US Primary Benchmarks: What to expect of your Fourth Grader

Benchmarks are Key for Academic Success

"The work is ramping up this year, but I don't see any feedback on the homework. Is my childmeeting the right expectations?"

All concerned parents feel this at least once during Fourth grade -- especially in Hong Kong's competitive education system. As primary school is when the foundations are laid for academic success, it is valuable to understand expected academic, development benchmarks. Here, BartyED’s US primary specialists examine some of the key skills children should develop by the end of Fourth grade. The benchmarks below can be used as an easy diagnostic at home to determine your child's current performance. If your child is in a higher or lower grade, it is worth checking to see where they fall against these and earlier benchmarks. Click here to review our Third Grade Benchmarks.

What should I be expecting of my child in Fourth Grade?

Fourth Grade is about taking existing skills further:
In Math, students should be fluent with the four basic operations and move onto fractions and decimals. Addition and subtraction of decimals should be mastered by this stage as well as long multiplication. The latter builds on simple multiplication and should be grasped through repeated practice, however mastery of multiplication tables is essential if students are to secure this new skill. Students should have gained enough fine motor control by the end of fourth grade to write out a math exercise neatly on graph paper.

For reading, students at fourth grade level are expected to use a range of strategies when drawing meaning from a text, such as prediction, connections, and inference. You can help this at home by asking leading questions of what your child has read (e.g. how would you feel if you were in [character x’s] situation?) Coding of vocabulary from working to medium-term memory should also be more developed at this stage and students should have better active memorization skills (e.g. being able to learn and recite a short poem.)

Writing and expression should be more sophisticated at this stage with clearly delineated paragraphs for different ideas or sections of a narrative. At a sentence level, students’ writing should also be more developed with use of subordinate and relative clauses. By the end of fourth grade students should be able to produce a structured paragraph with a topic sentence, three supporting details, and a closing sentence which wraps up the main point. In basic analytical writing they should also be able to include quotations accurately. There should also be an awareness of the distinction between commonly mistaken homophones e.g. they’re/their/there and two/too/to.