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A grade in education can mean either a teacher's evaluation of a student's work or a student's level of educational progress, usually one grade per year (often denoted by an ordinal number, such as the "3rd Grade" or the "12th Grade"). This article is about evaluation of students' work and various systems used in different countries.

20-point grading scale

In Belgium, France, Morocco, Portugal, Peru, Venezuela, Iran and Tunisia a 20-point grading scale is used, in which 20 is the highest grade and 0 is the lowest. A score of 20 is considered perfect; accordingly, it is rarely if ever awarded in courses that are graded subjectively.

The "passing" grade is usually 10 (in contrast to the U.S. system)

  • Grades of 10-11 is "adequate". .
  • Grades of 12 or 13 are "passable"(better than adequate)
  • Grades of 14 to 15 are "good" (better than "passable")
  • Grades of 16 to 17 are regarded as excellent and outstanding, respectively. From this point on, you have truly mastered the course.
  • Grades of 18 to 19 are nearing perfection.
  • Grades of 20 are just perfect.


In Albania, grades from 1 (sometimes 0) up to 10 are used, with some schools allowing decimals (up to 2) and some others only allowing whole numbers where:

  • 10 (excellent) is the best possible grade
  • 8-9.99 (very good)
  • 6-7.99 (good)
  • 4-5.99 (sufficient)
  • up to 3.99 (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 take just half. In some schools, if the average grade of the two mid exams is equal to or higher than 7, the student passes the class without the need for a final exam (since there are only two exams, some teachers also pass students who average 6.5, others weigh in that decision the student's performance in class). An average of less than 4 is failing, the student doesn't even have the chance to take that final exam.

In High Schools, the year is divided into three trimesters and classes are usually year-long. The student needs an average of 6 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 in the 3rd trimester he will have to take a final exam regardless of his average.

This last point is considered controversial since the last trimestral exam is not more important than the first two but the rule stands to prevent students that already reached the minimum average (e.g.: two 10 in the first two give you a lowest possible average of 6.33) from not making an effort the last three months of the year.


Australian primary and secondary schools are currently migrating to a common reporting and assessment format. Education is the responsibility the states in Australia, but in 2005 then-Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson demanded the states institute common assessment and reporting standards, threatening to withdraw Federal education funding from those states that did not comply. The grading system is now structured as follows, though the percentages are only an approximate guide:

  • A (Excellent) 85% and above
  • B (Good) 70-84%
  • C (Satisfactory) 50-69%
  • D (Needs Improvement) 40-50%
  • E (Unsatisfactory) 39.12% and below

Most Australian tertiary institutions use close variations of the following grading structure:

  • HD (High Distinction) 85% and above
  • D (Distinction) 75-84%
  • C (Credit) 65-74%
  • P1 (Pass Level 1) 55-64%
  • P2 (Pass Level 2) 50-54%
  • F1 (Fail level 1) 40-49%
  • F2 (Fail level 2) below 40%

Many courses also have Non-Graded Pass (NGP) and Non-Graded Fail (F), where it is considered more appropriate to have qualitative than quantitative assessment.

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 x course unit values)

Where grade points are as follows:

  • High Distinction = 7
  • Distinction = 6
  • Credit = 5
  • Pass level 1 = 4.5
  • Pass level 2 = 4
  • Fail level 1 = 1.5
  • Fail level 2 = 1

Where a course result is a Non-Graded Pass, the result will only be included if the GPA is less than 4, and will be assigned the grade point of 4, otherwise NGP results will be disregarded.

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.


In Austria, a 5-point grading scale is used, where:

  • 1 (very good) is the best possible grade.
  • 2 (good) is the next-highest.
  • 3 (satisfactory) indicates "average" performance.
  • 4 (sufficient) is the lowest passing grade.
  • 5 (insufficient) is the lowest possible grade and the only failing grade (usually earned for 50% or less of maximum achievable credit).

The textual form of the grades is:

  • 1 sehr gut
  • 2 gut
  • 3 befriedigend
  • 4 genügend
  • 5 nicht genügend


In Bulgaria, the following grades are used:

  • 6 (Excellent) is the best possible grade.
  • 5 (Very Good) is the next highest.
  • 4 (Good) indicates average performance.
  • 3 (Sufficient) is the lowest passing grade.
  • 2 (Poor) is a 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. Note that in Bulgaria the decimal digits are separated by a comma and not by a point (e.g. 5,75 instead of 5.75).


In Canada, % averages vary by province, by institutions (for example Queens and UofT), even by different faculties in the same institution (for example, Ryerson).

In Alberta:

  • A: 80-100
  • B: 65-79
  • C: 50-64
  • F: 0-49

In British Columbia:

  • A: 86 and above
  • B : 73-85
  • C+: 67-72
  • C: 60-66
  • C- : 50-59
  • F : 49 and below

In Newfoundland and Labrador: 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% F: 0% - 49% Grade "F" is the sole failing mark.

In Ontario:

  • A (Level 4, above government standards) 80% and above
  • B (Level 3, at government standards) 70-79%
  • C (Level 2, below, but approaching government standards) 60-69%
  • D (Level 1, well below government standards) 50-59%
  • R (Remedial standards-used in elementary schools), or F (Failing standards-used in high schools), 49% and below.

There are also '+' and '-' modifiers. A+ is close to 100% and better than A, A is better than A-, A- is better than B+. So on and so forth. There are no modifiers for R.

In Quebec

  • A: 86 and above (greatly above stantards)
  • B: 79-85 (above standards)
  • C: 70-78 (at government standards)
  • D: 60-69 (lower standards)
  • F: 59 and lower (failure)

Quebec passing mark is 60% and not 50% like other provinces.

Central and Eastern Europe

In Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and likely the rest of the former Soviet Union and some countries formerly associated with the Eastern Bloc, a five-point grading scale is used, where:

  • 5 (very good or excellent) is the best possible grade,
  • 4 (good),
  • 3 (satisfactory) indicates "average" performance,
  • 2 (unsatisfactory),
  • 1 (poor) is the lowest possible grade.

Qualifiers `+' and `–' are often used to add some degree of differentiation between the grades, eg. 4+ is better than 4 but a little worse than 5–. Grading varies greatly from 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 uncommon and is rarely given for academic reasons—in many cases a failure to show up for an exam or to answer any questions only results in a 2.

Students in these countries may be labeled by their teachers according to their average grade, the labels stemming from the respective digits. For example, someone with a 5-point average is a пятёрочник (m) (pronounced: pyatyorishnik, from Russian "5", пять (pyat'))/ пятёрочница (f) (pyatyorishnitsa), while someone with a 2-point average is a двоечник (m) (dvoeshnik, hard to see if you don't know Russian, but from Russian "2", два(dva))/двоечница (f) (dvoeshnitsa).

It's fair to mention that "1" is a very exotic grade in Russian schools. It is used rarely by some teachers in primary school. The four-point grading scale ("five" to "two")is employed in middle school and university. "Plus" and "minus" modifiers follow the same tendency: they are used rarely in middle school, and almost never in colleges or universities.

Ukraine had some invention in grading system after 2002, where grade lays in between 1 and 12 and is matched with 5-point grade system using next system:

  • Ukrainian 11 equals ex-USSR 5.
  • Ukrainian 8 equals ex-USSR 4.
  • Ukrainian 5 equals ex-USSR 3.
  • Ukrainian 2 equals ex-USSR 2.

"+" and "-" qualifiers are complementing adding one or negative one to grade, respectively. For example, "5+" or "3-" in ex-UUSR grading system are "12" or "4" in Ukraine.

In Hungary the 5-point grade system is used. There are only whole numbers in the report cards, but to grade exams, there are fractions (such as 3/4, which is between 3 and 4) also. Some teachers use lines above or under the numbers to draw a clearer distinction: 4, (4-minus) is worse than a 4 but better than a 3 or a 3' (3-plus); sometimes they even use multiple lines, such as 5,,. 1 is the only failing grade. When grading a student's attitude or diligence, only the grades 2-5 are used.

The grading system in Latvia and Lithuania has been changed to a 10-point grading system. 10 is the highest achievable grade, while 1 is awarded for extremely poor performance. The minimal passing grade is 4 (though some universities have a minimum passing grade of 5). The absence of any kind of performance is awarded with 'nv' (nav vērtējuma - no grade). Teachers in lower classes are encouraged to award one of two grades 'i' (ieskaitīts) for a passing grade and 'ni' (neieskaitīts) when the performance is not acceptable; however, the benefits of this system are questionable.

Romania uses a 10-point grading system. 10 is the highest achievable grade, and 5 is the minimal passing grade. A very poor performance is usually awarded a 3 or 4, while a 1 is often reserved for cases of academic dishonesty or some other unacceptable behavior.

At Poland's primary, middle and high schools a 1 to 6 point grade system is used, with 1 - fail, 2 - pass but very low performance, 3 - satisfactory, 4 - good, 5 - very good and 6 - above requirements (the student's knowledge exceeds what is taught). Until the 1990's, there was a 2 to 5 grade system with plus and minus marks, such as: 3- (passed but barely), or 4+ (between good and very good). Since the mid-90s, Polish primary and secondary schools expanded this system to include the sixth grade. At universities, a traditional four-point system is used; the grades are: 2.0 (fail), 3.0 (pass), 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 (very good, the highest grade). Some universities use non-standard, additional 5.5 and 6.0 grades.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, primary and secondary schools use a 5-point grade system with 1 as the best and 5 as the worst. There are only whole numbers in the report cards, but tests or oral exams are often marked by additional distinctive signs: 3+ is slightly better than 3, 2- is slightly worse than 2, 1-2 or 1/2 means halfway between 1 and 2, and 1* means exceptionally excellent.
Universities use a 4-point grade system where 1 is the best and 4 means fail, or an expanded version of this: a six-grade system with half-grades between 1 and 2, and 2 and 3. The grades are then 1 (also A), 1.5 (B), 2 (C), 2.5 (D), 3 (E), and 4 (F, or fail).hfghfghf


In Chile, grades from 1.0 up to 7.0 (with one decimal place) are used, where:

  • 7.0 (excellent) is the best possible grade
  • 6.0-6.9 (very good)
  • 5.0-5.9 (good)
  • 4.0-4.9 (sufficient); 4.0 is the lowest passing grade
  • 1.0-3.9 (insufficient) are failing grades; 1.0 is the worst possible grade.

Generally, it's a linear scale, with 1.0 meaning 0% achievement, 4.0 meaning 50% or 60% achievement (depending of the scale used), and 7.0 meaning 100% achievement. Rounding of averages is generally done to the second decimal; hence, a 3.95 is rounded up to a 4.0, whereas a 3.94 is rounded down to a 3.9.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the classification systems occur in a range between 0 and 100, where it is generally required to have at least a 70 to pass a course.


For the grading system used in Croatia please see the section Yugoslavia (former).

Czech Republic

For the Czech system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.


Further information: Grading in Denmark

The current Danish gradation scale is called the 13-scale and consists of 10 grades ranging from 00 to 13, with 00 being the worst.

Grade Given for... Notes
00 the completely unacceptable performance.
03 the very hesitant, imperfect and unsatisfactory performance.
5 the hesitant and non-satisfactory performance.
6 the somewhat hesitant but more or less satisfactory performance.
7 the performance slightly below average.
8 the average performance.
9 the performance slightly above average.
10 the excellent but somewhat routinized performance.
11 the independent and excellent performance.
13 the exceptionally independent and excellent performance.

The gaps between 00 & 03, 03 & 5 and 11 & 13 are there to signify a larger difference between those grades. The leading 0 in 00 and 03 are used to prevent fraud with grades (as otherwise a student could add a leading 1, yielding a perfect 13).

The highest grade 13 and the lowest grade 00 are the grades most rarely given.

00 is nearly impossible to achieve, presuming one knows even a single fact taught in that particular class, it is given for the truly incompetent performance. At exams, 00 is given to absentees.

13 is a fairly rare grade outside of exams and requires a performance way beyond the expected.

The average of grades given in Danish secondary schools in 2003 was 8.22.

New system

From the 2006-07 school year, a new scale will be introduced, made to be compatible with the ECTS-scale.

Grade Description "13-scale"-equivalent ECTS-equivalent
−3 entirely inadequate 00 F
0 inadequate 5 Fx
2 adequate the minimum acceptable, minimum passing grade 6 E
4 fair numerous considerable flaws 7 D
7 good numerous flaws 8 & 9 C
10 excellent few considerable flaws 10 B
12 outstanding none or few unconsiderable flaws 11 & 13 A


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 were discarded. Thus, it is divided between 4, the failing grade, and 5–10, the succeeding grades. Note the similarity to the grading scale used in Romania (click here for more).

  • 10 (excellent), represents about 5% of the top
  • 9 (excellent)
  • 8 (good)
  • 7 (satisfactory), the mode
  • 6 (satisfactory)
  • 5 (mediocre)
  • 4 (fail)

In the individual exams, but not in the final results, it is also possible to divide the scale further with '½', which represents a half grade, and '+' and '–', which represent one-fourth a grade better or inferior. For example, the order is "9 < 9+ < 9½ < 10– < 10". The grade '10+' can also be awarded to represent perfect performance added with extra effort by the student.

The matriculation examination grades are similar to the above, but in Latin.

Grade Abbrv. Gloss Translation Percentage of grades
laudatur L excellent praised Top 5%
eximia cum laude approbatur E excellent accepted, with extraordinary commendations 15%
magna cum laude approbatur M good accepted, with many commendations 20%
cum laude approbatur C satisfactory accepted, with commendations 24%
lubenter approbatur B satisfactory readily accepted 20%
approbatur A mediocre accepted 11%
improbatur I fail disapproved bottom 5%

Universities and vocational institutions use a scale of 0 (fail) and 1-5 (pass), or fail/pass. The professor selects which grading scheme is used; short, compulsory courses typically have pass/fail grades.


The French grading system is similar to that of Belgium in secondary schools and universities; the passing grade is 10. Primary schools generally use a 10-point grading scale.


In Germany, a 6-point grading scale is used, where:

  • 1 (sehr gut, excellent) is the best possible grade.
  • 2 (gut, good) is the next-highest.
  • 3 (befriedigend, satisfactory) indicates "average" performance.
  • 4 (ausreichend, sufficient) is the lowest passing grade.
  • 5 (mangelhaft, deficient) is the higher of two failing grades.
  • 6 (ungenügend, insufficient) is the lowest possible grade.

Five and six are both considered to be failing grades, though in earlier years students are not required to repeat classes with '5' grades if they perform well in other classes. Grades '1' to '5' can be suffixed with '+' and '-'. To calculate averages of suffixed grades, they are assigned fractioned values, where '1' is 1.0, '1-' is 1.3, '2+' is 1.7, '2' is 2.0, '2-' is 2.3 and so on. There is even the grade of '1+' or 0.7, which means more or less 'with distinction'. (But there is neither '6+' nor '6-' since '6' means null.)

As schools are governed by the states, not by the federal government, there are slight differences. Sometimes there is '1-' equal to 1.25, '1-2' = 1.5, '2+' = 1.75 and so on. And sometimes the grades are in tenth of a number, '1.0', '1.1', '1.2' and so on.

In school reports, only unmodified integer grades may be used; they are written in text form:

  • 1 - sehr gut
  • 2 - gut
  • 3 - befriedigend
  • 4 - ausreichend
  • 5 - mangelhaft
  • 6 - ungenügend

"In-between" grades such as '1-2', '2-3', '3-4' etc., which used to count as 1.5, 2.5 and so on, have largely been discontinued due to ambiguities when converting the averages back to integer values.

In the final classes of Gymnasiums the grades are converted to numbers ("points") in order to calculate the average for Abitur. In this case an '1+' exists (and counts as 15), '1' is 14, '1-' is 13, '2+' is 12, etc. up to '5-' is 1 and finally '6' is 0. Although 1+ exists in this system, "ultra-perfect" Abitur averages below 1.0 are NOT possible, even if one has got an '1+' in every subject. When the point system is used, 4 (5 points) is the lowest passing grade, and 4- (4 points) the highest failing grade.

In converting German grades to the A-F scale, a 1 = A, ... 4 = D scale is often used (with 5 and 6 both converted to Fs) but this conversion is nearly never accurate, since, for example, a grade of '3' is usually more difficult to obtain in Germany than a 'B+' in the United States. In the U.S., students usually get an A if their score is greater than 90%. In Germany, students scoring more than 90% usually are in the 3 range. (The average grade in Germany is normally supposed to be around or a bit above 3, whereas in the US average grades are often supposed to be between 91% and 89%.)

For the conversion of Gymnasium grades, the following must be taken into account: Only 23% of the German population obtain the "Abitur - Allgemeine Hochschulreife" ("General Maturity for University"), implying that a 4.0 (passed) is applied to students within the best 23% of the population. Another 17-21% obtain a "Fachabitur" limiting their university choices to more application oriented studies at a "Fachhochschule" ("University of Applied Sciences") in a field they majored in for their "Fachgebundene Hochschulreife". The public often use the name "Fachabitur" for the "Fachgebundene Hochschulreife" graduation. Consequently, even a 4 ("pass") in a university exam is awarded to students within the top 23% (or top 40% for "Fachhochschule") group of the German population.

In former East Germany, a 5-point grading scale was used until July of 1991, where:

  • 1 (very good) was the best possible grade.
  • 2 (good) was the next-highest.
  • 3 (satisfactory) indicates "average" performance.
  • 4 (sufficient) was the lowest passing grade.
  • 5 (insufficient) was the lowest possible grade and the only failing grade.

The textual form of the grades was:

  • 1 sehr gut
  • 2 gut
  • 3 befriedigend
  • 4 genügend
  • 5 ungenügend

This scale is identical to the current Austrian grading scale.

In German universities (besides the law schools) also the 1 to 5 scale for the grade (Note / Zensur) is used:

  • 1 sehr gut (very good: an outstanding achievement)
  • 2 gut (good: an achievement, which lies substantially over average requirements)
  • 3 befriedigend (satisfactory: an achievement, which corresponds to average requirements)
  • 4 ausreichend (sufficient: an achievement, which still meets the requirements)
  • 5 nicht ausreichend / nicht bestanden (not sufficient / failed: an achievement, which does not meet the requirements)

Sometimes, esp. with a Dr.phil. (D.Phil. / Ph.D.) also the Latin versions are used for the grading (here then the grade (Note / Zensur) is called "Prädikat"):

  • summa cum laude (0 = mit Auszeichnung, "with honor")
  • magna cum laude (1 = sehr gut, "very good")
  • cum laude (2 = gut, "good")
  • rite (3 = bestanden, "passed")

There is no grade for failing then, because in that case the dissertation is just formally rejected, without any kind of grading.

For law students at German universities, a similar system to the 1 to 5 scale is used that comprises one more grade that is inserted between 2 ("gut") and 3 "befriedigend," named "vollbefriedigend." This is due to the fact that the grades "gut" and "sehr gut" are extremely rare, so an additional grade was created below "gut" to increase differentiation. Every grade is converted into points very much like the Gymnasium system described above, starting at 18 points (excellent) down to 0 points (poor). 4 points is the lowest passing grade.

Often the German grades are treated like an interval scale to calculate means and deviations for comparisons. Despite it lacks any psychometric standardization, the grading system is also used like a normal distributed statistical scale for norm-referenced assessments (with an expected value of 3 and a standard deviation of 1). So, transformations into other statistical measures like Percentiles, T, Stanine etc. or (like in the PISA studies) the very often used IQ are then possible, here e.g. a transformation into Percentiles and IQ:

  • 1.0: 98%, 130
  • 2.0: 84%, 115
  • 3.0: 50%, 100
  • 4.0: 16%, 85
  • 5.0: 2%, 70

(note: this is the statistical norm IQ (expected value of 100, standard deviation of 15) which is nowadays widely used outside of intelligence tests, and which is NOT a measure for intelligence!)

This transformation is - as mentioned above - highly questionable at the least. E.g., substantially far more than 14% (>4.0) of German students at universities fail in an exam (usually about 20-40%, often even more, in very rare cases at technical universities up to 98% fail an individual exam as they first try and know they are entitled to a second chance). Grades awarded vary widely between fields of study and between universities/schools. In reality, nevertheless, independent from field and school students normally have to get more than half of the tasks given within an examination right to even pass it (to get a 4.0). So, also the reality contraticts the treatment of grades as statistical norms.

Also, it must be taken into account that in Germany education (at school as well as at university) is still not only about learning but also a great deal about permanent selection (whereas the criteria of selection are widely critizised, esp. the underlying principles of grading used in Germany). The selection might be one reason for the (in comparison) low succesion rates at university as well as for the small number of people who obtain an "Abitur" in the first place. However, several empirical psychological studies show that the grades awarded in Germany at school and university have only a low reliability (and therefore extremely weak validity)[1]. Only a GPA from school is a mild (weak) predictor for success in school, university and to a slightly better degree for success in vocational trainings, and GPAs from school or university have nearly no predicitive value for job performance[2]. In Germany, due to the lack of German psychometric tests (like SAT, GRE or GMAT and the like in the US) mainly the GPA is used (has to be used as the most valid criterion availible) as the only criterion within an application process. Also in the work field the grades have a high impact on career opportunities, sadly, scientific based recruitment and assessment is still only used by less than 8% of the German employers (in the other European countries 50-70%)[3].

Hong Kong

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

Common grading point:
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= 0.0

Grade A : Excellent
Grade B : Good
Grade C : Adequate
Grade D : Marginal pass
Grade F : Fail

Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination and Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination

Results of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination(HKCEE) and Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE) are expressed in terms of six grades A - F, of which grade A is the highest and F the lowest. Results below grade F are designated as unclassified (UNCL).

Common grade Definition of HKCEE and HKALE recognized by the general public
Grade A: Distinction
Grade B: Credit
Grade C: Credit
Grade D: Pass
Grade E: Pass
Grade F: Failed
UNCL: Unclassified

- Grade C or above in a HKCEE subject is recognised as equivalent to an O-level pass. (grade C or better) in an overseas GCE examination. But Grade E in HKCEE is commonly recognized as a pass for most employers and education institutes in Hong Kong.

- Grade E or above in HKALE subject is recognised as equivalent to a pass (Grade E or above) in a British oversea GCE examination.


For the Hungarian system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.


The grading system in India varies somewhat as a result of being a large country. The most predominant form of grading is the percentage system. An examination consists of a number of questions each of which give credit. The sum of credit for all questions generally counts up to 100. The grade awarded to a student is the percentage obtained in the examination. The percentage of all subjects taken in an examination is the grade awarded at the end of the year. The percentage system is used at both the school and university. Some universities also use the grading system and a CGPA on a 10 or 4 point scale. Notably, all the IITs, BITS Pilani (Pilani, Goa campuses) and most NITs use a 10-point GPA system. However, the grades themselves may be absolute (as in NITs), exlusively relative (as in BITS Pilani), or a combination of absolute, relative and/or historic, as in some IITs.

There are several universities and recognized school boards in India which makes an objective comparison of percentage grades awarded by one examination difficult with those for another, even for an examination at the same level. At the school level percentages of 80-90 are considered excellent while above 90 is exceptional and uncommon. At the university level however percentages between 70-80 are considered excellent and are quite difficult to obtain. It should be pointed out that the percentage of marks at university vary from one to another which makes direct comparison of percentages obtained at different universities difficult.

Official Grading System (for all Government/Autonomous/Deemed Indian Universities except schools)

Old Percentage Range Grade U.S. Grade Class/Division
80-100% A+ 4 First Division with Honours/Distinction
75-79% A 3.75-3.95 ""
70-74% A- 3.5-3.7 ""
65-69% B+ 3.25-3.45 First Division
60-64% B/B- 3-3.2 ""
55-59% C+ 2.5-2.9 Second Division
50-54% C/C- 2-2.4 ""
45-49% D+ 1.5-1.9 Third Division
40-44% D/D- 1-1.4 ""
Less than 40% F 0 Fail


Division I- 60% or higher Division II- 48% or higher Division III- 32% or higher Fail-less than 32%


The grading system in Indonesia's elementary to high school level is given in a scale of 1-10:

  • 10 (Exceptional mark, usually never given)
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5 (This is the highest failing grade for certain subjects such as Religion Educations, Mother Tongue/Indonesian Language and Moral Education)
  • 4
  • 3 (This is the highest failing grade in general)
  • 2
  • 1

A student is to repeat a year if they get a failing grade in any subject.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate uses an integer scale ranging from 1 through 7.

  • 7: Excellent
  • 6: Very Good
  • 5: Good
  • 4: Satisfactory
  • 3: Mediocre
  • 2: Poor
  • 1: Very Poor

The Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay are graded on an A to E scale.

  • A: Excellent
  • B: Good
  • C: Satisfactory
  • D: Mediocre
  • E: Elementary

Up to three bonus points (for an A and a B) can be awarded for good performance on these essays. An E on both Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay is a failing condition, preventing a diploma from being awarded.

Students in the IB Diploma Programme are graded in six subjects for a total of 42 points, and the possible three points which are awarded for the Theory of Knowledge subject and the Extended Essay bring the maximum up to 45. For the diploma to be awarded students must accumulate at least 24 points, and there are restrictions on the number of grades below 4 which are tolerated. This requires an average grade of 4, but in some cases a grade of 3 or 2 can be compensated by a grade of 5 or better in an other subject, or by bonus points from good performance on the Extended Essay and/or Theory of Knowledge. In admission to university programs, the IB grades are often converted to a local or national assessment system by some appropriate formula.


In Irish secondary schools grades are awarded using letters along this scale:

  • A: 100% - 85%
  • B: 84% - 70%
  • C: 69% - 55%
  • D: 54% - 40%

Anything below 40% is considered a failing grade and is awarded an 'E' (40% - 25%) or 'F' (25% - 10%) grade. Any score below 10% is classed as 'NG' or 'No Grade'. At Higher Level a 'C' grade and above is considered an 'Honor' grade. For some purposes the grade letter ranges are further sub-divided from 15% ranges to 5% ranges yielding grades A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc. (or A1, A2, B1, B2, B3...).

Leaving Certificate results are measured by the number of 'points' awarded to the student. It is usually the amount of points awarded to the student that forms the basis for the student's acceptance or otherwise into a course of higher education (e.g. a university degree course). A number of points between 0 and 100 are awarded to the student for each Leaving Certificate exam sat. The student then combines the points from his or her six top scoring exams giving a final total score between 0 and 600. The number of points awarded for a particular grade depend on whether the student sat the exam for the 'Higher Level' course or the 'Ordinary Level' course. The number of points awarded for each grade at the two levels are as follows:

Grade Percentage Range Points at Higher Level Points at Ordinary Level
A1 100% - 90% 100 60
A2 89% - 85% 90 50
B1 84% - 80% 85 45
B2 79% - 75% 80 40
B3 74% - 70% 75 35
C1 69% - 65% 70 30
C2 64% - 60% 65 25
C3 59% - 55% 60 20
D1 54% - 50% 55 15
D2 49% - 45% 50 10
D3 44% - 40% 45 5

Anything below a D3 is considered a failing grade, and no points are awarded.


In Israel there are two scales, 0-10 (usually small quizzes, surprise quizzes etc.) and 0-100 (usually exams).

The grading scale is as follows: 10 or 95-100 = מצוין (execllent) 9 or 85-94 = טוב מאוד (very good) 8 or 75-84 = טוב (good) 7 or 65-74 = כמעט טוב (almost good) 6 or 55-64 = מספיק (sufficient) 5 or 45-54 = מספיק בקושי (hardly sufficient) <4 or <44 = בלתי מספיק/נכשל (insufficient/failed)


In Italian primary school, a 5-point grading scale is used, where:

  • Ottimo (excellent)
  • Distinto (good)
  • Buono (average)
  • Sufficiente (pass)
  • Non Sufficiente (non pass)

In high school a 10-point scale is used , being 6 the minimum grade for passing. Specifications such as + and -, half grades, and grades like 6/7 are often used. Note that the grades used in primary school are derived from this scale, with Non Sufficiente meaning "5 and under", and the other grades standing respectively for 7, 8, 9, 10. The standard in giving grades depends a lot from school to school and in particular from the North (usually higher level) and the South of Italy (often lower level). A 10 is very rare to score, as well as a 1. An 8 is usually considered an excellent grade. The average grade goes between 6 and 7.

Universities in Italy use a 30-point scale simply divided in two, non passing (0 to 17 points), and passing grades (18 to 30 points), for ordinary exams, and a 110-point scale, divided in two as well, being 66 the minimum grade for passing. Engineering schools ( Politecnici ) have a 100-point scale, being 60 the minimum grade for passing. For outstanding results the Lode "praise", is added at the maximum grade.


The Iranian grading system is similar to that of Belgium in secondary schools and universities; the passing grade is 10. Graduate programs require 12 as passing grade.


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

  • 100: Excellent. (Rarely given)
  • 90: Very good.
  • 80: Good (most common score in non-math subjects like philosophy).
  • 70: Average (most common in math subjects like calculus).
  • 60: Passing threshold.
  • 0-59: Failed.

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 asessed, this score become the entire subject's score, thus giving slacking 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 might fail the entire year. As a result, the extraordinary tests often cause a lot of stress among students, because they have to study for the entire period often in a couple of weeks.

The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, grades from 1.0 up to 10.0 are used, with 1 being worst and 10 being best. Generally one decimal place is used and a +/- means a quarter, rounded to either .8 or .3. Thus, a 6.75 could be written as 7- and count as an 6.8, whereas a 7+ would be a 7.25 and count as an 7.3. The grade scale with the labels:

  • 10 (excellent)
  • 9 (very good)
  • 8 (good)
  • 7 (more than sufficient)
  • 6 (sufficient)
  • 5 (insufficient)
  • 4 (strongly insufficient)
  • 3 (very strongly insufficient)
  • 2 (bad)
  • 1 (very bad)

Depending on the grade, several honors are available: total average of grades 8 with no grade under 7 and finishing in time: cum laude. For an average better than 7, but not meeting the criteria for cum laude, met genoegen (with pleasure), is sometimes awarded. This honor system is typically only used at universities.

Usually 5.5 and up constitute 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 a fail. Sometimes, when no decimal place is used, an additional grade, 6-, is used as "barely passed". This is what would have been a 5.5 if a decimal place was used.

A description (in Dutch) of the grading system in Dutch schools can be found at

New Zealand

Official Name Common Name Meaning
Achievement with excellence Excellence / E The candidate has demonstrated in depth understanding of the material tested
Achievement with merit Merit / M The candidate has met the criteria of the standard which demonstrates substantial knowledge of the material tested
Achievement Achieved / A The candidate met the criteria of the standard to a level which demonstrates adequate understanding of the material tested
Not achieved Not achieved / NA Fail
University grading system
Grade Percentage Grade Value Averaged GPA
A+ 90-100 9 8.5-9
A 85-89 8 7.5-8.49
A- 80-84 7 6.5-7.49
B+ 75-79 6 5.5-6.49
B 70-74 5 4.5-5.49
B- 65-69 4 3.5-4.49
C+ 60-64 3 2.5-3.49
C 55-59 2 1.5-2.49
C- 50-54 1 0.5-1.49
D 40-49 0 0.4-0.49
E 0-39 0 0.0-0.39

D and E are fail grades. Grade Value is used to convert Grade into GPA. (eg A+ = 9) Averaged GPA is used to convert GPA bact into Grade. (eg 8.57 = A+)


Most of Norway's university-level study programs have now introduced the Bologna system of grading. Thus, in classes above high school, letter grades A, B, C, D, E and F are used. A is the highest and E is the lowest passing grade. F is fail.

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), 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).

Lower levels of education use a scale running from 0 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 postfixed with + or - (except 6+ and 0-) and it is also common to use grades such as 5/6 or 4/3 indicating borderline grades. The grading scale looks like this:

  • 1 (fail)
  • 1+
  • 1(+)
  • 1/2
  • 2/1
  • 2-
  • 2(-)
  • 2
  • 2+
  • 2(+)
  • 2/3
  • 3/2
  • 3-
  • 3(-)
  • 3
  • 3+
  • 3(+)
  • 3/4
  • 4/3
  • 4-
  • 4(-)
  • 4
  • 4+
  • 4(+)
  • 4/5
  • 5/4
  • 5-
  • 5(-)
  • 5
  • 5+
  • 5(+)
  • 5/6
  • 6/5
  • 6-
  • 6(-)
  • 6 (highest grade)


Peru's grading system is very similar to Belgian, please see that entry.


Most schools and universities, such as De La Salle University (DLSU), use the 4-point number grading system.

  • 4.0 : 95-100%
  • 3.5 : 92-94%
  • 3.0 : 88-91%
  • 2.5 : 84-87%
  • 2.0 : 78-84%
  • 1.5 : 75-78%
  • 1.0 : 70-74% (passing grade)
  • 0.0 : < 70% (failing grade)

A student who has a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 is entitled to graduate "With Honors". Those having a CGPA of 3.4 to 3.599 will graduate with a "Cum Laude". From 3.6 to 3.799 is a "Magna Cum Laude", and from 3.8 above is a "Summa Cum Laude".

There are also schools, such as the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), that use letter grades. The equivalent percentages for each letter grade varies depending on the passing grade of the subject (some have a passing grade of 70%; others, 50%).

  • A  : 4.0
  • B+ : 3.5
  • B  : 3.0
  • C+ : 2.5
  • C  : 2.0
  • D  : 1.0 (passing grade)
  • F  : 0.0 (failing grade)

The state university, University of the Philippines (UP), uses a reverse 5.0 scale, with 1.0 as the highest grade, 3.0 as the passing, and 5.0 as the failing grade. (Another Philippine university, Lyceum NorthWestern University, also uses a similar grading system.)

  • 1.0 : 96-100%
  • 1.25 : 91-95%
  • 1.5 : 86-90%
  • 1.75 : 81-85%
  • 2.0: 76-80%
  • 2.25 : 71-75%
  • 2.5 : 66-70%
  • 2.75 : 61-65%
  • 3.0 : 60%
  • 4.0 : unconditional pass/fail
  • 5.0 : fail


For the Polish system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.


Portugal's grading system in high-schools and universities is very similar to Belgian, please see that entry. For middle-schools the 5-1 central European system is used, please see that entry.


For the Romanian system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.


For the Russian system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.


Singapore's grading system in schools is differentiated by the existence of many types of institutions with different education focus and systems. The grading systems that is used at Primary, Secondary, and Junior College levels are the most fundamental to the local system used.

Primary Schools

Primary schools in Singapore implement a grading system along an "Achievement Band", until the system disregarded the EM3 stream and concentrate on an "Overall Grade" scheme, which grade students as below:

Lower Primary (Primary 1 to 3)

  • A*: 91% and above
  • Band 1: 85% and above
  • Band 2: 70% to 84%
  • Band 3: 51% to 69%
  • Band 4: Below 50%

Upper Primary (Primary 4 to 6)

  • A*: 91% and above
  • A: 75% to 90%
  • B: 60% to 74%
  • C: 50% to 59%
  • D: Below 50%
  • E: Below 25%


Secondary Schools

Secondary schools are the first institutions in Singapore to have implemented the “Overall Grade” grading system for academic subjects. Since the 2000s, the education system allow more capable Normal (Academic) stream students to participate in the ‘O’ Levels examination for Mother Tongue and Mathematics (Elementary) a year instead of taking the ‘N’ Levels equivalents. This has resulted with a quasi-‘O’ Levels grading system used for such students, although their ‘N’ Levels subjects are graded along the “Overall Grade” grading system, thus in their result slip, some subjects will be graded along the “Overall Grade”, and some with the “’O’ Levels” grading system.

Express and Special stream students are graded along the “Overall Grade” grading system for the first 3 academic years in their secondary schools, and then graded along the “‘O’ Levels” grading system in their final secondary school year (year 4). Normal (Academic) students are graded for first 3 academic years and the ‘N’ Levels year (year 4), and subsequently graded along the “’O’ Levels” grading system in their final secondary school year (year 5). Normal (Technical) stream students are graded along the “Overall Grade” grading system throughout their entire education in secondary schools.

Non-academic subjects like Religious Knowledge, Civic & Moral Education and Music are graded with an alphabetical grading system of A, B, C or D.

Overall Grade

  • 1: 75% and above
  • 2: 70% to 74%
  • 3: 65% to 69%
  • 4: 60% to 64%
  • 5: 50% to 59%
  • U: Below 50%, considered Un-graded, or failed.

’O’ Levels Grades

  • A1: 75% and above
  • A2: 70% to 74%
  • B3: 65% to 69%
  • B4: 60% to 64%
  • C5: 55% to 59%
  • C6: 50% to 54%
  • D7: 45% to 49%
  • E8: 40% to 44%
  • F9: Below 40%
  • Grades D7, E8 and F9 are considered the failing grades. Students taking Higher Mother Tongue, or Mother Tongue Syllabus ‘B’ (e.g.: Chinese, Malay, Tamil) may be awarded a Distinction, Merit, Pass, or a Fail grade.

The grades from ‘O’ Levels will subsequently be collated into an array of combined scores that will deem the eligibility of an ‘O’ Levels students for higher education in a junior college, centralised institute, polytechnic or other private higher institution. These scores are grouped in language and relevant subjects, hence the term “L1R4” for centralised institutes, polytechnics and other private institutions; “L1R5” for junior colleges, which stands for 1 language & 4 relevant subjects for “L1R4”, and 1 language & 5 relevant subjects for “L1R5”.

‘O’ Levels combined scores of “L1R4” and “L1R5” and determined by adding up all of the grades’ point allocation; A1 is considered 1 point, C6 is considered 6 points and likewise, F9 is considered 9 points. The “language subject component” will be the compulsory first language of the student, which in Singapore; all students are to take the English language as their first language. The “relevant subjects component” will be either Science-related subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), Mathematics, Mother Tongue or Elective subjects (Art & Design, Music, Design & Technology, Food & Nutrition).

Note: Lower combined score is considered better off than higher combined score, e.g.: L1R4 = 10 points is better than L1R4 = 20 points.

For illustration, if an ‘O’ Levels student scored A1s for English Language, Mathematics, Social Studies and A2s for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Art & Design and C6 for Mother Tongue:

English Language (compulsory: language subject component): A1 = 1 point Mathematics (compulsory; relevant subjects component): A1 = 1 point Social Studies (optional; relevant subjects component): A1 = 1 point Physics (optional; relevant subjects component): A2 = 2 points Chemistry (optional; relevant subjects component): A2 = 2 points Biology (optional; relevant subjects component): A2 = 2 points Art & Design (optional; relevant subjects component): A2 = 2 points Mother Tongue (compulsory; relevant subjects component): C6 = 6 points

For centralised institute, “L1R4” for enrolment is required. That includes the compulsory subjects of English Language, Mathematics and Mother Tongue, and 2 more relevant subjects that students can choose from their result slips, which often occur to be their 2 best-scored subjects. In this hypothetical case, this student is more than eligible to enrol into a centralised institute. The “L1R4” for this student will be English Language (1 point) + Mathematics (1 point) + Mother Tongue (6 points) + Social Studies (1 point) + Physics (2 points) = 11 points. Centralised institute requires students to score L1R4 20 points and below to be enrolled.

For junior colleges, “L1R5” for enrolment is required, and students are required to score below 20 points to be enrolled. Junior colleges enrolment also includes the compulsory subjects of English Language, Mathematics and Mother Tongue, but 3 more relevant subjects. The “L1R5” for this student will be English Language (1 point) + Mathematics (1 point) + Mother Tongue (6 points) + Social Studies (1 point) + Physics (2 points) + Chemistry (2 points) = 13 points. Junior colleges admission criteria differ from colleges to colleges. Minimum requirement for neighbourhood junior colleges are L1R5 below 20 points, while certain elitist junior colleges require L1R5 6 points and below.

Junior College Level (GCE "A" and "AO" levels)

  • A: 70% and above
  • B: 60% to 69%
  • C: 55% to 59%
  • D: 50% to 54%
  • E: 45% to 49% (passing grade)
  • O: 35% to 44% (denotes standard is at "AO" level only), grade N in the British "A" Levels.
  • F: Below 35%

In addition, students offering Special Papers (offered for the last time in 2006) will be awarded either 1 (Distinction), 2 (Merit), or U (Unclassified). Grades 1 and 2 may only be awarded with a grade E and above in the main A level paper. Grade U will be awarded if a candidate fails to achieve at least a grade E in the main subject paper, and will not be reflected in the A level result cerificate.

Different JCs have different expectations and thus, the school reserves the discretion to moderate the marks when deemed necessary. For example, some JCs may regard 50% as the passing mark instead of 45% by others.

Note: "AO" level grades at Junior College level follows the "O" level system above.

All percentages with their corresponding grades shown here are just approximate guidelines because ultimately at the end of all major examinations (Primary School Leaving Examinations or PSLE in short, GCE "N", "O" and "A" Levels) the Ministry of Education, Singapore, will moderate the results. Hence, an "A" grade for instance may no longer be at 70%. It could possibly be 68% or even 73% depending on the performance of the cohort. This is usually done to prevent grade inflation.

In addition, some schools are also offering the International Baccalaureate diploma program.

Polytechnic (Diploma)


  • Z: Distinction (Top 5% score in the subject for the cohort)
  • A: Excellent (>=80%)
  • B+: Very good (75%-79%)
  • B: Good (70%-74%)
  • C+: Above average (65%-69%)
  • C: Average (60%-64%)
  • D+: Pass (55%-59%)
  • D: Borderline pass (50%-54%)
  • F: Fail (<50%)

Grade Point Average

  • Z: 4.0
  • A: 4.0
  • B+: 3.5
  • B: 3.0
  • C+: 2.5
  • C: 2.0
  • D+: 1.5
  • D: 1.0
  • F: 0

The graduation criteria is to accumulate at least 1.0 for their GPA. For entrance into local university, the minimum criteria is to accumulate at least 3.2-3.5 for their GPA depending on each course. As for overseas university, the criteria is slightly lower which can range from 2.0-3.0. The matriculation requirement for local university is very high because there is only 15% of vacancy is allocated to polytechnic graduates. CCA is also taken into consideration for matriculation.


For the Slovak system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.


In Slovenia a five-point grading scale is used in elementary schools and high schools, where:

  • 5 (excellent) is the best possible grade
  • 4 (very good)
  • 3 (good)
  • 2 (sufficient) is the lowest passing grade
  • 1 (insufficient) is the lowest possible grade, and the failing one.

In universities a ten-point grading scale is used, where:

  • 10 (excellent) is the best possible grade
  • 9 (very good)
  • 8 (very good)
  • 7 (good)
  • 6 (sufficient) is the lowest passing grade
  • 5 or less are failing grades.


In Spain there is a ten-point grading scale used in elementary schools and high schools, where:

  • 9-10 is the best possible grade and is called "sobresaliente" ("outstanding". 10 is also sometimes called "Matrícula de Honor" or "Mención de Honor"
  • 7-8 is called "notable" ("remarkable")
  • 6 is called "bien" ("good")
  • 5 is the lowest passing grade and is called "suficiente" ("sufficient")
  • 3-4 is called "insuficiente" ("insufficient")
  • 0-2 is the lowest possible grade and is called "muy deficiente" (literally "very defficient", but equivalent to "fail")

In universities, the scale is retained, but 6 is no longer called "bien". Instead, 5-6 is called "suficiente".


These grades are used in the Grundskola (primary school) and the Gymnasium (secondary school):

  • MVG - Mycket väl godkänd (Passed with special distinction)
  • VG - Väl godkänd (Passed with distinction)
  • G - Godkänd (Passed)
  • IG - Icke godkänd (Fail) (Only in the Gymnasium)

When grading tests, the following limits are sometimes used:

  • >90% of the possible points of the test - MVG
  • >75% - VG
  • >50% - G
  • <50% - IG

but the grades relate to stated goals and not to a certain percentile of students.

Until 1994 relative grades on the scale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 were used. The scale was intended to have a national average of 3 and a standard deviation of 1, where 5 was the highest grade.

Up until 1962 yet another scale was used:

  • A - Berömlig (Passed with great distinction)
  • a - Med utmärkt beröm godkänd (Passed with distinction)
  • AB - Med beröm godkänd (Passed with great credit)
  • Ba - Icke utan beröm godkänd (Passed with credit)
  • B - Godkänd (Passed)
  • Bc - Icke fullt godkänd (Not entirely passable)
  • C - Underkänd (Fail)

A was the highest grade, but rarely given.

Universities (such as Stockholm University), with some exceptions, use the grading:

  • VG - Väl godkänd (Passed with distinction)
  • G - Godkänd (Passed)
  • U - Underkänd (Fail)

Many of these univerities are in a transition phase towards the ECTS credit system with an A to F grading, where A is the highest, following the Bologna process.

The Stockholm School of Economics uses:

  • Ber - Berömlig (Excellent)
  • MBG - Med beröm godkänd (Pass with distinction)
  • G - Godkänd (Pass)

Engineering colleges and universities such as KTH or Chalmers use a truncated five-point numeric scale, where 5 is the highest possible grade:

  • 5 (>=80%)
  • 4 (60%-79%)
  • 3 (40%-59%)
  • U - Underkänd (Fail)

School of Economics and Commerce Law, Gothenburg University uses the same system as Stockholm University:

  • VG - Väl godkänd (Passed with distinction >=75%)
  • G - Godkänd (Passed 50%-74% )
  • U - Underkänd (Fail <50%)


In Switzerland, a 6-point grading scale similar to that in Germany is used, but in reverse order and with a higher failing grade.

  • 6 (very good) is the best possible grade.
  • 5 (good) is a good grade.
  • 4 (sufficient) is the lowest grade that suffices to pass an exam.
  • 3 (insufficient) is a failing grade.
  • 2 (poor) is a low failing grade.
  • 1 (very poor) is the worst possible grade.

Every grade below 4 is a failing grade, so a '3.9' is considered insufficient. In exams, quarter steps are usually used to indicate grades in between integer grades, for example '5.25'. Sometimes, finer grained systems are used with steps of one tenth. This is often the case in exams where the grade is a linear function of the number of achieved points (Grade = achieved_point/max_points*5 + 1). In certificates, grades are either rounded to integers or to half integers. After having rounded the individual grades, a weighted mean is used to calculate the overall result. The weight of a grade is normally proportional to the number of hours the according subject was taught per week. To pass a year, this overall result needs to be sufficient. Sometimes further conditions need to be fulfilled, such as a maximum allowed number of grades below four. At university level, classes can often be repeated individually in case of an insufficient grade, so not the whole year or semester needs to be repeated.

In a typical exam, the average result will be somewhat above 4 with a variance between 0.5 and 1. This of course varies depending on the kind of exam, the tested class, the school level, the region, the teacher and other factors.

Since education is in the responsibility of the cantons (except for the federal universities), grading notations may differ depending on the region. In some regions, '+' and '-' are used to indicate marks below or above an integer. Sometimes the '-' is used to indicate a better grade if it stands after the grade and a lower grade if it stands before the grade (in which case '-' is a symbol for "bis" 'to' rather than 'minus'), for example '-5' is lower than '5' which is lower than '5-' in that system.

At university level, Latin expressions are used in some cases. The lain grades for a passed final exam in law at the University of Zurich for example are "summa cum laude" (excellent), "magna cum laude" (very good), "cum laude" (good) and "rite" (sufficient). Promotionsordnung der Rechtswissenschaftlichen Fakultät (German). URL accessed on August 5, 2005.


For the Ukrainian system, please see section on Central and Eastern Europe.

United Arab Emirates

At most universities and colleges The United Arab Emirates grading system is very similar to the United States grading system. Please see that entry.

United Kingdom

The whole of the United Kingdom does not use the same grading ("marking") scheme.


See also: Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and Scottish Qualifications Certificate

Scotland's education system uses the following structure:

Standard Grade

Credit level

  • 1: best possible grade, excellent (around 80% and above)
  • 2: above average grade, very good (around 70% and above)

General level

  • 3: average grade, satisfactory (around 60% and above)
  • 4: below average grade (around 50% and above)

Foundation level

  • 5: basic understanding (around 40% and above)
  • 6: limited understanding (around 30% and above)
  • 7: fail (in exams, usually less than 50%)
  • 8: no award (when exam candidates do not attend the exam)

It should now be noted that Scotland is moving on from the old System, and now uses the Higher Still Programme, which is Part of the National Qualifications Package. These are as follows:

National Qualifications

Advanced Highers

  • A: Best Possible Grade, excellent (around 75% and above)
  • B: Above Average Grade, very good (around 65% and above)
  • C: Minimum Pass, improvement needed (around 50% and above)
  • D: Close Fail, (between 45 and 49%)


  • A: Best Possible Grade, excellent (around 75% and above)
  • B: Above Average Grade, very good (around 65% and above)
  • C: Minimum Pass, improvement needed (around 50% and above)
  • D: Close Fail, (between 45 and 49%)

Intermediate 2

  • A: Best Possible Grade, excellent (around 75% and above)
  • B: Above Average Grade, very good (around 65% and above)
  • C: Minimum Pass, improvement needed (around 50% and above)
  • D: Close Fail, (between 45 and 49%)

Intermediate 1

  • A: Best Possible Grade, excellent (around 75% and above)
  • B: Above Average Grade, very good (around 65% and above)
  • C: Minimum Pass, improvement needed (around 50% and above)
  • D: Close Fail, (between 45 and 49%)

The Intermediate 1 Grading is equivalent to Standard Grade General Pass, Intermediate 2 Grading is equivalent to Standard Grade Credit, Highers are equivalent to the old Highers whilst Advanced Highers are equivalent to the old CSYS.

Most Secondary Schools have moved to this new system, however there are still some schools that use the old System of Standard Grades.

National Courses

  • A: best possible grade, excellent (around 75% and above)
  • B: above average grade, very good (around 65% and above)
  • C: below average grade, improvement needed (around 55% and above)
  • D: fail (around 50% and above)

Any lower standard of work will simply result in the failing of an exam, which is not graded.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

England, Wales and Northern Ireland use a unified system for grading secondary school qualifications.

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is graded on scale of A*-G, with U as Ungraded (Fail). NOTE: Grade % Averages are estimates

  • A*: Outstanding (Grade % Average: 80 and above)
  • A: Excellent (Grade % Average: 70 - 79)
  • B: Above average (Grade % average: 60-69)
  • C: Average (Grade % average: 50-59)
  • D: Below Average (Grade % average: 45-50)
  • E: Poor (Grade % average: 40-44) is the lowest passing % average
  • F:
  • G:
  • U: Ungraded (Grade % average: 0-40)

Advanced Level

The Advanced Level (A level), AKA General Certificate of Education (GCE) is graded on a scale of A-E, with U as Ungraded (Fail).

NOTE: Grade % Averages are estimates

  • A: Excellent (80%+)
  • B: Above average (70-79%)
  • C: Average (60-69%)
  • D: Below Average (50-59%)
  • E: Poor (40-49%) is the lowest passing grade
  • U: Ungraded (Grade % average: 0-39)

United States

Main article: Grading in the United States

Classical five-point discrete evaluation is the system most commonly used in the United States, but there are many variations. There are also a few schools, colleges and universities that eschew discrete evaluation (letter grading) in favor of pure discursive evaluation.

Here is a common example of an American quality index, showing letter grade, qualitative definition and correlative quantitative value.

  • A = Excellent or Exceptionally Good; or top 10% (90 to 100, of 100) = 4.00
  • B = Above Average or Above Average Expectation; or second 10% (80-90) = 3.00
  • C = Average or Average Expectation; or third 10% (70-80) = 2.00
  • D = Poor% (60-70) = 1.00
  • E or F: Failure or Exceptionally Poor; or bottom 60% (0-60) = 0.00

Percentage ranges may vary from one school to another. In some schools, these ranges may even vary from one class to another.

Whether the failing grade is E or F typically depends on time and geography. Some states, but not many, tend to favor E since World War II while the majority of the country still tend to use F. Ultimately, the grade F traces to the days of two-point grading as Pass (P) and Fail (F).

In schools, the grade point average is computed by multiplying the summing the quantitative values (4.0, etc.) and dividing the total by the number of factors. 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 2 A 2 x 4.0 = 8.0
Biology 102 4 B+ 4 x 3.3 = 13.2
History 103 3 B- 3 x 2.7 = 8.1
Physical Education 104 1 C 1 x 2.0 = 2.0
  • Total Credits: 10
  • Total Grade Points: 31.3
  • Grade Point Average: 31.3 / 10 = 3.13 or B average

Chromatic variants (+ and -) are often used. In hypomodal grading on a 100 point scale, the prime letter grade is assigned a value of X5, the + grade is assigned the top value of X9 and the - grade is assigned the bottom value of X0. Thus, 87 to 89 is B+, 83 or 84 to 86 is B, and 80 to 82 or 83 is B-. In straight modal grading on a 4.0 decimal scale, the prime number is the prime letter grade. The + range of the grade begins at X.333 (repeating), rounded to X.30, above the prime number. The - range of the grade begins at X.666 (repeating), rounded up to X.70, below the prime number. Thus, B = 3.0, B+ = 3.3, and B- = 2.7.

Yugoslavia (former)

In Croatia and likely the rest of the former Yugoslavia, a similar five-point grading scale is used, where:

  • 5 (excellent) is the best possible grade
  • 4 (very good)
  • 3 (good)
  • 2 (sufficient) is the lowest passing grade
  • 1 (poor) is the lowest possible grade, and the failing one

Teachers in grade schools and high schools are also allowed to record individual exam results with grades such as "3+" or "5-" or "3/4" which indicate varying ambiguities, but final grades at the end of the year need to be one of the basic five. An arithmetic mean is usually calculated, with X.45 being the threshold.

See also

Degree grades:


  1. Ingenkamp, K. (1997). "Handbuch der Pädagogischen Diagnostik". Weinheim: Beltz (Psychologie Verlags Union).
  2. Hollmann, H. & Reitzig, G. (1995). "Referenzen und Dokumentenanalyse. In W. Sarges (Hrsg.), Management-Diagnostik (2. Aufl.)". Göttingen: Hogrefe.
  3. Schuler, H. (2000). "Personalauswahl im europäischen Vergleich. In E. Regnet & L. M. Hoffmann (Hrsg.). Peronalmanagement in Europa.". Göttingen: Hogrefe.

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