the constant need to be accepted by one's peers and more.

If your child is struggling in middle school, 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 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.

Also, 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 the student to take the course over, and remove the original grade from high school transcripts.

In addition, 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 As or be at the very head of his class.

Students who truly want to shine will do so and probably don't need a whole lot of parental pressure. Other students who are pressured by their parents to constantly receive high marks may be in danger of suffering from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or stress. In other words, know your child and support him. For now, that's the best way to prepare him for college and for life in the adult world.

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