Fourth Grade Standards

Your child is moving from learning to read to reading to learn. Many fourth graders are curious and will be eager to learn about things that interest them. They are more aware of others around them and can be very competitive, as well as self-critical. Their work gets harder in fourth grade. They'll need to learn to manage their time and keep track of their work.

Use this page to find out what you can expect your child to learn this year. You can also use this information to talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s progress throughout the year. You can also explore this site to find general information about learning standards, how they relate to Common Core and standardized testing.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning, we welcome you to talk with your child’s teacher.

Resources to Help at Home

Here organizations with tips and resources you can use to help your child at home:

  • National PTA Parent's Guide to Success in Fourth Grade (pdf): Includes key skills, activities you can do at home, and tips for talking to your child's teacher (in Spanish)
  • Khan Academy: Includes interactive exercises and videos to help in math, science, economics, computing and arts and humanities
  • Great Kids Fourth Grade Milestones: Includes videos to help you see what your child should be able to demonstrate in critical areas by the end of the year
  • Be a Learning Hero: Allows parents to search by state, grade and subject to find homework support resources
  • Raise the Bar Parents: provides  educational 'checkups' they to see if your child is making progress toward meeting the standards. The site also includes resources to help students improve

Your child’s teachers can also share more tips and suggest activities to strengthen your child’s skills at home. 

English Language Arts (ELA): Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking

In fourth grade, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. They will build the stamina and skills to read more challenging literature, articles and other sources of information and continue to grow their vocabulary. They will be expected to clearly explain in detail what they have read by referring to details or information from the text. In writing, students will organize their ideas and develop topics with reasons, facts, details and other information.

  • Refers to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says; draws inferences from the text
  • Reads grade-level text smoothly with accuracy and fluency at the rate of 115 words correct per minute at the end of fourth grade
  • Reads and summarizes stories from diverse cultures; determines a theme/main idea, character, setting or event in a story, drama or poem from details in the text
  • Reads texts about history, social studies or science to explain events, procedures, ideas or concepts
  • Compares and contrasts similar themes or topics and points of view from which different stories and/or events are narrated or described
  • Explains how the author uses reasons and evidence to support points in a text ď‚·Learns and uses new words, including words related to specific subjects
  • Learns the rules of spoken and written English
  • Participates in class discussions by listening, asking questions, sharing ideas paraphrasing and building on the ideas of others
  • Gathers and interprets information gained from words and illustrations (such as maps, pictures, etc.) from multiple sources to build understanding on a topic
  • Clearly presents information orally using relevant facts and details
  • Writes about events, provides information on a topic or states an opinion, supporting a point of view with reasons


In fourth grade, students learn efficient ways to divide whole numbers. They apply what they know about division to solve problems, using estimation and mental math skills to decide whether their results are reasonable. This emphasis on division gives students a complete set of tools for adding, subtraction, multiplying and dividing whole numbers — basic skills for everyday life and further study of mathematics. 
The Standards for Mathematical Practice K-12 describe behaviors that all students will develop in the Washington State Learning Standards. These practices rest on important “processes and proficiencies,” including problem-solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation and making connections. These practices will allow students to understand and apply mathematics with confidence.

Operations and algebraic thinking

  • Uses the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems
  • Gains familiarity with factors and multiples
  • Generates and analyzes patterns

Number and operations in base 10

  • Generalizes place value understanding for multi-digit whole numbers
  • Uses place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic

Number and operations: fractions

  • Extends understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering
  • Builds fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers
  • Understands decimal notation from fractions, and compares decimal fractions 

Measurement and data

  • Solves problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit
  • Represents and interprets data
  • Understands concepts of angle and measures angles


  • Draws and identifies lines and angles, and classifies shapes by properties of their lines and angles

For detailed information about math standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website



Our state is currently in the process of updating science standards and this transition is expected to take several years. Many elements of these standards already appear in our classrooms. Our new state science standards are designed to help your child learn to answer questions and solve problems using scientific and engineering practices. Your child will learn about the core ideas, the practices, and the key concepts used by scientist and engineers in the real world. Each year, your child will build on what they learned in earlier grades. Your child may learn skills and knowledge in these broad areas:

Science and Engineering Practices

Science instruction at most grade-levels will include the following practices:

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models, such as diagrams, drawings or computer simulations 
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

The following areas of study will all be addressed over time:

  • Physical sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Earth and space sciences
  • Engineering, technology and applications of science

Crosscutting Concepts

Students will learn about the following important concepts that span across all fields of science and engineering:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect: mechanism and explanation 
  • Scale, proportion and quantity 
  • Energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation 
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change

Social Studies

Through units of study of Washington State History including local tribes, the pioneer expeditions through Statehood (1889), students will build knowledge and skills in history, geography, economics and civics with the goal of developing responsible citizenship.

  • Understands concepts and content including map skills and Washington state history and geography
  • Applies research skills (acquires, organizes, analyzes and presents information)
  • Participates in projects and activities

For more detailed information about standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website.

Health & Fitness

Students develop the concepts and skills necessary for a safe, active and healthy life.


  • Defines components of fitness (muscular strength and muscular endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition) and how they are used in daily activities, monitors self progress
  • Lists key nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) in appropriate food groups, analyzes caloric intake and expenditure, and recognizes how food selection affects health 
  • Describes function of muscular, skeletal, cardiorespiratory systems
  • Sets goals for improving health and fitness 


  • Exhibits fundamental and complex movement skills (kicks, dribbles, volleys, strikes, catches, throws) with control and while moving
  • Understands proper use of equipment
  • Understands and follows rules as applied to specific activities 

Arts & Music

In the visual arts, music and creative movement, students acquire knowledge and skills to create, perform and respond in the arts and in other content areas.

Visual arts

  • Identifies and creates textures
  • Identifies and uses complementary colors
  • Increases control of tools and process techniques

Music/instrumental music

Students have the opportunity to perform and improvise in a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles. They:

  • Experience, explore, and discover a variety of types and styles of music, including diverse cultural genres and music from various historical periods
  • Use musical skills and techniques to identify and explore the elements of music

For detailed information about arts learning standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website