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The Skills Every Student Needs for a Successful Grade Transition

The Skills Every Student Needs for a Successful Grade Transition

As we roll through the summer, it’s time to start thinking about how students can be best positioned for success when that first school bell rings. Some grade transitions are more difficult than others, like going from elementary to middle school, but the students who have mastered the following intangible skills will handle any transition more smoothly than their peers.

Time management

Time is a relative concept, which means that every student has a different feeling about it. The younger a student is, the slower time seems to travel. This causes many students to procrastinate, especially at the beginning of a school year when they are unfamiliar with the expectations of their new grade level.

Dragging their feet can be solved by helping students break larger periods of time into manageable chunks and milestones. Over the summer, parents can help by pointing out how long it is until certain events, like a trip for vacation or back-to-school shopping, rather than just the first day of school and then by sticking to a schedule to get there. When school starts, teachers can model time management by building in milestones for assignments so that students can see the progression of schoolwork rather than just the countdown to the final product. In both cases, adults need to be proactive about marking the passage of time until the next milestone.

Personal responsibility

Summer is a time of often being able to shirk responsibility. That offers a sharp contrast to the first day of school, where students will be asked to get themselves to places on time, acquire important information about assignments and deadlines, and behave in a more businesslike manner. Adults can help children transition by giving them opportunities for responsibility during the summer. Taking a trip? Let your child plan the itinerary, the budget, or both. Going back-to-school shopping? Work as an advisor asfinds everything on the list rather than a manager.

Questioning strategies and asking for help

The summer slide is real. Even last year’s accomplished student may struggle on certain skills come the start of the school year. The difference between students who may continue to stay behind the pace and ones who can catch up is their ability to ask the right questions when they find themselves lacking understanding. In school, these skills are developed through teacher modeling and frequent checks for comprehension. Outside of school, parents can also model questioning by putting themselves and their children in situations where they are investigating something new. The children will see that even parents sometimes don’t have all the answers but are unafraid to find them.


It’s natural for the adults in children’s lives to warn them about upcoming challenges, like a new school or the increased responsibility of the next grade level. But children tend to already know these things, even subconsciously. In fact, they may be experiencing some anxiety about these challenges that they are uncomfortable expressing. Every student needs confidence to conquer a new situation, so cut back on the warnings and start adding in some more positive affirmation. 

Looking for more resources to help students as they move into the next grade? Check out four ways that Edmentum Assessments can support students during times of transition!