How Old Are 3rd Graders?

How Old Are 3rd Graders

Assuming they start kindergarten at the typical age of 5 years, 3rd graders in the United States (Year 4 in the UK) are typically 8 or 9 years of age. They typically enter the 3rd grade at the age of 8 and graduate at the age of 9.

This age range applies to 3rd graders in both the UK and the US. The naming convention is a bit different depending on the country. For instance, the UK’s equivalent to 3rd grade is Year 4.

This is because the UK’s first post-preschool level is called Year 1 while the US calls it kindergarten. This makes 1st grade in the US, equivalent to Year 2 in the UK.

Keep in mind that both countries have the same 13 pre-tertiary levels if we don’t count preschool. The naming convention means the last pre-tertiary level becomes Year 13 in the UK with the equivalent in the US becoming 12th grade.

You should also note that while the majority of students in the 3rd grade (Year 4 in the UK) are either 8 or 9 years old, it’s not unusual to find a few students who may be younger or even older.

This can result from various factors we will be looking at in this article. But first, let’s take a look at the typical age range of pre-tertiary students.

Grade-Age Table (US & UK)

While the age range of students in the US and UK are similar, you can see from the table that the UK’s naming convention starts from Year 1, the equivalent of kindergarten in the US.

Both systems have 13-grade levels (preschool not included) starting from elementary but the naming convention is different. Unfortunately, this sometimes confuses those who are unfamiliar with these naming conventions.

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 grade14-15FreshmanYear 10
10th grade15-16SophomoreYear 11
11th grade16-17JuniorYear 12
12th grade17-18SeniorYear 13

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Factors That Affect The Age Of 3rd Graders

It’s not uncommon to find students who may be younger or older than the majority of their peers at the same grade level. And while the reasons behind this may differ, we’ll be taking a look at the most common.

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.

Late School Entry

Similar to early entry, late entry may also result from the child’s date of birth and the cut-off in their district. However, another popular cause of late school entry is redshirting.

It’s a term for the practice of postponing age-eligible children’s entrance into kindergarten. Parents who believe their kids need additional time for socio-economic, intellectual, and physical growth may delay their kids starting school.

And while redshirting may have its advantages, researchers believe it leads to behavioral problems in students. But it shouldn’t come as any surprise that such students end up older than the majority of their peers at the same grade level.

Grade Retention

Grade repetition is an obvious factor. Students who repeat a grade would end up older than their peers in the same class.

The reasons for repeating a student may vary though. Unfortunately, poor academic performance is usually the first thing that comes to people’s minds when the topic of grade retention comes up.

The truth is that students may repeat grades due to various other reasons besides academic performance. This includes:

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


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 3rd Graders Cover

The standard courses covered at the 3rd grade level are:

  • Mathematics
  • Language Arts (reading, writing)
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technology (computers, keyboarding)
  • Physical Education (PE)
  • Art, Music, and/or Foreign Language

Skills Acquired In 3rd Grade

By the time students leave the 3rd grade, they should have acquired these skills:

Social Skills

  • Able to follow routines and rules
  • Eager to see friends at school
  • Works, plays, and shares with others
  • Able to work on group projects like science experiments
  • Understands and shares jokes and riddles
  • Seeks adult help when needed
  • Takes on more responsibilities

Reading & Writing Skills

  • Expanded vocabulary
  • Describe characters in a story
  • Understand the different genres of fiction
  • Determine the main idea and details in non-fiction texts
  • Use and understand text features in non-fiction texts
  • Use context clues to learn new vocabulary
  • Compare and contrast information from texts
  • Use thinking maps to organize their ideas
  • Revise and edit their writing
  • Write in paragraphs using transition words
  • Write in cursive
  • Understand parts of speech: noun, verb, and adjective
  • Correctly use basic punctuation
  • Understand prefixes, suffixes, and homophones
  • Use reference books such as the dictionary and thesaurus
  • Support opinions in expository writing

Math Skills

  • Read and write large numbers through the hundred thousands, knowing the place value for each digit
  • Round and compare numbers
  • Understand equivalent fractions, compare fractions, and change mixed numbers to improper fractions
  • Know decimals to the one-hundredth place
  • Use number lines
  • Recognize and write patterns
  • Do mental addition and subtraction
  • Add four-digit numbers
  • Subtract with regrouping
  • Know time to minute and elapsed time in minutes
  • Read and make graphs
  • Determine a shape’s perimeter and area
  • Recognize two-dimensional shapes
  • Measure with both Customary and Metric systems – length, weight, volume, and temperature
  • Multiply three and four-digit numbers
  • Divide two and three-digit dividends

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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