Fifth Grade Standards

Your fifth grader may seem mature one moment and immature the next. Their social lives are becoming more complex, which can sometimes make it a little hard to focus on schoolwork and build pressure to "fit in." Many are very chatty. Often, fifth graders can think logically to solve problems and concentrate longer. This allows them to do more challenging 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 Fifth 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 Fifth 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 fifth grade, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.


  • Understand key ideas and details of fiction and nonfiction texts
  • Work with the authors' style and organization of a piece of fiction or nonfiction (known by teachers as craft and structure)
  • Use the information in illustrations and words to better understand the meaning of the text (known by teachers as integration of knowledge and ideas)
  • Read from a variety of selections of various complexity


  • Write arguments, informative and narrative styles
  • Plan, revise and edit their writing
  • Research to build and present knowledge
  • Write for a variety of tasks, purposes and audiences

Speaking & Listening

  • Prepare to participate in a range of conversations
  • Present information in a variety of formats to various audiences


  • Understand conventions of standard English grammar
  • Develop and use age-appropriate academic vocabulary 

Foundational Skills

  • Know and apply grade-level phonics to decode words
  • Increase reading fluency to better understand a text

For detailed information about ELA standards, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction's English Language Arts Learning Standards page.


In fifth grade, students extend their knowledge about adding and subtracting whole numbers to learning procedures for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals. Students apply these procedures, along with mental math and estimation, to solve a wide range of problems that involve more of the types of numbers students see in other school subjects and in their lives.

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

  • Writes and interprets numerical expressions
  • Analyzes patterns and relationships

Number and operations in base 1

  • Understands the place value system
  • Performs operations with multi-digit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths

Number and operations: fractions

  • Uses equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions
  • Applies and extends previous understanding of multiplication and division to multiply and divide fractions

Measurement and data

  • Converts like measurement units within a given measurement system
  • Represents and interprets data
  • Understands concepts of volume and relates volume to multiplication and to addition


  • Graphs points on the coordinate plane to solve real-world and mathematical problems
  • Classifies two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties

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 United State History Pre-Explorers- the beginning of the Nation, 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 United States 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


  • Relates components of fitness (muscular strength and muscular endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance, body composition) to appropriate assessments, monitors and self analyzes progress
  • Compares/contrasts food labels for nutritional value, explains the impact of healthy eating on physical/academic performance
  • Describes how diet affects overall health 
  • Uses fitness assessment results to set individual realistic goals, develops plan to improve fitness scores 


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

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

Arts & Music

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

Visual Arts

  • Identifies and uses visual art vocabulary and concepts
  • Identifies and uses basic visual art skills and techniques


Understand and perform a variety of types and styles of music, including diverse cultural genres and music from various historical periods
Use musical skills and techniques to explore and apply the elements of music.

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