# Getting the most out of 7th grade

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

#### Key Takeaways

These are the most critical skills a 7th grader should master before entering 8th grade:

Math:
1. Expressions and Equations
2. Geometry
3. Ratios and Proportional Relationships
4. Statistics and Probability

English Language Arts:
1. Reading to Determine the Author's Point of View
2. Know Word Definitions and Use Context Clues
3. Distinguish Connotations of Words with Similar Denotations

Find out which 7th grade skills your student needs to work on by taking our learning assessments:

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## Critical Skills for Math

Expressions and Equations
7th grade is a formative year for algebra and problem solving skills. Graduating 7th graders should be able to add, subtract, factor, and expand linear expressions; generate equivalent expressions; solve multi-step real-world problems with any type of rational number (positive or negative whole numbers, fractions, and decimals); and use variables to translate word problems into equations and inequalities. Mastering these skills will set incoming 8th graders up for success when their algebraic tasks become more complex, solving sequences of equations, writing and graphing equations of linear expressions, and solving equations in multi-step algebra problems.

Geometry
In 7th grade, students will dramatically expand their geometry skill set. By the end of the year, they should be able to calculate the area of circles, triangles, and rectangles and the volume and surface area of common 3-D figures such as cubes and rectangular prisms. Students are also asked to draw, construct, and describe common geometrical figures and explain the relationships between them. These skills prepare students for 8th grade, when they will begin working with proofs, transformations and dilations in the coordinate plane, and the Pythagorean Theorem.

Ratios and Proportional Relationships
Having been introduced to ratios and proportions in 6th grade, 7th graders spend much of the year applying ratios and proportions to problem solving. They should be able to compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities, and solve multistep ratio and percent problems, including those about sales taxes and discounts. These skills will compound in 8th grade, when word problems take on more algebraic and graphing components and students need to create equations and graphs using ratios, proportions, and percentages.

Statistics and Probability
7th grade marks a major transformation in the way that students think about data. Having learned about the core concepts of mean, median, range, and distributions in 6th grade, 7th graders must now be able to use data to draw inferences and comparisons about populations. And probability is a new concept for most 7th graders; by the end of the year they should be able to find the probability of single and compound/sequential events. In 8th grade, students will add a graphical element to their knowledge of probability and statistics, creating scatter plots of data and investigating patterns, along with building out a deeper skill set of probability calculation tools.

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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## Critical Skills for English Language Arts

Reading to Determine the Author's Point of View
By the end of their 7th grade year, students should be able to determine and summarize the author’s point of view and primary purpose in writing a literary or informational text. In comparing texts, students should be able to analyze how each author separates his or her position from others, citing details and evidence. In 8th grade, students will build on these skills in more advanced books and texts as they analyze how authors acknowledge and respond to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.

Know Word Definitions and Use Context Clues
By the end of 7th grade, students should feel confident approaching texts of various genres knowing that they have the skills necessary to face complex vocabulary. A graduating 7th grader should not only possess a wide vocabulary but also have strategies for understanding unknown words, by using context clues, deconstructing words into Greek/Latin affixes and roots, and consulting reference materials to find the precise meaning of a word. In 8th grade and into high school, students will encounter more challenging text with higher-level vocabulary and higher-stakes assignments, making it critical that they are able to self-sufficiently determine meaning even amidst challenging verbiage.

Distinguish Connotations of Words with Similar Denotations
An integral part of having a robust vocabulary involves the knowledge of the subtle differences between similar words. 7th graders should be able to recognize the slight connotation differences between words, choose the proper words for the right use cases based on connotative context, and intuit an author's intent through the author’s precise choice in diction. As students take on longer writing assignments with more selective critiques in 8th grade and beyond, employing precision in language is crucial. Furthermore, as lines of questioning about reading passages become more nuanced, this attention to precise language is often the difference between correct and incorrect answers.