Knowre Blog

Common Incoming Skills Gaps for Students in Grades 6 through Grade 8

Posted by Bara Levitt on 9/30/20 3:09 PM
Bara Levitt

This article includes common skill gaps that we recommend reviewing with students during the beginning of the school year. The recommended skills shared come out of data collected from Knowre Math’s Ready? Check. Go! diagnostic. This diagnostic is designed to identify skills gaps by giving students a chance to engage with key topics from their prior math course (ie. 6th graders take a Ready! Check. Go! focused on 5th grade math skills). 

In addition to the recommended skills shared below, one trend we noticed was that students in second, third, and fourth grade showed significantly fewer skill gaps than students in grade 5 and up. Additionally, students who took a Ready? Check. Go! for a math course that was more advanced than their grade level, performed better on the Ready? Check. Go! than students at that grade level. 

Please note that the percentage indicated at the end of each skill reflects the percentage of students who demonstrated an understanding of that skill of focus.

Skill Gaps to Focus on with Sixth Graders: Sixth graders struggled most in the areas of fraction operations, decimal operations, long division and 2-digit multiplication. 

  • Skill 1: Using a Pattern to Graph (7%)
  • Skill 2: Dividing a Decimal by a Whole Number Using Long Division When Divisor is Greater than Dividend (27%)
  • Skill 3: Finding the Product of Two or More Fractions (29%)
  • Skill 4: Subtracting Mixed Numbers or Proper Fractions from Mixed Numbers with Common Denominators and Regrouping (38%)
  • Skill 5: Adding Fractions with Different Denominators without Regrouping (40%)
  • Skill 6: Dividing a Whole Number by a Unit Fraction (43%)
  • Skill 7: Finding the Volume of a Prism Using Unit Cubes (47%)
  • Skill 8: Dividing a Multi-Digit Number by a 1-Digit Number Using Long Division (56%)
  • Skill 9: Multiplying Two Numbers Vertically with a Whole Number and a Tenth (60%)

Skill Gaps to Focus on with Seventh Graders: Seventh graders struggled most with multiplying and dividing fractions, data analysis, writing Expressions and combining Like Terms.

  • Skill 1: Graphing a Linear Equation Using a Table with No Integer Rules (10%)
  • Skill 2: Determining the Area of a Shaded Region with a Given Expression (19%)
  • Skill 3: Finding the IQR Given a Box Plot (21%)
  • Distributing a Monomial Over a Binomial with Subtraction (33%)
  • Skill 4: Writing a Mathematical Expression from a Verbal Expression with Multiple Operations (37%)
  • Skill 5: Using Equivalent Ratios to Complete a Table (38%)
  • Skill 6: Combining Like Terms with a Single Variable (38%)
  • Skill 7: Multiplying Fractions with a Mixed Number (42%)
  • Skill 8: Dividing Fractions (48%)
  • Skill 9: Determining the Effects of an Outlier on Measures of Center (51%)
  • Skill 10: Finding the Median of Data Displayed in a Dot Plot (53%)
  • Skill 11: Graphing a Point on a Coordinate Plane (58%)
  • Still 12: Finding the Mean of a Data Set (59%)

Skill Gaps to Focus on with Eighth Graders: Eighth graders struggled most with ratios, proportions, unit rate and data analysis/ statistics.

  • Skill 1: Graphing a Direct Variation (8%)
  • Skill 2: Writing a Direct Variation from a Word Problem (14%)
  • Skill 3: Calculating the Exact Circumference Given the Radius (14%)
  • Skill 4: Determining True Statements About Two Dot Plots Given Equal Measure of Center (24%)
  • Skill 5: Determining the Surface Area of a Cube or Right Rectangular Prism (25%)
  • Skill 7: Solving Percent Problems with a Proportion (35%)
  • Skill 8: Identifying Representative Samples (35%)
  • Skill 9: Identifying Representative Samples (39%)
  • Skill 10: Finding Length of Unknown Side Given Two Similar Triangles (42%)
  • Skill 11: Using Cross Products to Solve Proportions (46%)
  • Skill 12: Application Problem (51%)
  • Skill 13: Finding the Probability of an Event with Given Sample Set  (52%)
  • Skill 14: Identifying Cross Sections Formed by Planes that are Parallel or Perpendicular to the Base (57%)
  • Skill 15: Finding the Unit Rate from a Graph (60%)

Ready to review these topics with your students? Sample problems for each of the skill gaps shared can be found on this resource. We recommend reviewing and practicing these skills with your students early on in the school year so that they do not hinder them from successfully engaging with new content.

Look out in the coming weeks for more resources designed to support you as you work with students to close their skill gaps. 

If you’d like to use the Ready? Check. Go! diagnostic to identify and address your student’s skill gaps, sign up for a free trial of Knowre Math.


Topics: Back to School, Data, Education Technology, Formative Assessment, Student Success, Math Instruction