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Grades are standardized measurements of varying levels of comprehension within a subject area. Grades can be assigned in letters (for example, A, B, C, D, or F), as a range (for example 4.0 - 1.0), as descriptors (excellent, great, satisfactory, needs improvement), in percentages, or, as is common in some post-secondary institutions, as a Grade Point Average (GPA). The GPA can be used by potential employers or further post-secondary institutions to assess and compare applicants. A Cumulative Grade Point Average is the mean GPA from all academic terms within a given academic year, whereas the GPA may only refer to one term.

History of grading

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 Cambridgemarker in 1792. 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. 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

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

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

ECTS also includes a standard grading scale:

ECTS grading scale
ECTS scale Probability of getting each grade Definition
A 10% Excellent: outstanding performance with minor errors
B 25% Very good; above the average standard but with some errors
C 30% Good; generally sound work with a number of notable errors
D 25% Fair; fair but with significant shortcomings
E 10% Sufficient; performance meets the minimum criteria
FX Fail some more work required before the credit can be awarded
F Fail considerable further work is required

European Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate
Level Approximate Conversion Rate (varies)
7 96-99
6 90-95
5 80-90
4 70-79
3 60-69
2 50-59
1 40-49

Grading systems by nation

North America


In Canadamarker, where education is the responsibility of the provinces, grade point averages vary by province, by level of education (e.g., high school or university), by institutions (e.g., Queen'smarker or Torontomarker), and even by different faculties in the same institution (e.g., Ryersonmarker or Université du Québec à Montréalmarker). Many students will never see a letter grade until they enter a post-secondary institution. In common parlance, students and teachers will refer to "marks" rather than US term "grade". The following are commonly used conversions from percentile grades to letter grades:

In Senior High Schools:
Letter Percentage Provincial Standing Notes
A 80–100 Standard of Excellence Final course grades in this range are annotated with Honours Standing in the Alberta Senior High School Transcript.
B 70-79 Exceeds Acceptable Standard  
C 60-69 Acceptable Standard  
D 50-59

F 0–49   Failing grade with no credits awarded toward Alberta Senior High School Diploma.

In Albertamarker Post-Secondary Colleges, Technical Institutes, or Universities:
Letter Grade Grade Points Notes
A+ 4.3 (4.0 at UofA)  
A 4.0  
A- 3.7 Student 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.
B+ 3.3  
B 3.0  
B- 2.7  
C+ 2.3  
C 2.0  
C- 1.7  
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0 Minimum general passing letter grade to receive credit for a course. Certain faculties may require higher grades to receive course credit.
F 0.0  

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.

The University of Manitobamarker uses a GPA system.

A 4.5 point scale with the corresponding GPA scale
GPA Description Letter Grade equivalent
4.5 Exceptional A+
4.00 Excellent A
3.50 Very Good B+
3.00 Good B
2.50 Satisfactory C+
2.00 Adequate C
1.00 Marginal D
0.00 Failure F

The University of Saskatchewanmarker and University of Reginamarker both use a percentage grade system, universal across faculties and departments.

Percent Letter Grade equivalent Descriptors
90-100% A+ A superior / outstanding performance.
80-89% A A very good / excellent performance.
70-79% B A good / above average performance.
60-69% C A generally satisfactory, intellectually adequate performance.
50-59% D A barely satisfactory performance.
0-49% F An unacceptable performance.

British Columbia
In British Columbiamarker universities: F is a failing grade. The following table is only an approximation; faculties within universities sometimes follow a different system between percentiles and corresponding letter grades.
Letter Percent
A+ 95–100
A  90-94
A− 85-89
B+ 80–84
B  75-79
B− 70-74
C+ 65-69
C  60–64
C− 55–59
D  50–54
E or UN or I  0–49 (temporary)
F  0–49 (permanent)

Newfoundland and Labrador
In Newfoundland and Labradormarker Universities:
Letter Percent
A  80−100
B  65−79
C  55−64
D  50−54
F  0−49
Grade F is the sole failing mark.

Nova Scotia
In most Nova Scotiamarker universities:
Letter Percent
A+ 90–100
A  83−89
A− 80−82
B+ 75−79
B  70−74
B− 65−69
C  60−64
C− 55−59
D  50−54
F  0−49
Grade F is the sole failing mark.

In Ontariomarker schools:
Letter Percent Level Qualification
A 80−100 Level 4 Above government standards
B 70−79.9 Level 3 At government standards
C 60−69.9 Level 2 Below, but approaching government standards
D 50−59.9 Level 1 Well below government standards
F 0−49.9 Failing standards
R Remedial standards
There are also + and − modifiers. A+ is close to 100% and better than A, A is better than A−, A− is better than B+, etc. There are no modifiers for R or F. E sometimes appears in place of R or F to match the order of the four grades above it.

Ontario universities and colleges also use a similar grading system as the above and the system used in the United States. Some colleges use a 4.0 scale, while others a 4.3 or 12.0 scale. The University of Windsor uses a 13.0 scale, but the only difference between it and the 12.0 scale is how the A+, A and A- section is counted.

Letter Grade 12.0 Grading Scale 4.0 Grading Scale
A+ 12.0 4.00 (4.33)
A 11.0 4.00
A- 10.0 3.67
B+ 9.0 3.33
B 8.0 3.0
B- 7.0 2.67
C+ 6.0 2.33
C 5.0 2.00
C- 4.0 1.67
D+ 3.0 1.33
D 2.00 1.00
D- 1.00 .67

Grade Point Chart
Number of grade points for 1.0 credit course Number of grade points for 0.5 credit course Percentage Equivalency
A+ = 12.0 A+ = 6.0 90-100
A = 11.0 A = 5.5 85-89
A- = 10.0 A- = 5.0 80-84
B+ = 9.0 B+ = 4.5 77-79
B = 8.0 B = 4.0 74-76
B- = 7.0 B- = 3.5 70-73
C+ = 6.0 C+ = 3.0 67-69
C = 5.0 C = 2.5 64-66
C- = 4.0 C- = 2.0 60-63
D+ = 3.0 D+ = 1.5 57-59
D = 2.0 D = 1.0 54-56
D- = 1.0 D- = 0.5 50-53
F = 0.0 F = 0.0 0-49

Percentage Grade Conversion Scale
Grade Point Letter Grade Grade Point
13 A+ 93-100
12 A 86-92.9
11 A- 80-85.9
10 B+ 77-79.9
9 B 73-76.9
8 B- 70-72.9
7 C+ 67-69.9
6 C 63-66.9
5 C- 60-62.9
4 D+ 57-59.9
3 D 53-56.9
2 D- 50-52.9
1 F 35-49.9
0 F- 0-34.9

Please note that the conversion between different point scales may vary. The Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMS AS)has defined conversions that can be found here:

In Quebecmarker universities:
Letter Grade point Qualification
A+ 4.33  
A 4.00 Excellent
A- 3.66  
B+ 3.33  
B 3.00 Very Good
B- 2.66  
C+ 2.33  
C 2.00 Good
C- 1.66  
D+ 1.33  
D 1.00 Passable
E 0.00 Failure ("échec")
This scale is used by at least UQAMmarker [33659] and UQTRmarker. The Université de Montréalmarker [33660] scale is similar but goes from A+ to F. Université Lavalmarker [33661] uses a similar 4.33 scale. Concordia University and Université de Sherbrookemarker uses a 4.3 scale.

McGill Universitymarker [33662] and the École polytechnique [33663] use a 4.0 scale. Université de Sherbrookemarker scale is from A+ to E [33664].

The percent equivalent of each grade and the passing mark can vary. The passing mark in High School and CEGEP is 60%.

Costa Rica


Mexicanmarker 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:

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 2 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 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.

United States

Grades in the United States:

Classical five-point discrete evaluation with grades is the system most commonly used in the United Statesmarker, but there are many variations. There are also a few schools that eschew discrete evaluation (letter grading) in favor of pure discursive evaluation. There is no standardized system of grading in the United States, as these issues are left up to individual universities, schools, and states.

Grades in the United States are generally assigned by a letter: A (highest grade, excellent), B (above average), C (average), D (usually the minimum passing grade), and F (fail). Additionally, most schools will calculate a student's grade point average (GPA) by assigning each letter grade a number and using a mathematical formula to come up with a numerical representation of a student's work. Generally, American schools equate an A with a numerical value of 4.0.

The percentage needed in any given coursework needed to achieve a certain grade and the assignment of GPA point values varies from one school to another. The most general and common grading scale is as follows:

Grade Percentage GPA value
A 90-100 3.5-4.0
B 80-89 2.5-3.49
C 70-79 1.5-2.49
D 60-69 1.0-1.49
F 0 - 59 0.0

Whether the failing grade is F or E typically depends on time and geography. Some states, but not many, have tended to favor E since World War II while the majority of the country tends to use F. Another letter used to represent a failing grade is U, representing "unsatisfactory." Ultimately, the grade F traces to the days of two-point grading as Pass (P) and Fail (F). In recent years some schools have begun using an N for failing grades, presumably to represent "No Credit".

Chromatic variants (+ and −) are often used. In hypomodal grading on a 100-point scale, the prime letter grade is assigned a value centered around the one's digit 5: the + grade is assigned the top values of near the one's digit 9, and the − grade is assigned the bottom values near 0; thus, 80 to 83 is B−, 84 to 86 is B, and 87 to 89 is B+. In straight modal grading on a 4.0 decimal scale, the integer is the prime letter grade: the + range of the grade begins at X.333 (repeating), rounded to X.30, above the integer, and the − range of the grade begins at X.666 (repeating), rounded up to X.70, below the integer: thus, B = 3.0, B+ = 3.3, and B− = 2.7.

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 do assign grade values of 4.33, however.

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.)

There has been dispute 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:

Class Credits Grade Grade Points
Speech 101 3 A 3 × 4.0 = 12.0
Biology 102 4 B+ 4 × 3.3 = 13.2
History 157 3 B− 3 × 2.7 = 8.1
Physical Education 104 1 C 1 × 2.0 = 2.0

  • Total Credits: 11
  • Total Grade Points: 35.3
  • Grade Point Average: 35.3 / 11 = 3.209 or slightly below B+

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." 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. 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 rather than more generous than traditional letter grades. Even after ten years, some states, such as Washingtonmarker, continue to evaluate over half of their students as "below standard" on the state mathematics assessment.

Not to mention in some public secondary schools, staff members may require students a 3.0 GPA or higher to pass on to the next grade. If students expect to get any grade lower than a 3.0, they will not pass (even though a few requirements to not pass is to be absent from school 20 days or more/did not pass state test or cumulative test.)

South America


In Argentina the GPA is calculated bimonthly, per semester or per year. Typically, grades vary between 1 and 10. The minimum grade for approval generally requires 60% which represents a grade 4 at University and 6 at Secondary School (some schools may require 70%).Depending on the University, the admittance may require:
  • the approval of an minimal knowledge level exam (that may include Chemistry, Math and other subjects) called "Examen de Ingreso".
  • a 1 year course called "Ciclo Básico Común". (Only for the University of Buenos Airesmarker).
  • High School average grade 60% or 70%.
  • and others.


In Brazil the GPA - known as Coeficiente de Rendimento - is calculated bimonthly, per semester or per year (usually the GPA is calculated per semester, sometimes per year and often bimonthly). Typically, grades vary between 0 and 10. The minimum grade for approval varies between 5.0 (most often used) and 6.0 or 7.0. The GPA can not be used for college entrance evaluation in Federal Universities (State funded and free of charge, commonly accepted as the best institutions in the country), but is systematically being implemented by private Universities. For Federal institutions and private alike, the typical evaluation is a specific exam created by each University known as "vestibular". Some other methods are used in order to enhance a student grade, such as ENEM (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio - National High School Standardized Exam) or PAS (Programa de Avaliação Seriada - Continuous Evaluation Program) according to the choice of the university.


In Chile grades range from 1.0 to 7.0 with one decimal place and minimum passing grade being 4.0.


The grades vary from 1 to 5, where 5 is the maximum and 1 the lowest.


High grades in Uruguay are very hard to achieve. Grades vary from 1 to 12. 1 is the lowest and 12 is the highest. To pass an exam or a course you need 6 out of 12 in high school and university (if private university), and 3 out of 12 if attending a public university. Both (6 in high school and private universities; and 3 in public universities) means that 60% of the exam/course is correct.


Grades rank from 0 to 20, in an almost unique grading table. Passing grade is 11 in almost all schools and universities, while others preffer 13. In some preschool facilities, grades vary from F to A+, following the American system, and in a few Colleges, passing grade is 10.


Saudi Arabia

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

Grade Percentage GPA value
Excellent 90-100 3.5-4.0
Great 80-89 2.5-3.49
Good 70-79 1.5-2.49
Acceptable 60-69 1.0-1.49
Weak 0 - 59 0.0

For more information, see Education in Saudi Arabia.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kongmarker, the system of grade point average (GPA) is used in universities:

Grade GPA
A+ 4.30
A  4.00
A− 3.70
B+ 3.30
B  3.00
B− 2.70
C+ 2.30
C  2.00
C− 1.70
D+ 1.30
D  1.00
F  0.00

Some universities don't include A+ in the grades, or set the grade point of A+ to be 4.00, so that the maximum GPA attainable is 4.00 instead of 4.30. Some universities use a 12-point system called "CGA" instead. Some universities do not include minus grades (i.e., no A-, B-, C-) and the grade point of A+, B+, C+, D+ is 4.5, 3.5, 2.5, 1.5 respectively.

Russia and CIS (without Moldova , Belarus and Ukraine)

In Russia, Hungarymarker and likely many of the former Soviet Unionmarker (with the notable exception of Moldova, that switched to the Romanianmarker system) and some countries formerly associated with the Eastern Bloc, close variations of a five-point grading scale is used:

  • 5: Very good or Excellent, equal to highest distinction (best possible grade)
  • 4: Good (above average)
  • 3: Satisfactory, sometimes translated into English as Fair (lowest passing grade)
  • 2: Unsatisfactory (failing)
  • 1: Poor (lowest possible grade, "failing with distinction")

Qualifiers + and - are often used to add some degree of differentiation between the grades: e.g., 4+ is better than 4, but a little worse than 5-. Grading varies greatly from school to school, university to university, and even teacher to teacher, and tends to be entirely subjective , 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 (in Russia/Ukraine, but not in Hungary).

It may be worth mentioning that 1 is somewhat an exotic grade in Russian schools, but it does exist officially. The mostly used grades are 5 to 2. + and - modifiers follow the same tendency; they are used rarely in middle school, and almost never in colleges or universities. Some institutions and teachers (excluding Russia), unsatisfied 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.

It is necessary to understand that, in Russian universities, all of the courses are compulsory subjects. There are no electives in the sense of the Western system available in Russia. However, very rarely in some universities are there certain subjects that are not graded at all. Such subjects could be interpreted as additional electives, because they are not compulsory, do not contribute towards the degree, and will not be mentioned in the final degree paper (diploma). However, the grade ‘Attended’ is issued if the attendance requirements are met by a student.

The majority of subjects are graded on a ‘Pass/No pass’ (Credit/No Credit) basis (зачёт/незачёт, pronounced as "zach`ot/nezach`ot"), and the rest is graded in terms of numbers. The 'Pass/No Pass" grades do not have any official numeric representation. When "zachot"- (credit- or pass-) type subjects are graded as ‘Pass/Not pass,’ this simply represents a student's good or poor knowledge of a subject. Each university implements its own understanding of the appropriate level of knowledge a student should have in order to pass studied subjects. Students in Russia must pass all of the offered subjects in order to graduate.

Due to several ways to translate the word "zachet" from Russian into English (it can be translated as "credit" or "pass"), this type of grading is the source of problems for Russian students applying to Western universities. Such grades may confuse Western universities and make it difficult to correctly calculate students' GPA in terms of Western systems.

In the past recent years, some of these countries (excluding Russia) have started to implement the following grading system:

New System Old System
12 5+
11 5
10 5-
9 4+
8 4
7 4-
6 3+
5 3
4 3-
3 2
2 1
1 complete failing

United Arab Emirates

At most universities and colleges, the United Arab Emirates' grading system is very similar to the United States' system. See Education in the United Arab Emirates for more information.



In Lebanon, most schools use a 0-20 scale where the passing grade is 10 out of 20. Getting high grades is very hard, because teachers don't use the full scale. For instance the highest score one can earn in essay writing in some schools is 15 out of 20. However for different subjects' the base grade "20" is multiplied by the number of credits of that specific subject in order to obtain its weigh for the overall average.Example: Student's grades: ( math 13.33, english 13.5, biology 16.2)

English: 5 credits x 13.5 = 67.5 out of possible 100

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

Biology: 2 credits x 16.2 = 32.4 out of possible 40

Total points earned = 179.88 out of possible 260

Overall Average= 13.84 out of 20

The Scale for the Overall average:

16.00 - 20.00 (Excellent)

14.00 - 15.99 (Very Good)

12.00 - 13.99 (Good)

10.00 - 11.99 (Satisfactory)

0.00 - 9.99 (Failing)

However in most universities the American grading system is used.

In India, marks are generally given in percentages to encourage perfection and good presentation, despite the extra pressure on the students.But schools often give grades too in lower classes in primary school.But in higher classes, percentage differences up to two decimals is taken into consideration for ranking.The Board exams given by students all over India in Class 10 and 12,also present the marks obtained in each subject in the report card.In colleges, a percentage or GPA system is optionally followed by various institutes.

But mostly, percentages are used. For many schools up to 12th grade high percentage above 90% is supposed to indicate the excellent quality of a student while in many undergraduate and graduate courses scoring above 65% also is very difficult, though it varies depending upon the board or University.



In Albaniamarker, grades from 1 (sometimes 0) to 10 are used, with some schools allowing decimals (up to the hundredth digit) and some others only allowing whole numbers.
Grade Qualification
10.00 Excellent
8.00–9.99 Very Good
6.00–7.99 Good
5.00–5.99 Sufficient
0.00–4.99 Insufficient
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 3rd 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 Bulgariamarker, the following grade scale is used in schools:

6 Отличен Excellent, best possible grade
5 Много добър Very Good, next highest
4 Добър Good, indicates average performance
3 Среден Sufficient, lowest passing grade
2 Слаб Poor, failing grade

For exact grading, two positions after the decimal point are used; thus, grades as, e.g., Poor (2.50), 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.

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.

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.


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:

Grade Description 13-scale-equivalent ECTS-equivalent
−3 entirely inadequate 00 F
00 inadequate 03 & 5 Fx
02 adequate the minimum acceptable (minimum passing grade) 6 E
4 fair numerous significant flaws, slightly below average 7 D
7 good numerous flaws (8 at 13-scale = average performance) 8 & 9 C
10 excellent few significant flaws 10 B
12 outstanding none or few insignificant flaws 11 & 13 A

This new scale remains an absolute scale, meaning that, proportions are not taken into consideration.


In Germanymarker, school grades from 1 (best) to 6 (worst) are used. 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, 0 points the worst.


In Icelandmarker, grades from 0 to 10 are used. It's very common also to grade simply in percentages.



The Netherlands

In The Netherlandsmarker, grades from 1.0 up to 10.0 are used, with 1 being worst and 10 being best. You can see the system as percentages (a 1 means 0% correct and a 10 means 100% correct: no single mistake at all). The grades 9 and 10 are hardly ever given on examinations (on average, a 9 is awarded in only 1.5%, and a 10 in 0.5% of cases). Generally, either one or two decimal places are used, and a +/− means a quarter (rounded 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. Roughly, a student scores a 5.5 (pass) when it has 2/3 (66.67%) of an exam correct.

Depending in the specific university, some students who finish their studies with on average an 8.25 or higher, could get the nomination Cum Laude (comparable in Germany with getting a Magna cum Laude).

The grade scale with the labels:

Grade Qualification
10 excellent
9 very good
8 good
7 more than sufficient
6 sufficient
5 nearly sufficient
4 insufficient
3 strongly insufficient
2 poor
1 very poor

European academic grading

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, Bangladesh, 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



Australian primary and secondary schools are currently migrating to a common reporting and assessment format. Education is the responsibility of the states in Australia. In 2005 the Federal Government introduced a universal common assessment and reporting standards legislation that all states had to adhere to. The grading system is now structured as follows, though the percentages are only an approximate guide:

A 90% and above (Excellent) BAND 6
B 80-89% (Good) BAND 5
C 70-79% (Average) BAND 4
D 60-69% (Below Average) BAND 3
E 40% - 59% (Unsatisfactory) BAND 2
F 40% and under (Failure) BAND 1

Letter Percentile
A 93-above
B 92-83
C 82-73
D 72-63
E 62-below

Some (but not all) Australian tertiary institutions use close variations of the following grading structure:

HD 85% and above (High Distinction)
D 75-84% (Distinction)
Cr 65-74% (Credit Pass)
P 50-64% (Pass)
F1 45-49% (Fail level 1)
F2 below 45% (Fail level 2)

Many courses also have Non-Graded Pass (NGP) and Non-Graded Fail (F), 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. They are calculated according to more complicated formula than some other nations:

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

  • High Distinction = 7
  • Distinction = 6
  • Credit = 5
  • Pass = 4
  • Fail level 1 = 1
  • Fail level 2 = 0

At some universities, such as University of Technology, Sydney, or 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 a ATAR of 85 for Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales.) 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


  1. Christopher Stray, "From Oral to Written Examinations: Cambridge, Oxford and Dublin 1700-1914," History of Universities 20:2 (2005), 94-95.
  2. " Is preference given to applicants with a degree?". Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba.
  3. " Grading System". University of Saskatchewan / Examination & Grading / Grading System.
  4. " Grading Descriptions". University of Regina Undergraduate Calendar.
  5. Examinations @ CityU
  6. , section 13.2
  7. , section UG5
  8. , section 21.4
  9. Hong Kong PolyU GPA system explanation

External links

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