Grades 6-8

Jr. High School

By the 6th/7th grade, students are well into the "logic" stage of the classical curriculum. Jr. High School students begin to show more interest in the "Why?" behind the facts. Students are capable of forming abstract thoughts and detecting causal relationships between topics. During these years, children are challenged to rationally explain a particular fact, connect it to another related idea, or even evaluate how significant the fact truly is. Writing composition is a key component of the educational model during these years. Creating thesis statements, paragraph construction, developing supporting evidence, and logically organizing a five-paragraph essay are highly emphasized throughout all of the humanities subjects. Expanding vocabulary is also extremely important in order to handle the rigors of college preparatory, liberal arts High School curriculum. In mathematics, students polish off their algebraic skills in order to take more challenging math courses by the end of High School. Students are also taught how to explain why a particular event or idea in history happened, and why it shaped the way we think today.

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills

Every spring a school-wide assessment is administered to measure student performance and reflect on areas where teachers can enhance instruction. All students in grades 1-8 are required to take the examination.

The Iowa Tests offer educators a diagnostic look at how their students are progressing in key academic areas, and offers diagnostic data that can be used to create intervention groups and to drive curricular decisions.

Click here to find out more about the purpose of the Iowa Tests.

Below is the school performance for grade levels 1-8:


Percentile Rank of Average Standard Score: National School Norms
Grade Reading Language Mathematics Composite
1 85% 66% 60% 77%
2 74% 68% 66% 74%
3 90% 65% 77% 84%
4 99% 88% 92% 98%
5 93% 79% 84% 86%
6 82% 72% 85% 80%
7 82% 76% 75% 81%
8 74% 69% 42% 67%


School Norms are norms (specifically National Percentile Ranks) that are developed from distributions of average student scores, using a nationally representative sample of students. The average scores are computed for each grade within a school building. School norms are used to indicate the status or relative rank of the school (based on average student performance per grade) compared to other schools in the nation.

Grade Equivalent of Average Standard Score
Grade Reading Language Mathematics Composite
1 2.3 2.0 1.9 2.1
2 3.1 3.1 3.0 3.2
3 4.8 4.1 4.3 4.6
4 6.9 6.1 6.2 6.7
5 7.5 6.9 7.0 7.3
6 8.1 7.8 8.6 8.2
7 9.5 9.5 9.1 9.5
8 10.4 10.3 8.6 9.9


The grade equivalent is a number that describes a student's location on an achievement continuum. Grade Equivalents are expressed in terms of grade and months into grade, assuming a 10-month school year (e.g., 8.4 means after 4 months of instruction in the 8th grade). The Grade Equivalent corresponding to a given score on any test indicates the grade level at which the typical student obtains this score.

Grade 7 Course Sequence 

  • Catechesis I
  • Saxon Math: Math 87 or Pre-Algebra
  • Literature and Composition I
  • Science: Physical Science or Life Science
  • Social Studies: Christian Civilization I 
  • Foreign Language: Intro to Latin, Intro to French, or Intro to Spanish
  • 7 Art
  • 7 Music
  • 7 Physical Education

Grade 8 Course Sequence 

  • Catechesis II
  • Saxon Math: Pre-Algebra or Algebra I (High School course)
  • Literature and Composition II
  • Science: Physical Science, Life Science, or Intro to Engineering 
  • Social Studies: Christian Civilization II 
  • Foreign Language: Intro to Latin, Intro to French, or Intro to Spanish; Latin I, French I, or Spanish I (High School courses)
  • 8 Art
  • 8 Music
  • 8 Physical Education