Share on Pinterest
There are no images.
En español
New Jersey State Test Guide for Parents

Your feedback is important to us

Please provide any feedback you have. Thank you!

(required)

Thank you!

Your feedback has been submitted.

  • Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers

En español

Parents' guide to PARCC testing

See what skills are tested, understand your child's scores, and get ideas for how you can help at home.

ELA/Literacy
Math

5th grade
ELA/Literacy Skills

Fifth graders’ reading is becoming more automatic and their writing is more organized. You’ll notice, for example, that they find the main ideas quickly, cite supporting evidence from text to explain their thinking. When they write, they group ideas logically and use precise language to communicate clearly.

Reading Literature (Fiction)

What it means
How to help

To meet the Reading Literature standard, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Reflect on themes in a story or poem and explain how characters respond to challenges.
  • Point to evidence, or details from the text, when comparing characters, settings, or events in a story or play.
  • Explain how the structure of literature — chapters, scenes, or stanzas — influences the meaning of the story.

Want to know more?

The Reading Literature standard refers to reading fiction, plays, and poetry. In fifth grade, texts are suddenly getting a lot more complicated. To help fifth graders understand the themes in stories, they’re taught to look closely at how characters respond to events. For example, in A Wrinkle in Time, the main character Meg uses love to help her rescue her brother from a giant monster brain. Students should be able to realize that this plot point — Meg overcomes the monster — is a clue to the theme about the power of love.

Watch how fifth graders show their understanding of what they read.

 

During class discussions and in writing, fifth graders are expected to quote directly from stories, poems, and plays to support their ideas about what they’ve read.

They also pay attention to how illustrations and multimedia can influence the meaning and how the narrator’s point of view (first person/third person) affects how the story is told.


If your child didn’t meet the Reading Literature standard…

  • Your child may have a hard time stating how a character responded to challenges experienced in a story.
  • Your child may need help finding similarities and differences between characters, settings, and events in a play or story.
  • Your child may struggle to explain how or why a play or poem is organized a particular way.
How to help

Make sure your child reads every day

A fifth grader who is struggling to understand the main idea of a text needs a lot of reading practice with modern classics like Holes or Because of Winn-Dixie. Fifth graders should be reading at least 30 minutes a day. Children who are behind need to spend extra time reading at and above their level in preparation for sixth grade – a year which brings new challenges, academically as well as emotionally. Check out these books for your fifth grader that are both wonderful stories and count as “complex texts” under the new standards.

Family reading time

Want to know one of the most powerful ways to inspire your child to read? Read for your own pleasure! Seeing you read the morning newspaper, a book before bed, or a favorite blog goes a long way toward showing your child how reading can enrich a person’s life. Establish a regular 30-minute (or more) family reading time (daily is best, but even weekly will send the right message). Everyone in the family has a book, magazine, or tablet to read. When the time ends, ask everyone to share what they learned.

Questions to ask your child about what he reads

The best way to help your child understand what he reads is to talk about it. Ask your child:

  • What’s the theme of the story you’re reading?
  • How are the characters in the story similar or different from each other?
  • How does the narrator’s point of view influence the way the events have been described?

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

Fifth graders need to be good at identifying the main point and finding evidence in what they read. Ask your child’s teacher about these skills. Is your child quick to identify the main point? When your child points to evidence, is it the strongest example, or more of an extra detail? Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses will help you figure out the best way to help him build these skills.

Reading Information (Nonfiction)

What it means
How to help

To meet the Reading Information standard, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Compare how the same event or topic is covered in two different nonfiction texts.
  • While reading nonfiction, quickly locate specific information in both print and digital sources.
  • Point to evidence used by the author to make her point.

Want to know more?

The Reading Information standard refers to reading all kinds of nonfiction. Kids are being asked to read more nonfiction ever since educators realized that many students were graduating from high school unprepared for college and careers precisely because they couldn’t read complex nonfiction.

In fifth grade, kids continue to use the skills they’ve learned in previous grades, but now more is demanded of them in some skill areas. For example, they’re asked to find more than one main idea in a text and cite the evidence supporting each.

They’re also expected to compare ideas, events, and individuals described in two different informational texts — such as a chapter from the Little House on the Prairie series and a history article about the Chippewa tribe that lived near Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family.

When reading a historical, scientific, or technical text, fifth graders should be able to explain how individuals, events, or ideas interact. For example, in an article about a mysterious disease that is killing starfish, students should connect the threat to the starfish population to the survival of the larger fish that are losing an important food source, and to the effort in Congress to fund the study of this unknown virus. Students are expected to quote directly from the article when making these connections.

Watch this video about how fifth graders build knowledge through reading.

 


If your child didn’t meet the Reading Information standard…

  • Your child may have trouble finding similarities and differences between two texts about the same topic.
  • Your child may need help locating specific information in nonfiction multimedia texts.
  • Your child may struggle with finding evidence from the text to back up specific points made by an author.
  • Your child may have difficulty summarizing more than one main idea in a text.
How to help

Make sure your child reads every day

A fifth grader struggling to understand the main idea of a text needs a lot of practice reading articles from magazines or online sources like Newsela. Fifth graders should be reading at least 30 minutes a day. Children who are behind need to spend extra time reading at and above their level in preparation for sixth grade, which can be a difficult year. Find several challenging nonfiction books for your fifth grader here.

Family reading time

Want to know one of the most powerful ways to inspire your child to read? Read for your own pleasure! Seeing you read the morning newspaper, a history book before bed, or a favorite science magazine goes a long way toward showing your child how reading can enrich a person’s life. Establish a regular 30-minute (or more) family reading time (daily is best, but weekly still sends the right message). Everyone in the family has a book, magazine, or tablet to read. When the time ends, ask everyone to share what they learned.

Questions to ask your child about what he reads

The best way to help your child understand what he reads is to talk about it. Ask your child:

  • What is this section mostly about? How do you know?
  • What evidence does the author provide to support the most important points made?
  • How are the ideas in what you’ve read related to each other
  • How would you summarize this text?
  • What are the main ideas in the text? What are the details that are important supports for those main ideas?

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

Ask your child’s teacher what areas of nonfiction reading need most support. Ask for books to recommend and resources for learning new skills.

Reading: Vocabulary

What it means
How to help

To meet the Reading Vocabulary standard, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Use context clues to understand the meaning of figurative language.
  • Know the meaning of academic words used in fifth grade texts.
  • Use a range of strategies to figure out unknown words or those with more than one meaning.

Want to know more?

Fifth graders encounter many new words as they read increasingly challenging fiction and nonfiction texts. Some are general academic words, or words that are used often, in many subjects, but can be hard to define, such as navigate, heroic, or scarce. They also come across words that are specific to a particular subject, known as content-specific words, like treaties, colonial, and ratification in history.

Watch how a teacher guides a fifth grader through the process of figuring out new words.

 

Students should rely on three key strategies to determine the meaning of new words:

  1. Use the context (find clues in the rest of the sentence or paragraph).
  2. Use root words and word parts to help find a word’s meaning. (For example, a fifth grader could figure out the meaning of astronomy because it has the same root as astronaut).
  3. Use reference materials like a dictionary or thesaurus to find the definition.

Kids continue to work with figurative language, such as metaphors (a comparison of two unlike things: life is a highway) and similes (a comparison using like or as: brave as a lion).

Figurative language can be especially challenging for English learners. First they need to learn the literal meaning of the words, then they can try interpreting symbolism in phrases. (Imagine trying to understand the elephant in the room if you were learning English!)


If your child didn’t meet the Reading Vocabulary standard…

  • Your child may struggle to understand metaphors and similes.
  • Your child may struggle to recognize academic vocabulary.
  • Your child may have a tough time with complex text, making deeper analysis all the more difficult.
How to help

Build a big vocabulary, one word at a time

Your child should learn about 2,000 new words in fifth grade — and most of these new words should come from reading. When your fifth grader encounters a new word, he should try to figure out its meaning. Here’s how:

  • Your child can try to figure out what the new word means from the context of the sentence or paragraph it’s used in.
  • Your child should look for prefixes, suffixes, and root words within an unknown word.
  • Your child should look up the word in a dictionary, thesaurus, or glossary.

Help your child with academic vocabulary

It’s important for fifth graders to build their academic vocabulary. These are words that are used often, in many subjects, but can be hard to define, such as approximate, frequent, and escalate. Academic vocabulary is also more precise, like saying announced, claimed, or concluded instead of said. Check out this list for more academic vocabulary words to use with your fifth grader. Sign up for GreatWords, our free vocabulary-boosting text message program, to get daily text messages with 5th grade academic vocabulary words. To get started, text WORDS to 88769. (See terms and conditions.)

To increase your fifth grader’s academic vocabulary, introduce a new word every day. Tell your child what it means and have him use it in a sentence or find a synonym or antonym. Try to weave the new words into conversations with your child. Help him start a daily word journal where he creates a page for each day’s new word. He can write a sentence or draw a picture to illustrate his sentence.

Practice figurative language

To understand figurative language, like metaphors and similes. As you read books and watch TV together, point out examples of figurative language, like happy as a clam. As your child learns a new phrase, like strong as an ox, ask her to use it in a sentence. See how many new metaphors and similes you can find in one week.

Here are four teacher-recommended books that use boatloads of figurative language:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Fair Weather by Richard Peck
Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Boost those skills

  • One of the best ways to develop your child’s vocabulary is through reading challenging material. A great source of nonfiction reading is Newsela.com, a free news site that adapts breaking stories to your child’s reading level — third through twelfth grade. Have your child read a grade-level version of an article and then the same article at a higher grade level and talk about which words he had trouble with. Then look up the definitions together.
  • This list of contemporary books — complete with discussion guides and links to buy books or find them at your local library — offers a great selection of challenging (but relatable) fiction and nonfiction for fifth graders.
  • Help your child catch up or zoom ahead with Skill Builder, a tool that brings together specific lessons aligned to the test from a variety of respected, free education sites. Check out the lessons for fifth grade vocabulary.
  • Help your child get familiar with the upcoming test by taking the online practice ELA test part 1 and part 2.

Talk to your child’s teacher

Kids need to be steadily growing their knowledge about the world with every new article, story, and website they read. A strong vocabulary is a huge predictor of academic success because it helps children understand what they read and lets them express their ideas. Ask your child’s teacher what you can do at home to help expand his word knowledge.

Written Expression

What it means
How to help

To meet the Written Expression standard, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Present a clear topic or opinion and organize ideas logically with supporting details and facts.
  • Develop a sequence of events using description and dialogue when writing a story.
  • Use linking words, like additionally or however, to connect ideas, reasons, and events.
  • Use quotations as evidence to support ideas in writing.

Want to know more?

Fifth graders should be paying close attention to how they structure their writing. Whether telling a story (narrative writing), writing a report (informational writing), or convincing the reader of their point of view (persuasive writing), fifth graders should clearly introduce their topic and present related information in the form of a few clear, well thought-out paragraphs.

See an example of fifth grade writing.

In narrative writing, fifth graders should learn how to organize an interesting sequence of events and use dialogue, description, and pacing to catch and maintain the reader’s interest.

When writing persuasive and informational pieces, students should draw on facts, definitions, and quotes from their reading to thoroughly develop their topic or opinion. At this age, students should use advanced linking words (for example, in contrast, especially) to form compound and complex sentences that convey their points. To wrap it up, your child should have a well-reasoned conclusion.

Fifth graders should also be able to revise their own work to catch errors and improve how their writing flows.


If your child didn’t meet the Written Expression standard…

  • Your child may not know how to clearly write a topic sentence or opinion.
  • Your child may have trouble using supporting details from readings.
  • Your child may need help developing a sequence of events or using description and dialogue to move a story forward.
  • Your child may not remember to reread and revise her own work after finishing a draft.
How to help

Make writing fun

Find out what your child enjoys reading (comics, funny poems, letters, stories, etc.) and ask her to try writing in that format. Remember to celebrate your child’s ideas.

  • Be a biographer — Have your child write a short bio about a family member, friend, or even a pet. Make sure he includes a topic sentence and relevant details. Then, let him share his work with the subject. Grandma (or Fido) will love it!
  • It’s in the mail — Encourage your child to write to a fan club or a kids’ magazine. Or ask her to write a letter to the editor or to your congressperson about a cause she’s passionate about.
  • Pros and cons — Having ice cream vs. a bowl of fruit for dessert — what are the pros and cons? Have your child list both sides and then argue it out.
  • Talk it out — Before putting the pencil to the page (or fingers to the keyboard), encourage your child to talk about what she’s going to write. Talking helps writers organize their thoughts and makes the actual writing easier.

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

What’s missing in your child’s writing? Your child’s teacher can tell you, but it’s better to ask her to show you. Bring in a couple of your child’s writing samples and ask the teacher to point out what’s strong and where your child’s writing needs work. The teacher may have other samples to share with you, too. Using writing samples can help your child’s teacher explain things more clearly.

Writing: Knowledge and Use of Language Conventions

What it means
How to help

To meet the Language Conventions standard, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Explain the role of conjunctions (if, but), prepositions (to, in), and interjections (boo!) in writing.
  • Use correct grade-level punctuation, capitalization, and spelling when writing.
  • Correctly use underlines, quotation marks, or italics to differentiate a title.

Want to know more?

Fifth graders should be able to explain that conjunctions like and and if are used to connect words, phrases, or clauses; that prepositions like above and during describe when or where something happens; and that interjections like boo and whoa express emotions.

When revising their writing, fifth graders should expand, combine, or shorten sentences to better explain and maintain the reader’s interest.

Fifth graders also begin to pay attention to differences in dialects (Jamaican vs. U.S. English) and speaking style (baby talk vs. academic speech) and analyze how they are used in writing.


If your child doesn’t meet the Knowledge and Use of Language Conventions standard…

  • Your child may struggle to explain the function of certain parts of speech like prepositions and interjections.
  • Your child may need to work on following grade-level spelling, punctuation, and capitalization rules.
  • Your child may need to revise, reduce, or combine sentences to improve the flow of her writing.
  • Your child may not use quotation marks correctly when trying to cite evidence from text.
How to help
  • Fix it! — Write down a sentence with punctuation, spelling, and capitalization errors and ask your child to find and correct your mistakes. She’ll love feeling smarter than you and will practice her skills in the process.
  • Color code — Pick two colored highlighters and a piece of text. Use one color to highlight the prepositions in the text, another to highlight the conjunctions. Then ask your child to explain how each is used in the sentence.

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

How is the grammar and punctuation in your child’s writing? Your child’s teacher may have a better sense than you do. Ask the teacher to point out your child’s strengths and areas where his writing needs work. If necessary, develop goals to improve these skills.

5th grade
Math

Fifth grade helps kids nail the basics and prepare for middle school math — from multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers to dividing fractions and comparing decimals to the thousandths place.

Major Content

What it means
How to help

Fifth graders are expected to learn:

  • Fractions: Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions — including fractions with different denominators (e.g., 13 + 12) and mixed numbers (e.g., 2 34 + 1 12).
  • Decimals: Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals to the hundredths place (e.g., 0.62 – 0.41).
  • Place value: Multiplying and dividing using two-, three-, and four-digit numbers (e.g., 324 x 24 or 4325 ÷ 12).
  • Volume: Understanding what volume means, knowing the formulas, and finding a 3-D shape’s volume.

Want to know more

Major Content is true to its name. These are the big concepts in fifth grade. If your child is behind in any of these skills, seek support (and check out our How to help section). The PARCC test will focus on these concepts, and your child’s teacher should spend a lot of class time helping your child nail these skills.

Fractions

Fifth graders get really good at finding common denominators (the bottom number) so they can add and subtract fractions with different denominators (e.g., 325 – 15) and mixed numbers (e.g., 315 + 4 25).

Watch how a fifth grader finds the common denominators in fractions.

 

Multiplying fractions

Students learn how to multiply a fraction by a whole number and how to multiply a fraction by a fraction.

When it comes to multiplying fractions, it helps if kids understand three rules of thumb (and why they are true):

  1. When you multiply two whole numbers greater than 0, the product is equal to or larger than the starting numbers. (Example: 2 x 3 = 6. Note that 6 is greater than both 2 and 3.)
  2. When you multiply a whole number greater than 0 and a fraction less than 1, the product is smaller than the whole number. (Example: 2 x 13 = 23. Note that 23 is less than 2.)
  3. When you multiply two fractions less than 1, the product is even smaller than the starting fractions. (Example: 14 x 12 = 18. Note that 18 is smaller than 14 and 12.)

Watch fifth graders show their understanding of these multiplication rules.

 

Dividing fractions

This year, kids take the (big!) next step with fractions: dividing whole numbers by unit fractions (12, 13, 14, 16, etc.) — and the reverse: dividing unit fractions by whole numbers. Dividing with fractions is tricky. For example, dividing 8 by 12 is really asking how many times 12 can fit into 8. The answer is 16, which is larger than 8 or 12. Dividing 12 by 8 asks how to break down 12 into 8 smaller fractions. The answer is 116, which is smaller than 12 or 8.

Decimals

When it comes to working with decimals, fifth graders are expected to:

  • Read, write, and compare numbers with decimals to the thousandths place (e.g., 8.078 is greater than 8.075).
  • Fluently add and subtract numbers with decimals to the hundredths place (e.g., 5.67 + 7.89 or 6.78 – 4.56).
  • Understand that decimals are another way of showing fractions — for example, .25 is equivalent to 25100 or 14 — and practice converting fractions to decimals (and decimals to fractions).

Place value

At this age, kids learn to think about the place value with a new understanding of base 10, which means understanding that the value of the number 4 can be bigger or smaller based on whether it’s in the ones place, the tens place, or the hundreds place. (For example, check out this table.)

GK_PARCC_Graphic1_5thGrade_111815

Another way students practice working with place value is knowing how to express a large number like 345.678 in expanded form, like this: (3 x 100) + (4 x 10) + (5 x 1) + (6 x 110) + (7 x 1100) +(8 x 11000).

Volume

Fifth graders delve deeper into geometry by learning how to measure the volume of a right rectangular prism (a 3-D shape with six rectangular sides). It’s a new way for kids to apply their multiplication skills, because they multiply the shape’s width (w) by its height (h) by its length (l) to find the volume (v), because v = w x h x l.

GK_PARCC_Graphic2_5thGrade_111815


If your child didn’t meet the Major Content standard...

  • Your child may not know how to find a common denominator for two fractions in order to add and subtract. (See sample problem 1.)
  • Your child may need practice multiplying fractions, dividing a whole number by a fraction, or dividing a fraction by a whole number. (See sample problems 2 and 3.)
  • Your child may understand the ones, tens, and hundreds place but get tripped up by the place value of decimals, particularly when he’s asked to compare two decimals or add and subtract numbers with decimals to the tenths, hundredths, or thousandths place. (See sample problems 4 and 5.)
  • Your child may need help understanding how to find the volume of a right rectangular prism. (See sample problem 6.)

Sample problems

Adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators

Fifth graders use their knowledge of equivalent fractions (e.g., 12 = 24 = 36 = 48, etc.) to add and subtract fractions that have different denominators (the bottom numbers).

Sample problem 1: Finding a common denominator and adding fractions

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_1_111815

Multiplying fractions and mixed numbers

Fifth graders learn to multiply a fraction, like 13, times a mixed number, like 2 14.

Sample problem 2: Multiplying fractions and mixed numbers

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_2_111815

Dividing fractions by whole numbers and unit fractions

Fifth graders are expected to become proficient at dividing whole numbers by fractions and vice versa.

Sample problem 3: Dividing whole numbers by unit fractions (and vice versa)

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_3_111815

Understanding place value and base 10

Fifth graders need to understand place value for decimals to the thousandths place. Students are taught to make sense of place value by breaking down numbers this way:

GK_PARCC_Graphic3_5thGrade_111815

Sample problem 4: Place value

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_4_111815

Students also need to understand place value in order to compare decimals. This number line question shows what students may be asked to do on a test.

Sample problem 5: Comparing decimals

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_5_111815

Finding volume

In fifth grade, students learn to calculate the volume of right rectangular prisms by using this formula:

(v) volume = (l) length x (h) height x (w) width

GK_PARCC_Graphic4_5thGrade_111815

For the following problem, students have to imagine that they’re filling each rectangular prism to the top with 1-centimeter (cm) cubes. Think of it as a rectangular-shaped Rubik’s Cube.

Sample problem 6: Finding the volume of right rectangular prisms

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_6_111815


How to help

Start with a great attitude

No one brags about being a poor reader, so why is it acceptable for people to brag about being bad at math? It’s a question asked by University of Chicago Professor Sian L. Beilock. She’s right! If we want our children to have a positive attitude about math, then we need to talk about math as an enjoyable skill that we can all learn.

Sprinkle math into everyday activities

  • Play with volume — Experimenting with volume in everyday life is a great way to get your fifth grader to feel comfortable with the concept. Ask your child to find the volume of his lunch box to figure out how much food he can take to school.
  • 12 the day? — What fraction of the day does your child spend watching TV? Sleeping? Doing homework? Figure these out together and talk about how you arrived at the answers.
  • Go the distance — Next time you’re going somewhere, have your child be the navigator using your phone. Ask her to compare the distances in decimals (on the phone) to the fractions (on the freeway signs). Challenge your child by asking questions that get her converting fractions to decimals — and then back to fractions again.

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

Fifth grade math builds on fourth grade math, which builds on third grade math, and so on. At some point, your child may have hit a snag — and that’s okay. To help, ask the teacher when your child started having trouble. What skill were they learning then? Ask what the teacher is doing about it, and how you can help your child boost that particular skill (or skills) at home.

Help your child ease test anxiety

 

Additional & Supporting Content

What it means
How to help

Fifth graders are expected to learn:

  • Measurements: Converting units within the same measurement system (e.g., centimeters to meters).
  • Data: Interpreting data and analyzing relationships by creating simple equations, tables, graphs, and line plots.
  • Geometry: Classifying two-dimensional shapes into categories based on their properties.

Want to know more

If Additional and Supporting Content sounds a wee bit less important than Major Content, trust your instincts: you’re right. Teachers may spend less time on these skills (and this content is given less weight on the PARCC test). But these additional skills are building blocks — they’re a good way to tell whether your child is set up for success in sixth grade math.

Measurements

To solve real-world problems that involve measurement, fifth graders have to convert different-sized numbers in the same measurement system, like millimeters, centimeters, and meters. A problem may ask kids to find the perimeter of a rectangular room in meters but give the lengths in centimeters. It’s a supplemental skill that shows off your child’s ability to add as well as his ability to find equivalent values.

Data

Fifth grade students start writing simple equations that describe a numerical relationship. For example, students may be asked to write an expression for add 8 and 7, and then multiply the sum by 2, which would be 2 x (8 + 7). This sets kids up for sixth grade, when students work more with equations.

Teachers spend some time in fifth grade showing students how to recognize patterns and identify relationships between terms and values by creating line plots (a type of number line) and graphs. The data from these graphs is then used in multi-part word problems. For example, the graph below shows the relationship between people knocking on a door and the dog barking. The accompanying word problem would ask students to calculate the ratio of barks to knocks.

GK_PARCC_Graphic5_5thGrade_111815

Geometry

An additional skill in fifth grade is classifying two-dimensional shapes into categories based on their properties, (e.g., triangles with right angles). It sets kids up for success down the line, when geometry becomes a major skill.


If your child didn’t meet the Additional & Supporting Content standard…

  • Your child may have difficulty converting one amount or size to another within the same measurement system, such as 4 cups = 1 quart or 6 inches = 12 foot.
  • Your child may need help writing equations that illustrate numerical relationships, or interpreting data on charts or graphs, or creating line plots.
  • Your child may find it challenging to classify two-dimensional shapes based on their properties.
How to help

Start with a great attitude

When children feel anxious about math, they tend to have lower grades. They’re also less likely to take the math classes they need to get into college. Help your child avoid this slippery slope. How? By presenting a positive attitude toward math. It works!

Sprinkle math into everyday activities

  • Measure me! — How tall is your child? What’s that in feet and inches, all in inches, and what about in meters and centimeters? This is quick, painless, and relatable, which is a great way to help your child see the value of converting units of measurement.
  • Cups over scoops — Ditch the ice cream scooper for a while and have your child serve dessert using your 14 cup. Have him take orders and serve everyone’s requested amounts. 54 cup of ice cream, anyone? To be sure you have enough, have your child figure out how many 14 cup servings are in that quart (or half gallon) of ice cream.
  • Track that homework — Got a homework hater? Help her show you exactly how long it’s taking by creating a graph of the amount of time she’s spending on homework each night. Can she break it down and use different colors to track her time spent on math, social studies, reading, and so on?

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

Maybe you cringe at the idea of the teacher asking you to come in after school for a “talk.” Turn the situation around by being proactive. Ask the teacher for an after school meeting to discuss how to help your child overcome math challenges. Start by finding out when she started having difficulty. Was there a specific topic that set her back, such as working with shapes? The teacher has resources, so ask for activities you can try at home, at the store, or in the car to get your child back on track.

Help your child ease test anxiety

 

Mathematical Reasoning

What it means
How to help

Fifth graders are expected to learn:

  • Reasoning: Defending their work with clear, detailed explanations.
  • Reviewing: Critiquing (respectfully, of course) their classmates’ work.
  • Revising: Figuring out what went wrong, correcting their work, and doing a problem over again.

Want to know more?

Reasoning

In fifth grade, students are expected to do more than solve problems — they’re expected to defend their work by explaining how they solved a problem and why they chose the operations they used. Often, this involves creating a logical and convincing argument using words, but kids are also encouraged to use pictures, charts, graphs, and other models to help explain their thinking.

Reviewing

Kids learn to flip the process around to critique their classmates’ work and explain why they think an answer is correct or incorrect. This process requires students to apply all the math skills they’ve learned to analyze a problem, identify the steps necessary to solve it, and be able to explain the mathematical reasoning behind their approach.

Watch how fifth graders explain whether they agree or disagree with a classmate’s solutions and why.

Revising

If students find any mistakes in their own work or a classmate’s work — for example, they did the order of operations wrong or the place value is off — they are expected to identify the problem and suggest ways to correct it.


If your child didn’t meet the Mathematical Reasoning standard…

  • Your child may know how to solve a math problem on a worksheet (such as multiplying or dividing fractions), but not fully understand when to use one procedure over another in a word problem. (See sample problem 1.)
  • Your child may have difficulty supporting his work or critiquing classmates’ work with clear, logical arguments and models. (See sample problem 2.)
  • Your child may find mistakes, but not know how to fix them.
  • Your child may be having trouble reading the problem, understanding what she’s reading, and/or verbalizing her thinking. Some kids may need to learn to slow down and/or re-read the problem. Other kids may need more help processing the problem and/or expressing their thoughts. If slowing down and re-reading doesn’t help your child, talk to your child’s teacher about getting him some extra help. (You may also want to read more about the signs of a reading issue.)

Sample problems

Oh yeah? Prove it! Kids say that to each other all the time. One way fifth graders have to prove things (at least in math) is by creating charts, tables, graphs, and other visuals that contain the important data, are organized to show how the numbers or quantities relate to each other, and illustrate how they worked out a problem.

Sample problem 1: Constructing clear and logical arguments to support their work

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_7_111815

Students are also expected to learn from each other under the new standards. By critiquing each other’s work in a safe and respectful manner, fifth graders may find that they’ve made similar mistakes. This process also helps them learn how to construct clear and logical arguments to support correct answers and explain the problems that lead to incorrect answers.

Sample problem 2: Critiquing a classmate’s problem solving

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_8_111815


How to help

Start with a great attitude

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. That quote by Winston Churchill is great advice for all things in life, especially learning math! This is doubly true when it comes to Mathematical Reasoning, since it involves kids using their communication skills (and diplomacy) to explain their thinking about what is right (or wrong) in a problem.

Sprinkle math into everyday activities

  • Defend your math — Whenever your child says or does anything involving numbers, quantities, or money, ask him to explain what he did and why it was right. Then let him do the same to you. It could be as simple as asking how he knows he received the right amount of change at a store, or it may require a bit more thought, such as why you chose one cell phone plan over another. Don’t spring these questions on your child as a surprise, though. Tell your child that you’re going to start asking questions like these to boost his logic skills so everyone knows that it’s all in fun and not an interrogation.

Boost those skills

  • When completing homework, ask your child to explain her thinking. Encourage her to solve the problem using a different strategy. Some strategies to encourage your child’s thinking include using a number line, drawing illustrations, or explaining her reasoning in writing.
  • Talking to your child about math is easier (and more fun) than you think. Here are two resources to help you get started: 1) Watch the first few minutes of this Teaching Channel video to see how a teacher gets students to talk about their mathematical reasoning; and 2) Print out these Math Talk bookmarks! They’re a subtle reminder to talk about mathematical reasoning in everyday life.
  • Decimals, fractions, ratios — oh my! — These 15 math games and activities at Be a Learning Hero will help your fifth grader master these and more.
  • Help your child get familiar with the upcoming test by taking the online practice math test part 1 and part 2.

Talk to your child’s teacher

Learning is complicated. Your child may be great at memorizing things, like which step goes first, but struggle to communicate why she’s following those steps. See if the teacher has ideas about how you can help your child practice communicating her thoughts so she’ll be able to share her reasoning in math class.

Help your child ease test anxiety

 

Modeling & Application

What it means
How to help

Fifth graders are expected to learn to:

  • Make a plan: Analyzing real-world, multi-step problems and deciding what they need to do to find the solution.
  • Create a model: Deciding the best way to model the important information in a problem, such as making a table or chart, drawing a picture, or writing an equation (or two).
  • Evaluate the answer: Determining if their answer makes sense — and if it doesn’t, revising their model and trying again.

Want to know more?

Modeling links math to everyday problems. Kids learn to analyze situations so they fully understand them and make better decisions. A model can be a few things, including making a table or graph, drawing a picture, or writing an equation. Models can be very simple, such as writing the cost of a unit price (e.g., $1.00/apple). Number lines are often used as models, too.

By fifth grade, students should be able to read a word problem and develop a plan to solve it based on their experience of what works in similar situations and whether that knowledge is likely to apply to this problem.

Students are expected to use the different strategies they’ve learned to analyze the problem, determine the steps to take, and find the solution.

When a model isn’t working, students are expected to fix it and try again. This requires some trial and error, which boosts problem-solving skills and perseverance.

Fifth graders are expected to evaluate answers — their own and other students’. For example, kids may be asked to evaluate whether or not an answer is reasonable based on a model they’re given.


If your child didn’t meet the Modeling & Application standard...

  • Your child may have a hard time making sense of a word problem and, once he’s stuck, may get frustrated and not be able to persevere to get to a solution. (See sample problem 1.)
  • Your child may struggle to choose the best model to represent a relationship between two quantities. For example, would it be better to use a graph, table, picture, or number line? (See sample problems 1 and 2.)
  • Your child may find it difficult to determine why a model didn’t work or how to fix a flaw in a model that led to an incorrect answer.
  • Your child may have a hard time evaluating whether or not a solution is reasonable.

Sample problems

Solving real-world problems with models

Think about how you use math in your life. Probably not a day goes by that you don’t compute, calculate, or count. Which gas station is cheaper if one charges less per gallon than another but charges you a fee to use your bank card? If there are seven of us for dinner and we’ll each eat 13 pound of chicken, how many pounds do I need to buy? Knowing how to think through complex problems is an important life skill. By the end of fifth grade, students should be able to analyze situations that arise in their lives and figure out the best strategy for finding the solution. That may involve writing an equation or creating a diagram, table, or chart that shows the relationship between the most important quantities.

By the end of fifth grade, students should be able to analyze a real-world problem, determine the most important quantities, and figure out how to represent those quantities through an equation, chart, graph, diagram, or other model.

Sample problem 1: Using models to solve real-world problems

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_9_111815

Sample problem 2: Using a number line as a model

This problem shows how students can use a number line to understand a real-world problem.

GK_PARCC_MathSamples_5thGrade_10_111815


How to help

Start with a great attitude

You know the saying: children learn by example. Even if you’re one of the people who suffer from math anxiety, it’s best for your child to keep that dread under wraps. Instead, try to embrace math and show your child how useful it is in everyday life.

Sprinkle math into everyday activities

  • Draw it! — Is your child the artsy type? Maybe his art skills can come in handy in his math homework. If he gets stuck on a word problem, suggest he draw a picture to help him visualize the scenario.
  • Pizza lovers math — Help your child see how you use problem solving in everyday life. For example, Let’s say you’re ordering pizza for 7 people. A medium pizza costs $12.50 and has 8 slices. Tell her you want to make sure there’s enough pizza for everyone to have at least 3 slices. Have her figure out how many medium pizzas you need to order and what the total cost will be.
  • Masterful math — Have a family math game night! Pump up those reasoning and strategy skills playing Mastermind.

Boost those skills

Talk to your child’s teacher

We tell our children to ask their teacher for help; we can (and should) do it, too. Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher and ask for ideas to help your child develop her problem-solving abilities.

Help your child ease test anxiety

 


About GreatKids State Test Guide for Parents

GreatKids created this guide to help you understand your child's state test scores and to support your child's learning all year long. We worked with PARCC and leading teachers in every grade to break down what your child needs to know and exactly how you can help

Share on Pinterest
There are no images.