Grading (education)

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Grading in education is the process of applying standardized measurements of varying levels of achievement in a course.

Grades can be assigned in letters (for example A, B, C, D, E or F), as a range (for example 1 to 6), as a percentage of a total number correct, as a number out of a possible total (for example out of 20 or 100), or as descriptors (excellent, great, satisfactory, needs improvement).

In some countries, all grades from all current classes are averaged to create a grade point average (GPA) for the marking period. The GPA is calculated by taking the number of grade points a student earned in a given period of time divided by the total number of credits taken.[1] The GPA can be used by potential employers or educational institutions to assess and compare applicants. A Cumulative Grade Point Average is a calculation of the average of all of a student's grades for all courses completed so far.[2][3]


History of grading[edit]

Yale University historian George W. Pierson writes "According to tradition the first grades issued at Yale (and possibly the first in the country) were given out in the year 1785, when President Ezra Stiles, after examining 58 Seniors, recorded in his diary that there were 'Twenty Optimi, sixteen second Optimi, twelve Inferiores (Boni), ten Pejores.'"[4] Keith Hoskin argues that the concept of grading students' work quantitatively was developed by a tutor named William Farish and first implemented by the University of Cambridge in 1792.[5] Hoskin's assertion has been questioned by Christopher Stray, who finds the evidence for Farish as the inventor of the numerical mark to be unpersuasive.[6] Stray's article elucidates the complex relationship between the mode of examination (testing), in this case oral or written, and the varying philosophies of education these modes imply, both to teacher and student. As a technology, grading both shapes and reflects many fundamental areas of educational theory and practice.

International grading systems[edit]

Most nations have individual grading systems unique to their own schools. However, several international standards for grading have arisen recently.

International Baccalaureate[edit]

In the IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program), which covers the final two years of high school, as well at the associated MYP (Middle Years Program) grades are given on a scale of 1-7, with 7 representing the highest level of achievement. Scores are always represented with whole numbers (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7 are the only possible grades). Because these grades do not represent percentages, but instead correspond with specific rubric requirements, one could theoretically answer 90% of questions on a given exam correctly, but still get a 5 if the 10% they missed represented crucial problems that corresponded to the 6 and 7 grade mark-bands. Additionally, each subject has slightly different ranges that correspond with different grading boundaries, making it difficult to compare IB grades with other education systems.

In the MYP, a student takes several classes that are each graded on the 7-point grading scale, including a First Language, a Second Language, Humanities, Math, Science, Physical Education, Technology, and the Arts, as well as a creative project accompanied by a 4,000-word paper which is completed in the fifth and final year of the MYP. At the end of the program, each of these grades are listed separately on the student's MYP certificate.

Similarly, the IBDP classes are graded on the 7-point grading scale. These classes are in six groups: First Language, Second Language, Humanities, Science, Math, and an elective course. An IBDP student will take one class in each of these groups, and additionally participates in the Core Program: TOK (Theory of Knowledge); CAS (Creativity, Action, Service — students are required to perform extracurriculars in each of these areas); and Extended Essay (a 4,000-word research paper on a topic of the student's choosing). TOK and the Extended Essay are both given a letter grade similar to those used in the American grading system, based on whether they met specific criteria, while CAS is simply a pass-or-fail program. Based on the combination of these three core programs, the student is given 0-3 points.

On the final International Baccalaureate Diploma given to graduating IBDP students, the points awarded for each area are listed individually, as in the MYP certificate. However, unlike in the MYP, on an IB Diploma the points are also all added up for a final overall grade, in that way roughly corresponding to a GPA in that it represents an overall achievement. The maximum IB score is 45 (7 points each in 6 subjects, plus 3 core points). Normal world averages are about 29 to 30.

Grading systems by country[edit]


Different countries in Asia have a variety of grading scales. Grading scales for some countries in that part of the world are described in this article.





Hong Kong[edit]

Below are the percentages and their grade and GPA equivalents


Below 40F0


Grading in Universities[edit]

Indian Universities follow Percentage System and Indian Institutes of Technology follow 10 point GPA System . The Percentage System works as :

PercentageClassification/ Division
70% and aboveDistinction / Outstanding
60 % and above but below 70%First class
50 % and above but below 60%Second Class
40 % ( or 35%)* and above but below 50%Pass Class
Below 40% ( or 35%)*Fail

* At selected India institutions, a lower percentage may be considered passing.

The 8 point GPA introduced by University of Mumbai from Academic year 2012 - 2013 is categorized as follows:[7]

Letter GradeMarksGrade Point
O90 and 1008
A+80 and 89.997
A60 and 79.996
B55 to 59.995
C50 to 54.994
D45 to 49.993
E40 to 44.992
F (Fail)39.99 and below1

The 10 point GPA followed by Indian Institutes of Technology is categorized as follows:

Letter GradeGrade Pointsin Words
S9-10Excellent (top students)
A8-9Very Good
B7- 8Good
C6-7Satisfactory Work
D4-6Sufficient (passed)
E3-4Not Sufficient (not passed)
U0Unfair Behavior (cheating)

Some Universities follow weighted average pattern to calculate percentage 1st and 2nd Semester–40% of the aggregate marks, 3rd and 4th Semester-60% of the aggregate marks, 5th and 6th Semester-80% of the aggregate marks, 7th and 8th Semester-100% of the aggregate marks.

International Grade Conversion by World Education Services for Percentages scored in Indian Universities.[7]

PercentageGrade PointU.S. Grade EquivClassification/ Division
60 to 1003.5 - 4.0A or (O)First class/ Distinction / Outstanding
55 to 593.15 - 3.49B+Second Class
50 to 542.5 - 3.14BSecond Class
43 to 492.15 - 2.49C+Third Division
35* to 421.5 - 2.14CFail/Third Division
0 to 340 - 1.49FFail

* At selected institutions, a lower grade may be considered passing.

By DivisionU.S. Grade Equiv
I (First Division)A
II (Second Division)B/B+
II(Third Division)C/C+
Grading in High School[edit]

Until high school, an averaged percentage is provided. A percentage over 90 is considered excellent; between 70-89 is considered to be 'first division'; between 50-69 is considered to be 'second division',between 40-49 is considered to be pass; though these terminologies and classifications depend on the 'board of education'.


RangeGrade LetterGrade Point
90 - 100O6
80 - 89.99A4.0
68 - 79.99B3.0
56 - 67.99C2.0
45 - 55.99D1.0
0 - 44.99E0


The highest score receivable at schools and universities is 100. Depending on the school and the grade of study, a good mark varies, but in most occasions 75 or higher is considered to be a good one.

GradeScale 1Scale 2Description
75-89.99B3Very Good


In schools, grades are based on 20. Depending on the school and the grade of study, a good mark varies, but in most occasions 16 or higher is considered to be a good one.

This system of grading based on 20 is also common in universities, but sometimes percent scoring is also used in higher educational systems.[8]

GradeScale 1Scale 2Description
16-17.99A4Very Good
10-11.99D1Acceptable (10 = Pass)


Most of the Primary, middle and high schools in Iraq grade out of 100 percent with a passing grade of 50 percent, So the grade point average is out of 100. Most of the post-secondary institutions (Universities, Colleges, Technical colleges ... etc.) uses the "word" grading system described below:

Very Good80–89[citation needed]


The 100-point grading scale is as follows:

1095-100מצוין‎ (excellent)
985-94טוב מאוד‎ (very good)
875-84טוב‎ (good)
765-74כמעט טוב‎ (almost good)
655-64מספיק‎ (sufficient)
545-54מספיק בקושי‎ (barely sufficient)
<4<44בלתי מספיק/נכשל‎ (insufficient/failed)


In Japan, most higher education institutions give grades on a scale from 0–100, but a few universities apply letter grades. While for years an "A" grade range was from 80 to 100 points, some schools (for example, at Kurume University) have started to give the 90 to 100 point range a special grade to indicate excellence.[9] A failing grade is generally called an "E", though some institutions use "F".

ScaleLetter Grade
90-100Excellent (AA, or T)
0-59Fail (E or F)


According to standardized Credit System accepted in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the measurements of varying levels of comprehension in the realm of Higher Education in the Republic of Kazakhstan are the following:



Kuwait employs a four point grading system and percentages.

GPAGPA in percentageGPA descriptionPercentage of Students that earned this grade in 2009–2010
3.80–4.0097–100امتياز وتفوق (Excellence and Perfection)4
3.50–3.8090–97امتياز (Excellence)9
3.00–3.5085–89جيد جدا (Very Good)18
2.50–3.0069–85جيد (Good)37
2.00–2.5054–69مقبول (Acceptable)21
1.80–2.0049–54غير كافي ولكن مقبول (Insufficient but Acceptable)6
1.50–1.8045–49%راسب لكن يمكن التعويض بالكورس الصيفي (Failure but possible compensation in summer school)2
0.00–1.500–45%راسب و لا يمكن التعويض بالكورس الصيفي (Failure without possible compensation in summer school)2


Kyrgyzstan employs a five point grading system:[10]

GradeGrade descriptionNotes
5Эң жакшы (Excellent) 
4Жакшы (Good) 
3Канаатандырарлык (Satisfactory) 
2Канаатандырарлык эмес (Unsatisfactory)Not a passing grade
1Эң канаатандырарлык эмес (Most Unsatisfactory)Uncommon


In Lebanon, most schools use a 0–20 scale where the passing grade is 10 out of 20 or in some cases 12 out of 20. However there's a variety of grading systems used. Some schools that offer the IB (International Baccalaureate) or even Lebanese Bac use the 0–100 scale, 60 being the average score. Some use the American system. However in the typical school offering a Lebanese system, getting high grades is very hard, because teachers do not use the full scale. For instance the highest score one can earn in essay writing in some schools is 14 out of 20. All scores are based out of 20. Yet each subject has a weight for the overall average. This weight is determined by the credit hours. For instance math (6hours/week) x 20 (the base grade) = 120 (weight) Example: Student's grades: (math 13.33/20, English 13.4/20, biology 8.25/20)

English: 5 credits x 13.4 = 67 out of possible 100

Math: 6 credits x 13.33 = 79.98 out of possible 120

Biology: 2 credits x 8.25 = 16.5 out of possible 40

Total points earned = 163.48 out of possible 260

Overall Average= 12.575 out of 20 (Considered a good average)

U.S. Equivalence
Scale / U.S. Grade Equiv.
14-20 / A+
13–13.9 / A
11–12.9 / B+
10–10.9 / B
9.5–9.9 / B−
9.1–9.4 / C+
9 / C
8–8.9 / C−
6.5–7.9 / D
0–6.5 / F

However in most universities the American grading system is used. Others use the 0–100 scale where the passing grade is 60 or 70 depending on the course. Yet French system universities use the 0–20 grading scale.


Malaysia has its own educational grading system. Different level and institution of education uses different grading scheme. This is an example of grading system practiced in a university in Malaysia.

GradeMeaningQuality pointPercentage score
AExceptional4.00Above 85%
A-Excellent3.7Above 80%
B+Very Good3.3Above 75%
BGood3.00Above 70%
B-Fairly Good2.7Above 65%
C+Satisfactory2.3Above 60%
CQuite Satisfactory2.00Above 55%
DPoor1.67Above 45%
D-Very Poor1.33Above 40%
EExtremely Poor1.00Above 35%
FFail0.00Below 34%

Until high school, an averaged percentage is provided. A percentage over 80 is considered excellent; between 60-80 is considered to be 'first division'; between 40-60 is considered to be 'second division' The Percentage System works as : Maximum Marks:100, Minimum Marks: 0, Minimum Marks Required for Passing: 35. 100-91% Considered Excellent,75-90% Considered Very Good, 55–64% considered good, 45–55% considered fair, 41–44% considered Pass, 0-40% considered fail. A percentage above 65% is referred as 1st Division and indicates high intellectual level. Some Universities follow weighted average pattern to calculate percentage: 1st and 2nd Semester–40% of the aggregate marks, 3rd and 4th Semester-60% of the aggregate marks, 5th and 6th Semester-80% of the aggregate marks, 7th and 8th Semester-100% of the aggregate marks. The 10 point GPA is categorized as follows: 10-9.1 (O ( out of standing ) or A+)- Best, 9-8.1 (A)-Excellent, 8-7.1 (B+)-exceptionally good, 7-6.1 (B)-very good, 6-5.1 (C+)- good, 5-4.1 (C)- average, 4-3.1 (D+)-fair, 3.1-2 (D)- Pass, 2-0 (E+-E)-fail. A GPA of over 7 is generally considered to be an indication of a strong grasp of all subjects.

90 to 1004.5OOutstanding
60 to 894.0A or (A+ for >90%)Distinction / First class**
50 to 593.5B+Second Class
40 to 493.0BPass Class
< 392.0CFail


Grading Scheme[11]

GradePercentage MarksRemarks
A180 and aboveExcellent
A70-80Very Good
E33–40Just Passed

In the old grading system consisting of “Division Scheme”, the range of percentage of marks is as follows:

Percentage of MarksDivision
60 - 100First
45 - 59.99Second
33 - 44.99Third
0 - 32.99Fail

Nowadays most universities of Engineering and Technology follow following grading system [citation needed].

A90 and above4.00
F50 AND below00.00

Palestinian Authority[edit]

Schools have grades from 1–100 starting from the 4th grade on. In Universities both numerical and alphabetical grade systems can be found, it is up to the teacher.


Saudi Arabia[edit]

Most of the universities and colleges and schools in Saudi Arabia are very similar to United States except the way the grades are said.

GradePercentageGPA value
Arabic: ممتاز
Very Good
Arabic: جيد جداً
Arabic: جيد
Arabic: مقبول

In other universities in Saudi Arabia such as Imam University, King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, King Khalid University and King Faisal University, the following method is used:

GradePercentageGPA value
Arabic: ممتاز
Very Good
Arabic: جيد جداً
Arabic: جيد
Arabic: مقبول
Arabic: راسب


Secondary School (13–16 years old)


South Korea[edit]

Middle School (7–9th grade)
Points are the student's raw score in midterms and finals (out of 100).


High School (10–12th grade)

Percentage is the students' relative position among other students taking same subject (100% is the highest, 0% is the lowest).

96–1001등급 / Grade 1
89–962등급 / Grade 2
77–893등급 / Grade 3
62–774등급 / Grade 4
40–615등급 / Grade 5
23–406등급 / Grade 6
11–237등급 / Grade 7
4–118등급 / Grade 8
0–49등급 / Grade 9

United Arab Emirates[edit]

Primary education is free at government run schools. The grading is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE). However, there are many schools run by expatriates that are equally successful with their own grading system, or an accepted grading system of the country where the schools are affiliated to or share common standards with. At most universities and colleges, the United Arab Emirates' grading system is very similar to the United States' system.


The grade scale in Vietnam is from 10 to 1 where 10 is the highest

10 - Excellent 9 - Very good 8 - Good 7 - Acceptable 6 - Satisfactory 5 - Satisfactory 4 - Insufficient 3 - Insufficient 2 - Insufficient 1 - Fail

Central America[edit]

Costa Rica[edit]




In Austria, grades from 1 to 5 are used.

1 (Sehr gut)100–90Excellent
2 (Gut)89–80Good
3 (Befriedigend)79–64Satisfactory
4 (Genügend)63–51Sufficient
5 (Nicht genügend)50–0Insufficient

The formalized overall grade in Austria is "pass with distinction" (mit ausgezeichnetem Erfolg bestanden), which is given for excellent performance (average of 1.5 and better, no grade below 3)[12] and "pass" (Bestanden, no grade below 4).[13]

If someone is given a "pass with distinction" in his Matura, Diploma and PhD, all curricula absolved in the regular duration time he can have a 'promotio sub auspiciis presidentis rei publicae', (literally "under the auspices of the President of the Republic", meaning that the Federal President will personally attend the graduation ceremony), which is the highest honor in Austria only achieved by 1 out of 2500 graduates (.04%) yearly.[14]

Generally speaking, a cumulative Grade Point Average does not exist in the Austrian educational system and therefore has little relevance in the local job market.


In Albania, grades from 1 to 10 are used, with some schools allowing decimals (up to the hundredth digit) and some others only allowing whole numbers.

8.00–9.00Very Good

Most universities evaluate classes with two mid exams and a final. The final exam encompasses the whole course syllabus, whereas the mid exams usually review half. In some schools, if the average grade of the two mid exams is equal to or higher than 7.00, the student is able to pass the class without the need to take a final exam (since there are only two exams, some teachers also pass students who average 6.50; others weigh in the decision based on the student's performance in class). An average of less than 4.00 is failing; students who score such an average are not allowed to take the final exam.

In high schools, the year is divided into three trimesters and classes are usually yearlong. Students need an average of 6.00 or higher in the three trimestral exams to avoid having to take a final to pass the class. In the event of a student scoring less than 6.00 in the third trimester, he or she would have to take a final exam, regardless of average. This is considered controversial, since the last trimestral exam is not more important than the first two, but the rule stands to prevent students who have already reached the minimum average (e.g., two 10.00 in the first two give a student the lowest possible average of 6.33) from not making an effort during the last three months of the year.


In Belgian Universities a scale from 0 to 20 is used on a per subject basis, a weighted average is then computed on scale from 0 to 20, 10 being the passing grade average per subject and 12 for the total(satisfactory). An average of 14(70%) gets you a distinction grade (cum laude), 16(80%) means high distinction (magna cum laude) and an average of 18(90%) yields the highest distinction (summa/maxima cum laude).

Belgian secondary schools use a scale from 0 to 100 or even above for (big) exams (50 usually being the passing grade). On report cards, certain schools also give grades on a percentage scale (0 to 100) while others use a 0–10 scale. Those total scores are weighted averages of exams and tests. In Belgian secondary schools, there are 6 years. In the first three years, students have to do exams every term. The scores are usually given in percentages. On the end of the school year, a total average score is given.

"Colleges" (other form of higher education, not comparable with American colleges) use the same scale from 0 to 20 as Belgian Universities, although homework and presence may influence up to 50% or even more of these 20 points (situation as of February 2011).

Scaling varies significantly depending on the university or college.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, grades from 5 to 1 are used in primary and secondary education, while grades from 10 to 5 are used at universities.

Primary and secondary education grading:

5OdličanExcellent - Best possible grade (A)
4Vrlo dobarVery Good - Next highest grade - Above average (B)
3DobarGood - Average performance (C)
2DovoljanSufficient - Lowest passing grade (D)
1NedovoljanInsufficient - Failing grade (E/F)

University grading:

1091 - 100Exceptional
981 - 90Excellent
871 - 80Very good
761 - 70Good
651 - 60Sufficient - Lowest passing grade
51 - 50Insufficient - Failing grade


In Bulgaria, the following grade scale is used in schools:

6Отличен (Excellent)The best possible grade 92–100% A
5Много добър (Very good)Next highest 75–91% B
4Добър (Good)Indicates average performance 59–74% C
3Среден (Average)Lowest passing grade 50–58% D
2Слаб (Weak)Failing grade 0–49% F

For examinations and tests, exact grading is often used and is represented by two positions after the decimal point:

5.50–6.00Отличен (Excellent)Best possible grade 92–100% A
4.50–5.49Много добър (Very Good)Next highest 75–91% B
3.50–4.49Добър (Good)Indicates average performance 59–74% C
3.00–3.49Среден (Average)Lowest passing grade 50–58% D
2.00–2.99Слаб (Weak)Failing grade 0–49% F

Grades as, e.g., Good (3.50), or Excellent (5.75), are common. Every passing grade at or above the .50 mark is prefixed with the term of the higher grade. The minimum is 2.00; grades below 3.00 are failing grades, and the maximum is 6.00. Grades like "Very Good" (5-) and "Average" (3+) are also possible - these are ignored in calculations.

Roughly, the Bulgarian grade system can be equated to the American one as the following: 6=A, 5=B, 4=C, 3=D, and 2=F. Also, in accordance with the Australian system, 6=HD, 5=D, 4=Cr, 3=P, and 2=F.

The most common formula used in Bulgarian schools is currently Grade=(6* number of correct answers)/ total number of questions. That way if a student has answered 7 out of 10 questions correctly, their mark should be: (6*7)/10=4.20, which is graded as Good 4 or an average performance.


In Croatia, the following grade scale is used in schools:

5Odličan or IzvrstanExcellent, best possible grade A
4Vrlo dobarVery Good, next highest B
3DobarGood, indicates average performance C
2DovoljanSufficient, lowest passing grade D
1NedovoljanInsufficient, failing grade F

At the end of each semester the grades are averaged to form a Grade Point Average (prosječna ocjena), according to this scale:

5.00–4.50Odličan or IzvrstanExcellent, best possible grade A
4.49–3.50Vrlo dobarVery Good, next highest B
3.49–2.50DobarGood, indicates average performance C
2.49–2.0DovoljanSufficient, lowest passing grade D
1.49–1.0NedovoljanInsufficient, failing grade F

In colloquial Croatian, grades are referred to be their numerical values: jedinica, dvojka, trojka, četvorka, petica. In the Kvarner region of Croatia jedinica is also known as komad or kolac and dvojka is also known as duja.

Students with failing grades (1 or F) are allowed to carry those grades throughout the school year, but are required to improve them to passing grades (2 or better) in order to finish the year. Failure to pass one class results in the student being held back a year.

Czech Republic[edit]

In Czech Republic, a five-point grading scale is used in both primary and secondary schools:

1VýbornýExcellentThe best grade achievable. U.S. 'A' equivalent.
2ChvalitebnýCommendableU.S. 'B' equivalent.
3DobrýGoodU.S. 'C' equivalent.
4DostatečnýSufficientU.S. 'D' equivalent.
5NedostatečnýInsufficientFailing grade. U.S. 'E/F' equivalent.

Plus and minus signs are often used to further differentiate marks. For example, "2+" corresponds to the U.S. 'B+'. Half-intervals may also be used, such as "2–3", a grade halfway between 2 and 3.

At the university level, only grades 1, 2 and 3 are passing; anything worse than 3 is automatically a failing grade. Some universities use a six-point scale, with 'A' corresponding to "1", 'B' to "1–2", etc.


The current scale, syv-trins-skalaen ("The 7-step-scale"), was introduced in 2007, replacing the old 13-skala ("13-scale"). The new scale is designed to be compatible with the ECTS-scale.

Syv-trins-skalaen consists of seven different grades, ranging from 12 to −3, with 12 being the highest. This new scale remains an "absolute" scale, meaning that, proportions are not taken into consideration.

GradeECTS GradeDescriptionTranslation
10BFortrinligVery good


90%-100%5Very good
20%-49%2Not passable


Several systems are in use in different educational institutions in Finland. The "school grade" system has historically been a scale of 0 to 10, but all grades lower than 4 have been discarded. Thus, it is now divided between 4, the failing grade, and 5–10, the succeeding grades. Upper secondary school has same grades for courses and course exams as comprehensive school but matriculation examination grades are in Latin. Universities and vocational institutions use a scale of 0 (fail) and 1–5 (pass), or fail/pass. Some schools e.g. Savon Ammatti- ja Aikuisopisto, uses grading from 0 (fail) and 1-3 (pass). The professor selects which grading scheme is used; short, optional courses typically have pass/fail grades.


In France, schools grades typically range from either 0 (worst) to 20 (best) (or, sometimes, from 0 (worst) to 10 (best)). A mark below the average (10 out of 20 or 5 out of 10, depending on the scale) is usually a fail. For the French National High School Level (baccalauréat), a grade of 8–10 typically gives the right to take an additional oral exam in order to try to improve that average to 10 and pass. A grade between 10 and 12 is a simple pass (without grade) ; between 12 and 14 (more rarely 13–14) the grade is called "assez bien" (rather good) ; 14–16 is called "bien" (good) ; above 16 is "très bien" (very good). An exams jury can award the "Félicitations du Jury" for any mark, though they usually reserve it to a candidate who has achieved 18/20 or more. Grade equivalence between France and the U.S. Grading Scale Scale U.S. Grade Equiv. 14-20 = A ; 12-13.9 = B+; 11-11.9 = B; 10.5-10.9 = B-; 10.1-10.4 = C+; 10 = C; 9-9.9 = C-; 8-8.9 = D; 0-7.9 = F;



In Germany, school grades vary from 1 (very good, sehr gut) to 6 (insufficient, ungenügend). In the final classes of German Gymnasium schools that prepare for university studies, a point system is used with 15 points being the best grade and 0 points the worst. The percentage causes the grade can vary from teacher to teacher. The percentages shown in the table are the ones used in the "Oberstufe" (final classes).

German Grade System
PercentageGrades by educationDescriptorApproximate Conversion
(varies with school/subject)primary & 1st secondary
(1st–10th grade)
2nd secondary (Gymnasium, 11–12/13th grade)tertiary (Hochschule & Universität)(to the U.S. system*)
90–100115 points1.0"sehr gut" (very good: an outstanding achievement)A+ or A
14 points
1-13 points1.3
80-902+12 points1.7"gut" (good: an achievement which lies substantially above average requirements)A or A-
211 points2.0
2−10 points2.3
65–803+9 points2.7"befriedigend" (satisfactory: an achievement which corresponds to average requirements)B+
38 points3.0B
3−7 points3.3B−
50–654+6 points3.7"ausreichend" (sufficient: an achievement which still meets the requirements)C+
45 points4.0C
0–504−4 points5.0C-
5+3 points"mangelhaft" / "nicht ausreichend" (below the requirements)D
52 points
5−1 point
60 points"ungenügend" (not sufficient / failed: an achievement which does not meet the requirements)F

*This conversion scheme is intended as a guideline, as exact conversions may differ.


In Hungary, a five-point scale has been used since 1950. There is one failing grade: 1 – elégtelen (insufficient). In general, the lowest passing mark is either 50% or 60%, or one mark (point) higher. Passing grades are 2 – elégséges (sufficient or pass), 3 – közepes (mediocre or satisfactory), 4 – (good) and 5 – jeles (excellent).

The bare five-point scale is used almost exclusively for final grades at all educational levels (elementary school, high school, university). During the academic year, however, teachers may use various modifiers, especially in elementary school. A comma (,) after the grade has a minus effect ("alá", below), and an apostrophe (’) after the grade has a plus effect ("fölé", above); a grade halfway between two integers is indicated by the lower and higher one separated by a solidus: 3/4 ("háromnegyed") is equivalent to 3.5, and 4/5 is between 4 and 5, etc. Sometimes "5*", five starred ("csillagos ötös") is used to indicate outstanding performance throughout the semester.

GradeMeaning (Hungarian)English translationPercentage

(pass=50%+1 scale)


(pass=60% scale)

5Jeles / ÖtösExcellent91–10090–100
4/ NégyesGood81–9080–89
3Közepes / HármasSatisfactory or Mediocre66–8070–79
2Elégséges / KettesPass or Sufficient51–6560–69
1Elégtelen / EgyesFail or Insufficient0–500–59


In Iceland, grades from 0 to 10 are used. and 5 is usually the lowest passing grade but in some cases the lowest passing grade can be 4.5.


The two government regulated educational qualifications are the Junior Certificate (usually taken at 15/16) and the Leaving Cerficiate (usually taken at between the ages of 17 and 19).

GradePercentage RangeDescription
B70–84%Very Good
NG0Unworthy of Marking

Passing or failing the Junior Cert (or any exams in Irish secondary schools), has no bearing on whether or not students can graduate or continue on.

For the Leaving Certificate, a points system is used. A maximum of 6 subjects are counted, with a possible 100 points in each subject. In practice, most students take 7 or 8 subjects and their best 6 results are counted. Each subject has 2 or 3 levels: higher, ordinary and foundation. The points are:

GradePercentage RangeHigher Level PointsOrdinary Level PointsFoundation Level Points
A190% - 100%1006020
A285% - 89%905015
B180% - 84%854510
B275% - 79%80405
B370% - 74%75350
C165% - 69%70300
C260% - 64%65250
C355% - 59%60200
D150% - 54%55150
D245% - 49%50100
D340% - 44%4550
E25% - 39%000
F10% - 24%000
NG0% - 10%000

A candidate can get 20 points for an A1 in foundation level subjects. If he or she achieves any grade less than a B2, which is 5 points, he or she will receive no points.

The points system allocates all university places in Ireland for Irish applicants.

Irish universities vary in their grading systems. For example, UCD (University College Dublin) awards letter grades and corresponding GPA values similar to the United States system, but 1, 2.1, 2.2 etc. for degrees, while TCD (Trinity College Dublin) awards all grades as 1, 2.1, 2.2 etc.[16]


In Italy, Primary and Mid School grades may vary from 10 (excellent) to 1 (impossible to assess), with passing being 6.

In High Schools (Licei) however grades vary within a much more limited range, between 4 and 8, often with each professor applying his/her own criteria and with 8 being the best possible grade, even if the total theoretical range is supposed to be 1 to 10. When a professor wants to apply a more precise scale and ranking for students assessments, instead of using the full 1–10 scale (which would have made the scale inconsistent with that of other professors), s/he would often use a plethora of symbols and decimals: the range between 5 and 6 would then be expressed, in ascending order, by 5+, 5++, 5½, 5/6, 6−−, and 6−. Minimum passing is 6. As these symbols (except ½) have no clear mathematical value, calculating end-year averages could be somewhat arbitrary and inconsistent; therefore, there has been a push since 2008 with the Gelmini reform to uniform the system to the 0–10 scale.[17]

Before this reform, primary and secondary school grades used a different grading scale that expressed an assessment of the pupil's progress:

A recent school reform provides for the average grade of a student to include the grade for behavior; as in academic subjects, acceptable ratings range from 6 to 10. In universities a point system is used for exams, with 30 points being the best grade and 18 the minimum passing grade. This stems from the practice that exams were traditionally given by 3 examiners. Each had to rate the student's examination performance on a 1-10 scale, and the final grade was the sum of the three ratings. On a 1-10 scale, passing is 6, so on a 1-30 scale the minimum passing grade is 3*6 = 18. Nowadays the form of each exmination is decided by the professor[citation needed] (number of examiners, whether written, oral, or both, etc.), but the traditional grading system remained.

Degrees have an analogous point system, in which however the highest grade can be 110, 100 or even 70, depending on faculty regulations. A cum laude notation (e lode in Italian) is used to augment the highest grade for both exams and degrees, in all its levels, to reflect truly outstanding performance.


The academic grading system in Latvia has recently[when?] been changed to a ten-point scale,[citation needed] where "10" (Latvian: desmit) is the highest achievable grade, and "1" (Latvian: viens) is awarded for extremely poor performance. The minimal passing grade is "4" (Latvian: četri), though some universities have a minimum passing grade of "5" (Latvian: pieci).

The absence of any kind of performance is indicated by "nv" (Latvian: nav vērtējuma 'no assessment possible'); in the past, the mark for absence of work was "0" (Latvian: nulle). Teachers in lower classes and for minor assignments in higher classes are encouraged to award one of two grades: "i" (Latvian: ieskaitīts 'counted') for a passing grade, and "ni" (Latvian: neieskaitīts 'not counted') for a failing grade. The grade of 10 is reserved for exceptional achievements. 9 is most commonly used for an USA equivalent of an A.


In Lithuania, the grading system was changed to a 10-point scale in 1995.[citation needed] Prior to that, Soviet Lithuania had a 5-point grading scale. 10 is the highest achievable grade for an excellent performance and 1 is the lowest. Usually, 1 is given when there is no work submitted at all (called kuolas in the academic jargon, meaning 'stake'); otherwise, most teachers keep 2 the lowest grade and rarely mark work as 1.

The lowest grade for passing a subject in school is usually 4.

Teachers in lower classes are encouraged to write marks such as lg – labai gerai (very good), g – gerai (good), patenkinamai (sufficient to pass) or nepatenkinamai (insufficient to pass).

Some subjects (like Arts, Music, Technology) can use pass-fail grades, which are įsk – įskaityta (passed) or neįsk – neįskaityta (not passed).

The same system is used for evaluating students' work in universities. However, the minimal grade to pass is usually 5.

In 6th grade, students have a choice of French, German or Russian as a second foreign language. The first foreign language is usually English, but it depends on the school.


Primary and secondary education:

5одличен (odličen)Excellent - Best possible grade (A)
4многу добар (mnogu dobar)Very Good - Next highest grade - Above average (B)
3добар (dobar)Good - Average performance (C)
2доволен (dovolen)Sufficient - Lowest passing grade (D)
1недоволен (nedovolen)Insufficient - Failing grade (E/F)

University grading:

1091 - 100Exceptional
981 - 90Excellent
871 - 80Very good
761 - 70Good
651 - 60Sufficient - Lowest passing grade
51 - 50Insufficient - Failing grade


Moldova uses a 10-point scale system, 5 being the minimum grade for passing:


In the Netherlands, grades from 1.0 up to 10.0 are used, with 1 being worst and 10 being best. This system can correspond to a percentage system (1 means 0–5% correct and 10 means 95–100% correct) but sometimes points are deducted for number of faults on a test (typically, on vocabulary or topographical tests with more than 10 questions, each fault will nonetheless lead to a reduction in score of one. So 2 faults on a 50 question vocabulary test would constitute an 8) . The grades 9 and 10 are hardly ever given on large examinations (on average, a 9 is awarded in only 1.5%, and a 10 in 0.5% of the cases). Generally, either one or two decimal places are predominantly used in secondary and higher education. In primary education, fractions of grades are identified with a + or −, which signifies a quarter (converted to either 0.8 or 0.3 if only one decimal place is used). Thus, a grade of 6.75 (or 6.8) could be written as 7−, whereas a grade of 7+ would count for 7.25 or 7.3.

A 5.5 constitutes a pass, whereas 5.4 and below constitute a fail. If no decimal places are used, 6 and up is a pass and 5 and below is a fail; however, in this case of grading in full numbers there exists sometimes "6-", which would officially translate to 5.75, but can be interpreted here as "barely, but just good enough". Roughly, a student scores a 5.5 (pass) when 2/3 (67%) of an exam is correct. If the grade would be a 5.49 and one decimal is used, the 5.49 will be a 5.5, but if no decimals are used (usually at the end of the year) the 5.49 will end up as a 5 which indicates a fail.

Depending on the specific university, some students who finish their studies with an average of 8.0 or higher, could get the nomination cum laude (which is comparable with summa cum laude as awarded in Germany and the United States).

The grade scale with its labels:

GradeQualificationDescriptionUK [18]USA [18]
9zeer goedvery goodA*A+
8.5zeer goedvery goodA*A
7.5ruim voldoendemore than sufficientA-A-
7ruim voldoendemore than sufficientBB+
4onvoldoendestrongly insufficientFF
3zeer matigvery strongly insufficientFF
1zeer slechtvery poorFF


In primary school (Barneskole, from age 6 to 13) no official grades are given. However, the teachers write an individual comment or analysis on tests and in the end of every term.

Lower secondary school (Ungdomsskole; age 13–16) and upper secondary school (Videregående skole; age 16–19) use a scale running from 1 through 6, with 6 being the highest and 2 the lowest passing grade. For non-final tests and mid-term evaluations the grades are often post fixed with + or − (except 6+ and 1−). It is also common to use grades such as 5/6 or 4/3 indicating borderline grades. However, the grades students get on their diploma (Vitnemål), are single-digit grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. The student's non-weighted grade point average is also given on the Vitnemål.

In higher education, according to the ECTS-system, grades for undergraduate and postgraduate examinations are awarded according to a graded scale from A (highest) to F (lowest), with E as the minimum passing grade. The ECTS system was implemented at Norway's universities and colleges in the early 2000s, with most schools having converted to ECTS by 2003.

Before 2003, the formerly most common system of grades used at university level was based on a scale running from 1.0 (highest) through 6.0 (lowest), with 4.0 being the lowest passing grade. The way the new Bologna system was introduced implies that students, who had started their studies while the old system still was in effect, will graduate with transcripts containing grades from both systems (i.e. both numbers and letters).

An academic year has two semesters, from August to December and from January to June, although exceptions occur. Courses are measured in "studiepoeng" according to the ECTS standard (European Credit Transfer System credits). A normal full-time study progression awards 60 credits (studiepoeng/stp) per year (30 per semester). Most institutions either use a 7.5, 8, 10, 12, 15 or 20 credit block system.


The most commonly used system in Polish grade schools is as follows (with usual corresponding score percentages):

'Acceptable' is a passing grade.

Grades (especially expressed numerically) might be suffixed with + (plus) or - (minus). On rare occasions the = (double minus) is used, especially as 2= to express the very lowest passing grade.

Post-secondary institutions use a different system, usually consisting of the following grades (with usual corresponding score percentages):

The scores corresponding to each grade vary greatly from institution to institution and from course to course, but usually a score of 50% or 51% is required to obtain the lowest passing grade (3.0). The notations zal. and nzal. are used when the course only requires attendance and/or is not important (such as sports).


In Portuguese primary and middle schools, up until the 9th grade inclusive, the grading system is as follows:

From the 10th grade onwards, including tertiary education, a 20-point grading scale is used, with 20 being the highest grade possible and 9.5 the minimum grade for passing. This 20-point system is used both for test scores and grades.


The used system in Romanian primary schools is as follows:

In secondary schools, high schools, and academic institutions, a 10-point scale is used, 5 being the minimum grade for passing:

There is no 0, and 1 is given only for cheating. If a student scores 86%, he will be given a grade of 8.60, which will be rounded to a 9.


Most Russian educational institutions use a five-point grading scale:

GradeLong nameShort name (ru)Long name (pronunciation)Short name (pronunciation)Translation of nameDescriptionPercent
5ОтличноотлOtlìčnootlVery good or Excellentbest possible grade93% and above
4ХорошохорKhorošòkhorGoodGoodapproximately 85%–92%
3УдовлетворительноудUdovletvorìtelnoudSatisfactory, sometimes translated into English as Fairpassing grade77%–84%

Qualifiers + and – are often used to add some degree of differentiation between the grades: e.g., 4+ is better than 4, but not quite as good as 5−. Grading varies greatly from school to school, university to university, and even teacher to teacher, even for courses that lend themselves to objective marking, such as mathematics and applied sciences. Even though the grades technically range from 1 to 5, 1 is not common and is rarely given for academic reasons—in many cases, a 1 is given as a result of failure to show up for or to complete an exam. A 2 grade usually means that the student showed no or little knowledge in a subject.

It may be worth mentioning that 1 is a fairly exotic grade in Russian schools, but it does officially exist. The generally used grades are 2 to 5. Plus (+) and minus (–) modifiers follow the same tendency; they are rarely used in middle school and almost never in colleges or universities. Some institutions and teachers, dissatisfied with the five-point scale, work with various larger ones, but these grading systems are not recognized by the state and require conversion for official use.

A considerably more complex grading system has been implemented for the recently introduced Unified state examinations. In this system, a "primary grade" is the sum of points for completed tasks, with each of the tasks having a maximum number of points allocated to it. The maximum total primary grade varies by subject, so that one might obtain a primary grade of 23 out of 37 in mathematics and a primary grade of 43 out of 80 in French. The primary grades are then converted into final or "test grades" by means of a sophisticated statistical calculation, which takes into account the distribution of primary grades among the examinees. This system has been criticized for its lack of transparency.

At universities some subjects are graded "Pass/No pass" or "Credit/No Credit" (зачёт/незачёт, pronounced "zachòt/nyezachòt"); the rest are typically graded on the five-point scale. The "Pass/No Pass" grades do not have any official numeric representation. When zachòt – (credit- or pass-) type subjects are graded as "Pass/No pass", this represents a student's knowledge of a subject. Each university applies its own standards with respect to the knowledge a student must have in order to pass a subject. Zachòt equival to pass with mark of min 77% to max 100%. Students in Russia must pass all prescribed courses in order to graduate.[19]

Since the word zachòt can be translated variously into English (e.g. as "credit" or "pass"), this notation can create problems for Russian students applying to Western universities. Such grades may confuse Western universities and complicate accurate calculation of students' GPAs in Western systems. For Western system "Pass" calculation recommended to perform based on averages. Western universities and equivalency organizations usually disregard zachòt, despite the fact that this notation is typically used for about half of a student's course results. Consequently, most western GPA conversions of Russian degrees reflect only part of a candidate's coursework.[20]

It should be noted that all course examinations and zachot tests must be passed at the time each is given, as there are no repeats, resits or grade appeals. Hence only those who satisfy all the requirements during the allotted examination period for each semester graduate, leaving a huge number of students behind who in the West would have a chance to resit examinations and even get their grades reconsidered. Furthermore, grades in Russia are determined not only by examination results but also by other criteria such as attendance at lectures, participation in class, term papers and projects, in-class and homework assignments, laboratory reports, presentations, and sometimes even grooming and behavior. All these must be passed during the semester before a 'final examination mark' and final zachot is awarded.

Russian degrees do not have composite classifications such as in the British system of First Class, Upper/Lower Second Class, Third Class, Pass, etc. This is because each course is examined independently, students must pass all of them, and they do not add up or contribute to an average grade or 'class'. Another reason is that during the Russian Revolution, social stratification and classification were supposedly abolished in the interest of promoting social equality. Accordingly, all students would be expected to perform at or above the minimum level required to qualify and graduate. Calculation of an aggregate mark or GPA is not considered fair or even possible, as it would be felt to disregard much of a candidate's academic work. The zachòt notation would complicate such calculation, and the final thesis qualifying mark is usually considered as the final result. Students who have shown exceptional academic talent by getting 5's in most of their courses are awarded a 'degree with excellence', which comes in a special red cover.[19]


Serbia has the same academic grading system of the Former Yugoslavia. In elementary schools and secondary schools, a five-point grading scale is used:


In Slovakia, a five-point grading scale is used in primary and secondary schools:

GradeMeaningUS equivalent
1Výborný (EXCELLENT) – best possible grade.A
2Chválitebný (COMMENDABLE)B
3Dobrý (GOOD)C
4Dostatočný (SUFFICIENT)D
5Nedostatočný (INSUFFICIENT) – failing grade.F


In Spain, schools grades typically range either 0 (worst) to 10 (best). A mark below 5 is usually a fail. These grades are described as follows:[21]


Sweden has a grading scheme from A to F. Every grade gives a certain amount of points that the students will use to apply for a gymnasium and university.

The "main grades" are F, E, C and A. F is the lowest grade and it's not passable. It gives zero points. E is the lowest passing grade, it counts 10 points and D is a higher version of E, counting 12.5 points. C is the middle grade, it counts 15 points and B is the higher version of C, counting 17.5 points. A is the highest grade and counts 20 points.


Switzerland has a grading scheme from 1 to 6. 6 is the highest and 4 the minimum pass mark.

5.5Very good
4.5Relatively good
2.5Very poor
2Extremely poor
1.5Almost no performance
1No performance, absence without good cause, cheating or attempt to cheat


Ukraine introduced a new grading system in autumn 2000,[22] which replaced the existing Soviet grading system.

The new system provides grades that lie between 1 and 12 and are matched with the 5-point grade system that was used previously, as presented in the table below. 12 is the equivalent of an honors/AP course "A+" in the U.S. and is usually given only for outstanding achievement or exceptionally creative work. Hence 11 is the grade that would ordinarily correspond to A in the United States.

New systemOld system


In Turkey, grades from 0 to 5 are used.

GradePercentage RangeDescription
585–100%Very Good

European academic grading[edit]

With the exception of Liechtenstein, which uses the Swiss grading system, and Moldova, which uses the Romanian grading system, the majority of European countries create their own academic grading standards. Most involve combinations of the key elements of grading, and all are used to evaluate students' performance on a scale of passing to failing (or comprehending to not comprehending material).

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom

North America[edit]


Mexican schools use a scale from 0 to 10 to measure students' scores. Since decimal scores are common, a scale from 0 to 100 is often used to remove the decimal point.

In some Universities, students who fail a subject have the option of taking an extraordinary test (examen extraordinario, often shortened to extra) that evaluates the contents of the entire period. Once the test is finished and the score is assessed, this score becomes the entire subject's score, thus giving failing students a chance to pass their subjects. Those who fail the extraordinary test have two more chances to take it; if the last test is failed, the subject is marked as failed and pending, and depending on the school, the student may fail the entire year.

Some private schools (particularly in higher levels of education) require a 70 to pass instead of the regular 60.

Grades are often absolute and not class-specific. It may be the case that the top of the class gets a final grade of 79. Curve-adjustment is rare. Grad-level students are usually expected to have grades of 80 or above to graduate. Students in the honor roll are usually those with an overall GPA of 90 or higher upon graduation, and some private universities will award them a "With Honors" diploma. Additionally, in some private universities, the pass scores is higher or lower depending from the kind of studies that are related with (for example, in some universities, in the case of Engineering, the minimum score is 7.3 and for Art Sciences is 8.8) and lower than this score is not acceptable.


Conversions from percentage marks to letter grades, by province:


In Senior High Schools:

LetterPercentageProvincial StandingNotes
A80-100Standard of ExcellenceFinal course grades in this range are annotated with Honors Standing in the Alberta Senior High School.
B65-79Exceeds Acceptable Standard 
C50–64Acceptable Standard 
D40–49Below Acceptable Standard 
F0–39Failing grade, no credits awarded toward Alberta High School Diploma. 

In Alberta Post-Secondary Colleges, Technical Institutes, or Universities:

Letter gradeGrade pointsNotes
A+4.3 (4.0 at University of Alberta, SAIT Polytechnic, MacEwan University, and University of Calgary[23]) 
A−3.7Student may be awarded an Honours designation on a parchment if semester and cumulative grade point average of 3.7 is achieved on the first attempt of courses required towards graduation of major. In addition, students will need to complete graduation requirements within specific time restrictions.
D1.0Minimum general passing letter grade to receive credit for a course. Certain faculties may require higher grades to receive course credit.

There is no universal percentage grade associated with any letter grade in the Province of Alberta and such associations are made by professors or a bell curve.

Some universities in Alberta have used a 9-point stanine grading scale: 9=A+, 8=A/A–, 7=B+/B, 6=B–/C+, 5=C, 4=D, 0 to 3=F. See also the University of Alberta Office of the Registrar.[24]

British Columbia[edit]

In British Columbia universities: F is a failing grade. The following table is only an approximation; faculties within universities sometimes follow a different system for converting percentage marks to letter grades.[25]

C- 50-59

Grade F is the sole failing mark.


The University of Manitoba uses a GPA system.[26]

A 4.5 point scale with the corresponding GPA scale
GPADescriptionLetter grade equivalent
3.50Very GoodB+

GPA is Calculated taking total "points" and divided by school credit hours.

Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]

In Newfoundland and Labrador Universities:

A 80–100
B 65–79
C 55–64
D 50–54
F 0–49

Grade F is the sole failing mark.

Nova Scotia[edit]

In most Nova Scotia universities:

A 85–89
B 73–76
C 60–64
D 50–54
E/F 0–49

Grade F (or Grade E) is the sole failing mark.


Percentage and grade equivalence[27]

Grade points for 1.0 creditsPercentage equivalency
F or R0–49

The University of Ottawa uses a grade point average system with numbers ranging from 0 to 10 despite many schools using the 12 point system.[28]

Official grading system at the University of Ottawa: Letter grade, numerical value, and percentage equivalency[29]

Letter GradeNumerical ValuePercentage
Quebec, New Brunswick[edit]

In Quebec and New Brunswick universities:

LetterGrade pointQualification
A−3.66Very Good
B+3.33Very Good
B3.00Very Good
E0.00Failure ("échec")

This scale is used by at least UQTR. The Université de Montréal[30] scale is similar but goes from A+ to F. Université Laval[31] uses a similar 4.33 scale. UQAM,[32] Concordia University and Université de Sherbrooke uses a 4.3 scale. This scale is much alike many other scales used in Canada.

McGill University[33] and the École polytechnique[30] use a 4.0 scale. Université de Sherbrooke scale is from A+ to E.[34]

The percent equivalent of each grade and the passing mark can vary. The passing mark in high school and college is 60%.


The University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina both use a percentage grade system, universal across faculties and departments.[35][36]

PercentLetter grade equivalentDescriptors
90–100A+An exceptional / outstanding performance.
80–89AAn excellent / very good performance.
70-79BA good / above average performance.
60–69CA generally satisfactory, intellectually adequate performance.
50–59DA barely acceptable performance.
0–49FAn unacceptable performance.

United States[edit]

The most popular grading system in the United States uses discrete evaluation in the form of letter grades. Many schools use a GPA (grade-point average) system in combination with letter grades. There are also many other systems in place. Some schools use a scale of 100 instead of letter grades. Others, including many Montessoris, eschew discrete evaluation in favor of pure discursive evaluation. There is no standardized system of grading in the United States. As such, those issues are left up to individual universities, schools and the regulatory authority of the individual states.

At most schools, colleges and universities in the United States, letter grades follow a five-point system, using the letters A, B, C, D and E/F, with A indicating excellent, C indicating average and F indicating failing. Additionally, most schools calculate a student's grade point average (GPA) by assigning each letter grade a number and averaging those numerical values. Generally, American schools equate an A with a numerical value of 4.0. Most graduate schools require a 3.0 (B) average to take a degree, with C or C− being the lowest grade for course credit. Most undergraduate schools require a 2.0, or C average to obtain a degree with a minimum of D or D− to pass a course. For most secondary schools, the minimum overall and course passes are both D or D−. Some districts, such as Mount Olive Township School District in New Jersey, have eliminated D as a passing grade for their students due to a high failure rate.[37]

Whereas most American graduate schools use four-point grading (A, B, C, and E/F), several—mostly in the west, especially in California—do award D grades but still require a B average for degree qualification. Some American graduate schools use nine- or ten-point grading scales, formerly including the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan, where 9.0 = A+, 8.0 = A, 7.0 = A−, and so on. (Rackham switched to a more conventional four-point scale in August 2013.)[38]

In a handful of states, within the United States, GPA scales can go above 4.0.

The percentage needed in any given course to achieve a certain grade and the assignment of GPA point values varies from school to school, and sometimes between instructors within a given school. The most common grading scales for normal courses and honors/Advanced Placement courses are as follows:

"Normal" coursesHonors/AP courses
E / F0–590.0–0.990–690.0–1.99

Some states, such as South Carolina, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Illinois and Virginia may use the following grading scale:


Whether a school uses E or F to indicate a failing grade typically depends on time and geography. Around the time of World War II, several states[which?] began to use E, while the majority of the country continued to use the F, which traces to the days of Pass/Fail grading (P and F). In recent years, some schools have begun using an N for failing grades, presumably to represent "No Credit". Another letter used to represent a failing grade is U, representing "unsatisfactory."

Chromatic variants ("+" and " − ") are used. In most 100-point grading systems, the letter grade without variants is centered around a value ending in five. The "plus" variant is then assigned the values near the nine digit and the "minus" variant is assigned the values near zero. Any decimal values are usually rounded. Thus, a score of 80 to 82 is a B−, a score 83 to 87 is a B and a score of 87 to 89 is a B+. The four-point GPA scale, the letter grade without variants is assigned to the integer. The "plus" and "minus" variants are then assigned to .3 above the integer and .3 below the integer, respectively. Thus, a B is equal to 3.0, a B+ is equal to 3.3, and a B− is equal to 2.7.[39]

The A range is often treated as a special case. In most American schools, a 4.00 is regarded as perfect and the highest GPA one can achieve. Thus, an A, being the prime grade, achieves the mark of a 4.00; for the A+ mark, most schools still assign a value of 4.00, equivalent to the A mark, to prevent deviation from the standard 4.00 GPA system. However, the A+ mark, then, becomes a mark of distinction that has no impact on the student's GPA. A few schools, however, do assign grade values of 4.33 or 4.30; but the scale is still called "4.0", because grading scales (or "quality indices") take their numerical names from the highest whole number.

In many American high schools, students may also score above 4.0 if taking advanced, honors, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate classes (for example, a "regular" A would be worth 4 points, but an A earned in an advanced class might be worth 4.5 or 5 points towards the GPA.).[40]

There has been dispute[citation needed] over how colleges should look at grades from previous schools and high schools because one grade in one part of the country might not be the equivalent of a grade in another part of the country. In other words, an "A" might be 90–100 somewhere, and a 94–100 somewhere else. In middle and high schools that do not use a system based on academic credit, the grade point average is computed by taking the mean of all grades. In colleges and universities that use discrete evaluation, the grade point average is calculated by multiplying the quantitative values by the credit value of the correlative course, and then dividing the total by the sum of all credits.

For example:

ClassCreditsGradeGrade Points
Speech 1013A3 × 4.0 = 12.0
Biology 1024B+4 × 3.3 = 13.2
History 1573B−3 × 2.7 = 8.1
Physical Education 1041C1 × 2.0 = 2.0

In a standards-based grading system, a performance standard is set by a committee based on ranking anchor papers and grading rubrics, which demonstrate performance which is below, meeting, or exceeding the "standard.".[citation needed] This standard is intended to be a high, world-class level of performance, which must be met by every student regardless of ability or class, although they are actually set by a committee with no reference to any other national standard[citation needed] Levels are generally assigned numbers between zero and four. Writing papers may be graded separately on content (discussion) and conventions (spelling and grammar). Since grading is not based on a curve distribution, it is entirely possible to achieve a grading distribution in which all students pass and meet the standard. While such grading is generally used only for assessments, they have been proposed for alignment with classroom grading. However, in practice, grading can be much more severe than traditional letter grades. Even after ten years, some states, such as Washington, continue to evaluate over half of their students as "below standard" on the state mathematics assessment.

Here is another example of a commonly used grading scale, currently in place at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minnesota. The Grade Point Average is not the traditional 4-point scale, but uses the 12-point scale for unweighted classes and the 15-point scale for weighted classes:


The 12 point GPA scale works as follows. Students receive 12 points for an A or A+, 11 points for an A−, 10 points for a B+, etc. for each grading period. Once a grading period is complete, the student's total grade points are divided by the total number of credits and a GPA is generated.

For Example, here is one term of grades and a grade point average from a student whose school uses the 86-minute block schedule (such as Wayzata High School):

Math 4X (1 credit)95.06/A = 12 Grade Points
Chemistry X (1 credit)87.39/B+ = 10 Grade Points
Symphonic Band (1 credit)99.76/A+ = 12 Grade Points
AP United States History (1 credit)92.57/A− = 11 Grade Points
Total45 Grade Points/4 Credits = 11.25 GPA (Slightly better than A−, equivalent to 3.75)



This is an approximate Naplan and Higher School Certificate (HSC in NSW) Secondary School Guide :

90-99.95 MarksBAND 6/Exemplary
89–80BAND 5
79–70BAND 4
69-60BAND 3
59-50BAND 2
49-0BAND 1

</gallery> Majority of the Australian tertiary institutions use the following grading structure:

HD85% and above (High Distinction)
D75–84% (Distinction)
Cr65–74% (Credit)
P50–64% (Pass)
F49% and under (Fail)

Some other Australian universities have a marking system based on the Honours system used at Oxford and Cambridge: In Schools reports they use these system: A-90-100%: excellent B-75-90%: good C-40-75%: Satisfactoriness D-25-40%: Limited E-10-25%- Very Low F- 10-%: Failed

H180% and above (First Class Honours)
H2A75–79% (Second Class Honours (A Division))
H2B70–74% (Second Class Honours (B Division))
H365–69% (Third Class Honours)
P50–64% (Pass)
Nbelow 50% (Fail)

Many courses also have Non-Graded Pass (NGP) and Non-Graded Fail (NGF), in which it is considered more appropriate to have qualitative than quantitative assessment. However, in some universities, an F1 category may be given a 'Pass Conceded' if the student's Weighted Average is greater than a nominated threshold. (More often than not, this is around the 53–55 range.)

Grade point averages are not generally used in Australia below a tertiary level, but are important for selection into graduate entry courses such as Medicine and Law. They are calculated according to more complicated formula than some other nations, and may be customised for the particular course application when used as entry criteria into graduate entry degrees:

Grade Point Average (GPA) = Sum of (grade points × course unit values) / total number of credit points attempted, in which grade points are as follows:

At some universities, such as Macquarie University, University of Technology, Sydney, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)[41] and Monash University, Melbourne, a GPA calculation out of 4 is calculated, whereby 4.0 = a High Distinction; 3.0 is a Distinction, 2.0 is a Credit, and 1.0 is a pass. In certain faculties, such as law, it is therefore possible to graduate with "honours" with a GPA of less than 2.5.

Whenever a course result is a Non-Graded Pass, the result will normally be disregarded in GPA calculation.

The term course unit values is used to distinguish between courses which have different weightings e.g. between a full year course and a single semester course.

The High School Certificate system varies from state to state. But in most states the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) system determines tertiary positions. Government Supported Positions are given to students that achieve above a certain ATAR threshold. (An example of this is an ATAR of 85 for Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales.[42]) The value of the ATAR corresponds with their year 7 cohort, including students that did not complete year 12. An ATAR of 80.00, for example, indicates that students with that ATAR have performed in the HSC better than 80 percent of their year 7 cohort, had all these year 7 students completed year 12 and been eligible for an ATAR.

By contrast, in Queensland, graduating Year 12 students are awarded an OP of between 1 and 25, 1 being the most coveted; students are allocated their OP by means of a summation of marks from all their year 12 (and in some cases, year 11) courses, and also from the QCS (Queensland Core Skills) test, this being a series of four tests held at the end of secondary education.

New Zealand[edit]

Most New Zealand secondary school use the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) marking schedule, even in pre-NCEA years for commonality. There are four grades, from lowest to highest, Not Achieved (N), Achieved (A), Merit (M), and Excellence (E). The minority of schools using other secondary school qualifications (usually CIE or IB) have different grades. Grading at tertiary institutions generally centers around a letter scale, with a corresponding 9 point GPA scale (C-=1, A+=9).

South America[edit]


In Argentina the GPA is calculated quarterly, each semester, or annually. Grades usually range from 1 to 10. The passing mark is typically 60%, which in secondary school is represented by a grade of 6.

Depending on the university, admittance may require:

In the past, some universities admitted people over 25 years old even if they couldn't complete high school, but they must pass an entrance exam. University grades are also on a scale of 1 to 10, but 4 is passing and usually corresponds to a mark of 75%.


In Brazil the GPA – known as Coeficiente de Rendimento, or Índice de Rendimento Acadêmico – is calculated per semester or per year or both. The High School GPA is almost never used for college entrance evaluation in public universities (state funded and free of charge). To enter state colleges, Brazilian students must attend to entrance exams called vestibulares. The most famous ones are FUVEST, the entrance exam for University of São Paulo, and ENEM, a national exam that ranks high school students to be accepted by federal funded colleges. The private colleges system also apply entrance exams, but some might use the GPA as an evaluation method. During college, the GPA is calculated as a weighted average of grade and course hours and have a bigger importance than in the high school as it determines priority in receiving scholarships, for example.

The majority of schools adopt a 0,0 (worst) to 10,0 (best) scale for grading, but some of the Brazilian schools adopt the following grading system:

A (Excellent)90% – 100%
B (Good)80 – 89%
C (Fair)60 – 79%
D (Fail)50 – 59%
E (Bad)0 – 49%

A grade below 50% is surely a fail, although some schools have passing criteria of 60% or 70%.

Some schools adopt a system without the E mark, like this:

A (Excellent)90% – 100%
B (Good)70 – 89%
C (Fair)60 – 70%
D (Fail)0 – 59%

In this system a grade below 70 or 65% is a fail, but the people having C and D grades can attend ERP - Estudos de Recuperação Paralela, when the grade is not the final grade, and ERF - Estudos de Recuperação Final - when the grade is the final grade, so they can have a better grade: A or B. In ERP, if person continues having C or D, he/ she will attend ERF. If the person has C or D in ERF, he/ she will "repeat the year" - that's how people say in Brazil.


Grades are assigned with a numeric scale from 1.0 to 7.0, including at least one decimal, with 4.0 as the lowest passing grade (equivalent to 60%). Everything under a 4.0 is considered a "rojo" or "red mark," which equates to failing. For the PSU, Prueba de Selección Universitaria (UST, University Selection Test), the scale goes from 150 to 850 points. Depending on the university and the major, the student will need a minimum score to get accepted. The final score will depend on the points obtained in each test: Mathematics and Linguistics (both mandatory); Natural Sciences and History (only one of them mandatory) and the NEM score, Notas de Enseñanza Media (High School Grades) converted into the PSU Scale.


Although there are several grading systems in the country, the one used by public schools is a numeric scale from 0 to 5. 0 is the lowest and 5 the highest. When grading one decimal is commonly used. In order to pass a course, the student must obtain a grade equal or higher than 3.0, which corresponds to a 60% of the scale. Since 2010 Colombian schools can choose how to grade their students. Thanks to this, private schools usually use a system either going from 0 to 10 or 0 to 100. Usually, to pass the course, the grade must be equal or higher than 7 (or 70), which corresponds to 70% of the scale. Also, schools usually do not grade a 0, all grades are granted 10% of the scale, that is, any student whose grade is under 10%, will get 10%. However, once the grade is over 10%, this boost will not apply anymore. There is an exception to this rule, and it is that some schools use a 0 to 7 scale. In this case, the initial boost will be of a 14,2% (1 point), and works the same as its counterpart.

Final grades can be the result of a simple average; but private institutions can give different percentages to specific grades or grading periods. That is, the final grade of a term is usually the result of a weighted arithmetic mean between the arithmetic mean of all the schoolwork, homework and quizzes taken during the term, and the grade of a final exam, which is taken at the end of the term. Although certain schools use a 70% term work, 30% final exam weighted mean, it may vary between schools.


In Ecuador, the rating system is 10 out of 10, including two decimal places in both primary, secondary and university, the highest score is 10 and the lowest is 1, to meet the minimum grade to pass this year is 7, depending on how schools are organized since 2012 enjoy complete autonomy in Ecuador, so that some establishments maintain supplementary examination for those with less than 7, and other approved intensive recovery, but if the grade obtained is low of 5 are automatically disqualified and disciplinary same behavior is described as follows: A (excellent), B (outstanding), C (very good), D (Good), E (Regular) and F (failure), and students they got 10 out of 10 in 90% of subjects in the first school year quimestre is promoted to a senior year, but making an entrance examination. Notes and academic qualifications and groups them reasoning thus:


The grades vary from 1 to 5, where 5 is the maximum grade achievable and 1 the lowest. The minimum for pass is 2.


Grades range from 0 to 20, in an almost unique grading table. The passing grade is 11 in almost all schools and universities, while certain ones require 13. In some preschool facilities, grades usually range from F to A+, following the American system, and in a few colleges, the passing grade is 10.


High grades in Uruguay are very hard to achieve. Grades range from 1 to 12. 1 is the lowest and 12 is the highest. Passing an exam or course requires 6 out of 12 in high school or at a private university, and 3 out of 12 at a public university. Both (6 in high school and 3 at a public university) correspond to 50% on an exam or in a course. Grades of 10, 11, and 12 are considered excellent. Some private universities grade their students on a percentage basis, 60% or 70% being the passing grade.


Grades in Venezuela may vary according to the education level, but normally the grading system is numerical, and ranges from 00 to 20, 00 being the lowest and 20 being the highest, and 10 being the pass mark, equivalent to a "D" in the United States. This system is not required, however, and several schools in Venezuela deviate from it by following a letter-grade system similar or identical to those in the United States.

Shown here is the Venezuelan grading system in probable comparison with the United States grading system:

Venezuelan gradeAmerican letter gradeAmerican percentage (%)
20-18A (excellent, highest mark)90-100%
17-14B (good, second to highest mark)80-89%
13-12C (average)70-79%
11-10D (lowest passable mark)60-69%
09-00F (failure)0-59%

GPA in the job market[edit]

College and post-college students often wonder how much weight their GPA carries in future employment. The employer, company and industry plays the largest factor in answering this question. According to Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., senior vice president of human resources for IAC/InterActive Corp, a company with over 33,000 employees, an applicant’s GPA is the single best indicator of future success in job employment.[43] According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, since 2001 there has been an increase in employers looking at, and making hiring decisions based on, a candidate's GPA.[44] In addition, Job Outlook 2005 survey reported that 70 percent of employers looked at an applicants GPA,[45] increasing to 75 percent in 2010.[44] Those looking at and weighing in college GPA reported that their cut off was a GPA of 3.0 or lower.[45]

GPA is not the only factor that determines future employment. Many employers look for other pertinent characters such as leadership, teamwork, flexibility and attitude. They may also look at the reputation of the college attended and other work related experiences such as internships.[45] In a 2010 student survey for recruiters, 45 percent of the students who had completed an internship had already received a job offer.[46] Many of these jobs were within the company that they interned for.

Although GPA seems to be important in the hiring process, other variables may contribute to the likelihood of getting hired. If a student’s GPA is below a 3.0 or what the employer is looking for, it is suggested to calculate your GPA for only the classes within your major for your resume.[45]

There is also criticism about using grades as an indicator in employment. Armstrong (2012) claimed that the relationship between grades and job performance is low and it's becoming lower in recent studies.[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ grade point average. (n.d.). WordNet 3.0. Retrieved 3 October 2011, from website: point average
  2. ^ Grades and Grade-Point Average. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  3. ^ GPA Calculation and Unit Conversion: MIT Office of the Registrar. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  4. ^ Pierson, George (1983). New Haven: Yale Office of Institutional Research A Yale Book of Numbers. p. 310.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Postman, Neil (1992). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 13.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Christopher Stray, "From Oral to Written Examinations: Cambridge, Oxford and Dublin 1700–1914", History of Universities 20:2 (2005), 94–95.
  7. ^ a b "[University of Mumbai". 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2013-12-24. 
  8. ^ "WES Grade Conversion Guide". WES. 
  9. ^ "Kurume University Institute of Foreign Language Education". Kurume University Institute. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  10. ^ Kyrgyzstan Grading System. Retrieved on 19 September 2012.
  11. ^ Federal Board of Education – Pakistan[dead link]. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Ausgezeichneter Erfolg". Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Universitätsgesetz 2002" (PDF). BMWF. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "25-Jähriger zwei Mal "sub auspiciis" promoviert - ORF ON Science". Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  15. ^ "WES Grade Conversion Guide". Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  16. ^ "Description Of Certificate Examinations". Department of Education. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  17. ^ High school, secondary school in Italy[dead link]. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^ a b "Министерство Образования и Науки РФ". Xn--80abucjiibhv9a.xn--p1ai. 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  20. ^ "Положение о проведении текущей и итоговой аттестаций, зачетов, экзаменов и защит учебных и научных работ студентов физического факультета МГУ". 2001-04-26. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  21. ^ "Sistema de calificaciones". Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  22. ^ Киевские школы переходят на 12-тибальную систему оценок » Новости политики Украины – Корреспондент. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  23. ^ University of Calgary : F.2 Undergraduate Grading System. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  24. ^ Grading System Explained – Office of the Registrar – University of Alberta. (1 September 2003). Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  25. ^ Introduction – Grading Practices – Policies and Regulations – Vancouver Academic Calendar 2011/12 – UBC Student Services. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  26. ^ "Is preference given to applicants with a degree?[dead link]". Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba.
  27. ^ General – Student Academic Success Centre (SASC). (31 May 2011). Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  28. ^ University of Ottawa grade point averages. University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  29. ^ Academic Regulations - Section 10: Grading System Retrieved on 20 October 2011.
  30. ^ a b 30–8.PDF[dead link]. (PDF) . Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  31. ^ Accueil – Faculté des sciences de l'administration – Université Laval. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  32. ^ UQAM | Registrariat | Étudiants | Légende du relevé de notes. Registrariat. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  33. ^ "Student Records". McGill University. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  34. ^ "Règlement complémentaire d’évaluation des apprentissages". Universite de Sherbrooke. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  35. ^ "Grading System". University of Saskatchewan / Examination & Grading / Grading System.
  36. ^ "Grading Descriptions". University of Regina Undergraduate Calendar.
  37. ^ At Some N.J. Schools, D No Longer Counts As Passing, NPR. Accessed 24 October 2010.
  38. ^ Rackham School of Graduate Studies: GPA Conversion Annoucnment, University of Michigan. Accessed 6 February 2014.
  39. ^ GPA Calculator, Accessed 12 November 2011.
  40. ^ High School GPA Calculator, Accessed 12 November 2011.
  41. ^ GPA – Grade point average. RMIT. Retrieved on 28 September 2011.
  42. ^ [1][dead link]
  43. ^ Koeppel, D. (2006). "Those low grades in college may haunt your job search". The New York Times
  44. ^ a b Career Services Professionals. (6 January 2010). Job Outlook: What do Employers Look for in Candidates? NACE. Retrieved from
  45. ^ a b c d Morsch, L. (24 September 2007). "Does your GPA really matter?"
  46. ^ Fesler, Dan, and Richard Rand. Tennessee Society of CPAs[dead link]. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 September 2011.
  47. ^ Armstrong, J. Scott (2012). "Natural Learning in Higher Education". Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. 

External links[edit]