Kid in 9th grade at age of 14, can he still do VEX IQ?

My son will be in the 9th grade in the coming fall, but he started school early so he is only 14. He is new to robot and really loves the new VEX IQ Slapshot. Can he still do VEX IQ for the 2022-2023 season?


The definition of ‘Elementary Student’ and ‘Middle School Student’ can be found in the game manual. The cutoffs are based on birthday, not grade level.


Emphasis mine

Please read the post above and the definition of “student” in the game manual.


I could not find the manual for 2022-2023, but below is the info I found from 2021-2022 manual. Looked like it’s purely age based, and older kids will be included in the middle school competition.

Student – Anyone born after May 1, 2006 (i.e. who will be 15 or younger at VEX Worlds 2022). Eligibility may also be granted based on a disability that has delayed education by at least one year. Students are the individuals who design, build, repair, and program the Robot with minimal Adult assistance.

• Elementary School Student - Any Student born after May 1, 2009 (i.e. who will be 12 or younger at
VEX Worlds 2022). Elementary School Teams may “play up” and compete as a Middle School Team.

• Middle School Student – Any eligible Student that is not an Elementary School Student.

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Generally speaking, about half of my 6th grade students can still play as elementary students, and about hold of the kids I have going into 9th grade can still do VEX IQ.

From the new manual:

But, does your high school student really want to be in a competition with 3rd graders at local competitions? If you don’t transition them to VRC soon they probably never will, or never will do so very well. When they hit 8th-9th grade, it is generally time to move them on.


I joked with a few of my VRC sophomores about sending them over to a neighboring organization hosting a blended IQ league night just to see the reactions of the 4th graders. Never would but the statement shines a light on the drastic difference in maturity for IQ.

This entire topic is an area that I think needs to be addressed better by the RECF. I can understand the rationale behind having the age-based student definitions, but hanging on to the old naming of “Elementary School” “Middle School” and “High School” continues to cause confusion.

According to the rules, an Elementary Student is anyone under age 13 by Worlds. A Middle School student is anyone under age 16 by Worlds (both IQ and VRC), and a High School student is anyone under age 19 by worlds (also have to be in high school).

In the United States, it is much more commonly understood that elementary school is up to 5th grade (usually 10 or 11 years old) and middle school up to 8th grade (13 or 14 years old). I think a lot of US based VEX programs stick more to that traditional definition of those terms rather than the age based definition.

I think there would be value in considering renaming the competitions to something less tied to traditional US grade ranges and more specifically to the ages. Sports use the “U18, U16” type names all the time. Besides making it more clear what the actual distinction is, it would allow for people such as the OP to compete at a level that is legal for them to compete without a stigma of “you should really be moving up to the next level.” In our region we are struggling with having a critical mass of VRC MS programs. By removing the unnecessary “MS” label, it might be more likely for schools to field teams of freshmen rookie roboteers into a level that is more appropriate for them to compete at.

I don’t have a perfect solution, but this is something that has been bugging me for a while and I think could be improved to the benefit of the VEX community as a whole.


It’s definitely better than the old convention, especially for teams like ours that are community based rather than school based. Since we had kids from 5 different school system, plus homeschoolers, the definition of a “middle school/9th grader” especially was difficult, and was supposed to be based on what school they attended…well which one??? But I agree, the “U18” “U16” “U12” names might make more sense, for everything up to the VEX-U level.


So what Vex is saying that I can do Vex IQ till I am 15, good for me another season for my team to domonate.

You can, but you really shouldn’t. VRC provides unique challenges for students that IQ can’t. Also, coming from a lot of people that did IQ until HS, people need to start VRC sooner so they aren’t lost when they transition and only have 4 years left.


I’d hope you do IQ for reasons other than to dominate competition that isn’t at your level.