How Old Are 1st Graders

How Old Are 1st Graders?

Most 1st graders in the US (Year 2 in the UK) are between the ages of 6 and 7. They typically start the 1st grade at the age of 6 and finish at the age of 7.

This applies to 1st grade learners in both the US and the UK. Except that the naming conventions differ as the 1st grade equivalent in the UK is Year 2.

The reason being the UK calls their kindergarten equivalent Year 1 while the US calls it kindergarten. This means 1st grade in the US becomes Year 2 in the UK and subsequent grade levels follow suit.

But while the majority of students in the 1st grade fall within the 6 to 7 age range, it’s not unusual to find younger and older students at this grade level. The youngest in the class may be as young as 5 years old in the 1st grade.

Reasons behind this may vary depending on the state, the child’s date of birth, and many more. We will take a look at that later in this article but before that, let’s look at the typical ages of pre-tertiary students in the US and the UK.

Grade-Age Table (US & UK)

While the age range of students in both the US and the UK are similar, you can see from the table below that the naming conventions are different. Kindergarten in the US becomes Year 1 in the UK.

This means 1st grade in the US becomes the equivalent of Year 2 in the UK. Unfortunately, this can be confusing for those who’re unfamiliar with this naming convention.

GradeAge RangeCalled In USCalled In UK
Kindergarten5-6KindergartenYear 1
1st grade6-71st gradersYear 2
2nd grade7-82nd gradersYear 3
3rd grade8-93rd gradersYear 4
4th grade9-104th gradersYear 5
5th grade10-115th gradersYear 6
6th grade11-126th gradersYear 7
7th grade12-137th gradersYear 8
8th grade13-148th gradersYear 9
9th grade14-159th graders (Freshman)Year 10
10th grade15-1610th graders (Sophomore)Year 11
11th grade16-1711th graders (Junior)Year 12 (Lower 6th)
12th grade17-1812th graders (Senior)Year 13 (Upper 6th)

Learn more from these other posts:

Factors That Affect The Age Of Pre-Tertiary Students

While the majority of students at any respective grade level fall within an age range, it’s not uncommon to find students who do not fall within these age ranges. These students may either be younger or older than the majority of their peers at the same grade level.

What causes this may differ but we’ll be taking a look at some of the most popular ones.

Early School Entry

Some kids may begin school earlier than the majority of their peers, depending on their date of birth and the district cut-off.

It is therefore common to see kids as young as 4 years old in kindergarten, despite the fact that the majority of their friends would be 5 years old by this point. Those children would turn five in a few months.

Even though they will turn five in a few months, if a child who will turn five in November is admitted and your state’s cutoff is in August, they will still be younger than most of their peers.

Let’s take a look at the cut-off age for entry into kindergarten in various states across the US.

US States Kindergarten Cut-Off

StateCut-Off
Alabama5 years of age on or before September 1
Alaska5 years of age before August 15
Arizona5 years of age before September 1
Arkansas5 years old on or before August 1
California5 years old on or before September 1
Colorado5 years old on or before October 1
Connecticut5 years old on or before January 1
Delaware5 years of age on or before August 31
Florida5 years old on or before September 1
Georgia5 years old by September 1
Hawaii5 years old on or before July 31
Idaho5 years old on or before September 1
Illinois5 years old on or before September 1
Indiana5 years old on or before August 1
Iowa5 years old on or before September 15
Kansas5 years old on or before August 31
Kentucky5 years old by August 1
Louisiana5 years old on or before September 30
Maine5 on or before October 15
Maryland5 years old on or before September 1
Michigan5 years old by September 1
Minnesota5 years of age by September 1
Mississippi5 on or before September 1
Missouri5 years old before August 1
Montana5 years old on or before September 10
Nebraska5 years old on or before July 31
Nevada5 years old on or before September 30
New Mexico5 years old by September 1
North Carolina5 years old on or before August 31
North Dakota5 years old before August 1
Oklahoma5 years old on or before September 1
Oregon5 years old on or before September 1
Rhode Island5 years old on or before September 1
South Carolina5 years old on or before September 1
South Dakota5 years old on or before September 1
Tennessee5 years old on or before August 15
Texas5 years old on or before September 1
Utah5 years old before September 2
Virginia5 years old on or before September 30
Washington5 years old before midnight August 31
West Virginia5 years of age by September 1
Wisconsin5 years old on or before September 1
Wyoming5 years old on or before September 15
District of Columbia5 years old on or before September 30

Late School Entry

Late school entry may also result from the child’s date of birth and the cut-off in their district. But another popular cause is redshirting, which is a term for the practice of postponing age-eligible children’s entrance into kindergarten.

Reasons for redshirting may differ depending on the parent but the most popular is to allow children extra time for socio-emotional, intellectual, or physical growth.

It’s not all bad though as redshirting has its advantages. Unfortunately, some argue that the disadvantages of redshirting overshadow any advantages as it can lead to behavior issues from students.

Obviously, such students end up mostly older than the majority of their peers in the same class.

Grade Retention

No one likes repeating a grade but it’s not uncommon in most schools. Students who underperform are forced to repeat the grade to better prepare for the next grade.

This is only one reason though as there’re several reasons why a student may repeat a grade. Unfortunately, the first thought that comes to mind when the topic of grade repetition comes to mind is poor academic performance.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for repeating a grade.

  • Illness
  • Emotional trauma
  • Relocation and more
  • Developmental immaturity

While the benefits of grade retention are argued in various academic circles, students who repeat a grade, in most cases, end up older than the majority of their peers in the same grade level.

Relocation

Frequent school transfers may cause students to fall behind. This is more likely to occur when the student’s credits do not meet the requirements for their current grade level.

Maintaining their present grade levels may be challenging for them as they struggle to integrate into their new school and curriculum.

Special Education Services

Students who receive special education services may progress through education at a different pace than their peers. A typical example is a student who receives special education services may take longer to complete the curriculum for their grade.

Additionally, students receiving special education services have individual education plans (IEP) that are tailored to their strengths.

Language Barriers

Particularly for immigrant students who are unfamiliar with the language of instruction in their new country, language can prove to be a significant hurdle.

They would require time to become accustomed to their new educational system and master the language. Unfortunately, this can lead to underperformance as students find it difficult to comprehend lessons, complete tasks, and even read their notes.

They may need to repeat one or more grades as they work to get more accustomed to the language of teaching, depending on how quickly they can adjust to their new environment and curriculum.

Academic Prowess

We’ve all seen such students at some point in our academic journeys. There’s always that brilliant kid who skipped a grade or more because their age-appropriate grade wasn’t challenging enough for them.

Schools may even offer advanced classes for such students to learn materials covered at higher levels. Such students are always younger than their peers at the same grade level.

Illness & Trauma

Students who miss a lot of classes due to illness or trauma could end up having to repeat one or more grades. It’s not unusual for such students to be older than the majority of their peers.

What Subjects Do 1st Graders Cover

The standard courses covered at the 1st grade level are:

  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts

Skills Acquired In 1st Grade

By the time students leave the 1st grade, they should have acquired these skills:

Math Skills

  • Count to 120 by groups of small numbers such as 2s, 5s, and 10s. Be able to recognize and write numbers up to 120
  • Understand concepts such as “equal to” or “greater than” as well as addition and subtraction; become familiar with symbols such as “+,” “-,” “=,” “<,” “>”
  • Add and subtract numbers up to 20 in their head
  • Work with coins and add sums
  • Identify simple patterns
  • Learn how to measure sums such as length, weight
  • Understand and identify simple fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4)
  • Learn how to tell time on an analog clock

Reading & Writing Skills

  • Read books in small groups with a teacher
  • Practice independent reading
  • Be able to identify ideas and details of a story, and be able to retell events of a story in order
  • Learn words with similar patterns (such as “bat,” “sat,” and “cat”)
  • Become more skilled at using sounds of letters to read simple words
  • Expand their list of “sight words” (words that are frequently used)
  • Learn how to organize their thoughts through writing
  • Work on handwriting all upper and lowercase letters
  • Write simple words and sentences (often still without emphasis on correct spelling); use two or three sentences to create stories
  • Learn how to correctly use punctuation and capitalization in sentences
  • Understand and learn common, proper, and possessive nouns as well as personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns

Social Skills

  • Become even more adept at paying attention, following instructions, and speaking one at a time
  • Learn how to work together with classmates on a group project
  • Ability to ask questions among peers to clear up any confusion
  • Gain more confidence in expressing opinions and sharing stories, such as during morning meetings

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