How Old Are 5th Graders?

How Old Are 5th Graders

Assuming students weren’t held back and started kindergarten at the typical age of 5, the majority of 5th graders are between the ages of 10 and 11 years of age. They normally begin the 5th grade at 10 and finish at 11 years.

In the UK, Year 6 is the equivalent of 5th grade in the US. This is because UK’s grade levels start from Year 1 which is equivalent to kindergarten in the US.

The US has the same 13 levels as the UK, only that the US doesn’t call kindergarten the first grade. This can sometimes be confusing for those unfamiliar with these differences.

That said, it’s not uncommon to find 9 or 12-year-old students in the 5th grade. While the reasons behind this may vary, the most common include late or early admission or simply grade repetition.

Grade-Age Table (US & UK)

Let’s take a look at the age range of students at the pre-tertiary levels in the UK and the US. You should note that although the age range of students in both places may be similar, UK’s system starts from Year 1 with the equivalent kindergarten in the US.

Both countries have a total of 13 pre-tertiary levels even though the US’s system starts from kindergarten. This means the final grade level at the pre-tertiary level is grade 12 in the US while the equivalent in the UK is Year 13.

Keep in mind that, although the age range outlined in this table represents the typical age range of most students at those grade levels, some students may be older or younger than their peers in the same grade.

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 5th Graders

So why are some students younger or older than the typical age of students at that level of education?

Early School Entry

While the typical age for entry into kindergarten is 5 years old, you’ll sometimes find 4-year-olds in kindergarten. Students who start kindergarten at such a young age would be younger than their peers who entered at the typical age of 5 years.

Late School Entry

This is also referred to as redshirting which is the practice of postponing age-eligible children’s entrance into kindergarten.

Reasons, why parents may delay their kids’ entry into kindergarten, may vary depending on the individual parent.

The most popular reason being; to allow the children extra time for socio-emotional, intellectual, or physical growth.

While redshirting may have its advantages, these students end up older than their peers in the same class.

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


Students who transfer frequently between schools may be held back. This can easily happen especially in cases where the student’s credits do not align with the criteria for their current grade level.

Integrating into their new school and curriculum can also become a problem which can make it difficult for them to keep up with their current grade levels.

Special Education Needs

Students with special education needs may have learning problems that make it more difficult for them to learn than the majority of their peers.

They may need additional time to complete the required coursework before they can be promoted to the next grade level.

This can result in the student repeating a grade making them, most likely, older than the majority of their peers in the same grade.

Language Barriers

While it may depend on the student’s native language (immigrant) or the language they’re conversant with, adapting to a different language can be challenging.

If the student is already conversant with the language of academic instruction, they would easily adapt to their academic environment.

Unfortunately, this can become a challenge in cases where students find it difficult adapting to the language of instruction in the new country.

This can result in underperformance and possible repetition. In such cases, the student may end up older than the majority of their peers in the same grade.

Academic Prowess

Some schools may offer advanced classes for academically gifted students. This may cover material typically taught at higher levels than their current grade levels.

Lessons provided at their current levels may be unchallenging for these students especially since they already mastered the necessary skills and concepts other kids may be struggling to get.

It’s not rare to see such kids skipping a grade but there’re cases where such students may skip multiple grade levels. These students are typically always younger than their peers in the same grade levels.

What Subjects Do 5th Graders Cover

The standard courses covered at the 5th-grade level are:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Physical education
  • Arts/Crafts/Music
  • Language Arts
  • Technology (Robotics, coding, computers)

Skills Acquired In 5th Grade

By the time students leave the 5th grade, they should be able to acquire these skills

Reading And Writing Skills

  • Identify the main plots of stories and explain how authors use facts and evidence to back up the context
  • Summarize comprehension passages and answer questions about them
  • Comprehend information presented in charts, graphs, and drawings 
  • Use certain vocabularies
  • Use information extracted from illustrations, maps, and charts to answer questions
  • Give a class presentation on a given topic using facts, details, and specific vocabulary
  • Participate in group discussions and debates

Social Skills

  • Learns to work, play, and share with others
  • Identify the continents and the different regions of the world
  • Know the 50 states and capitals 
  • Participates in debates, group discussions, and presentations
  • Participate in arts and cultural studies
  • Know important dates in history
  • Identify seasons and weather differences

Math Skills

  • Solve multi-step mathematics and units of measurement problems
  • Know the timetables up to 12
  • Create fractions and identify fractions their numerator and denominator
  • Use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve word problems
  • Identify and create fractions that are equal to each other (3/6 and 1/2)
  • Compare fractions and decimals using > (more/greater than), = (equal to), and < (less than)

Is 5th Grade Elementary Or Middle School

5th grade is the final year of elementary school, although some schools consider it to be the first year of middle school education. Since this is debated, a few schools simply call it upper elementary.

But the truth is that most educational institutions in the United States consider elementary school to be K-5.

The US Education Levels And Ages

Let’s take a look at the ages of students and the typical grade levels that corresponds to these. Keep in mind that this only applies to students who started kindergarten at the typical age of 5 years.


This is also referred to as early childhood education. It’s pre-kindergarten and students are typically between the ages of 3 to 5 years old. That said, it’s not uncommon for a busy parent to send their kid to preschool at the age of 2 years old.

Education LevelAge Range
Preschool3 to 5 years old

Elementary School

This level of education starts from kindergarten to 5th grade. Students typically start this grade at the age of 5 years old. Keep in mind that this level of education is also referred to as primary education.

Assuming they proceed through the grades one by one, they should be 10 years old by the time they enter elementary school and 11 years old by the time they finish their primary education.

Grade LevelAge Range
Kindergarten (K)5 to 6 years old
1st grade6 to 7 years old
2nd grade7 to 8 years old
3rd grade8 to 9 years old
4th grade9 to 10 years old
5th grade10 to 11 years old

Middle School

Middle school is also referred to as junior high school. It starts from grades 6 to 8 and students typically range from 11 years to 14.

They typically start the 6th grade at 11 and complete by 14. Keep in mind that the age range of students at this level of education may vary as it’s not rare to find students who are either younger or older than the typical age range of most students at the middle school level.

GradeAge RangeStudents Called
6th grade11-126th graders
7th grade12-137th graders
8th grade13-148th graders

High School

High school starts from grades 9 to 12 and the ages of students at this level range from 14 to 18 years. Students typically enter high school at the age of 14 and complete by the time they are 18.

It’s also not rare to find students who may be younger or older than the typical ages of their peers at the same level.

High school levels also have unique names and students at these levels are referred to by these names.

GradeAge RangeStudents Called
9th grade14-15Freshmen
10th grade15-16Sophomores
11th grade16-17Juniors
12th grade17-18Seniors

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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