Grading Systems Around the World

6 minute read
Grading Systems

In assessing a candidate’s academic achievements, marks and percentiles play a key role. If arriving for a work interview or qualifying for further education at a university, grades are critical and are among the fundamental items that an evaluator looks at. If you intend to seek your studies overseas, then it is worth remembering that countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Australia are among the best research destinations. These nations, renowned for providing the best education system in the world, aim to provide quality education in numerous fields such as medicine, architecture, arts, industry and more through their leading educational infrastructure. We will shed light on these countries’ ranking schemes in-depth in this article!

Types of Grading Systems

There are different types of acceptable grading systems around the world. They are classified into seven types:

  1. Grading Percentage– from 0 to 100 percent 
  2. Letter Grading and Variations – from A grade to F grade 
  3. Standard-referenced Grading– typically comparing students to each other with letter grades 
  4. Mastery Grading – Students are rated as ‘masters’ or ‘passers’ until their accomplishment reaches a defined level. 
  5. Common Scale– Pass/Fail 
  6. Rating of Expectations (or grading of absolute standards) Comparing student success with a pre-established performance level of quality
  7. Narrative Grading – Writing feedback on learners
Grading Systems

Advantages and Disadvantages of Grading Systems

Grading systems in any institution has their pros and cons. It can be made better and can be used to improve productivity instead of increasing negative perceptions about grading. Let’s look at the Advantages and Disadvantages of Grading Systems.

Advantages of Grading Systems Disadvantages of Grading Systems
Grading systems help determine the Weakness and Strengths of students.
It helps students understand which subjects they need to work on. 
Teachers can know which students find the subject difficult and they can give them special attention if required. 
Students are highly demotivated when they score lesser marks than expected.
Grading increases room for comparisons.
Students often focus on achieving passing marks instead of understanding the concepts.

Qualities of a Good Grading System

The following are a few qualities that can help us determine which grading systems can be considered as ‘good’.

  • A good grading system clearly and accurately communicates results to students, parents, and teachers.
  • Like in any other field of living, a good grading system ensures consistency and fairness in the assessment of learning.
  • Fairness can only be implied when the system recognises which students need special attention or cannot cope up with their studies.
  • A good grading system measures academic progress and achievement separately from character traits, and behaviors, so that parents and teachers can accurately determine the difference between learning needs and behavioral needs.
  • A good grading system doesn’t demotivate students, instead helps them understand their aptitude and excel academically as well as in life.

Grading System in India

The grading system in India follows different systems depending on the type of school, university or even the exam. Here are the grading systems used by Indian institutes.

Percentage Grade Point Classification/ Division
60–100 3.5–4.0 First-class/ Distinction / Outstanding
55–59 3.15–3.49 Second Class
50–54 2.5–3.14 Second Class
43–49 2.15–2.49 Third Division
35–42 1.5–2.14 Fail/Third Division
0–34 0–1.49 Fail

American Grading System

While considering the option to study abroad, the US is the first place that comes to mind. The prestigious institutions like Harvard, MIT and Stanford together make it the leading study destination for international students.

Grading Systems

Let us have a look at the chart below to understand it better.

Letter Grade GPA Percentage
A 4.0 93-100
A- 3.7 90-92
B+ 3.3 87-89
B 3.0 83-86
B- 2.7 80-82
C+ 2.3 77-79
C 2.0 73-76
C- 1.7 70-72
D+ 1.3 67-69
D 1.0 63-66
D- 0.7 60-62
F 0.0 Below 60

Evaluation System of the UK

Grading systems for the constituent countries of the UK vary slightly but overall it is similar. The UK ranking scheme is one of the world’s most powerful systems, which is why similar assessment approaches are used by countries such as Australia, Canada and India. The assessment that the country uses not only highlight your academic performance but also your important skills and strengths which gives your recruiters a better insight into your portfolio. If you are planning to study in UK, you should know about the grading scheme in the country. 

Grade Percentage Grade Definition Honours Degree Foundation Degree
A 70% – 100% Excellent to Outstanding First Distinction
B 60% – 69% Good to Very Good Upper Second (2:1) Merit
C 50% – 59% Satisfying Lower Second (2:2) Pass
D 40% – 49% Sufficient Third 3 Pass
E 30% – 39% Unsatisfactory Fail Fail
F 0 – 29% Unsatisfactory Fail Fail

Now you must be wondering how to convert the GPA score into a percentage. To know the hack, read our blog on GPA to Percentage

German Grading System

Germany is home to some of the top universities in the world that offer education in diverse disciplines. Leading the research in the field of technology and medicine, the European country is one of the top study destinations for those seeking overseas education at a low cost. Studying at public universities would mean to avail free education in Germany. Like other major grading systems, the evaluation scheme in the German educational institutes is similar. 

The table below will help you understand the German grading system with reference to ECTS.

German Grade Grade Definition ECTS grade
1 – 1.5 Very Good A
1.6 – 2.5 Good B
2.6 – 3.5 Satisfying C
3.6 – 4.9 Sufficient D
5.0 – 6.0 Insufficient E

Once you are aware of the universities in Germany, the next thing would be to apply for a study visa. Want to know about the various aspects of applying for the same? Then read our blog on Germany Study Visa!

Evaluation Process of Canadian Institutes

With the recent survey suggesting that the number of Indians moving to Canada is going to double in the next three years, the country has already become an educational hotspot for international students. Before planning to study in Canada, you should first locate the state you want to study in as the country has one of the most complicated grading systems which varies for different states. The country follows both the letter and numeric grading scheme.

British Columbia

Grade Percentage (%)
A 86-100
B 73-85
C+ 67-72
C 60-66
C- 50-59
F 0-49
I (Incomplete assignments) 0-49
W The student has left the course midway
P The student has qualified but grades are not available


GPA Description Equivalent Letter Grade
4.5 Exceptional A+
4.0 Excellent A
3.5 Very Good B+
3 Good B
2.5 Satisfactory C+
2 Adequate C
1 Marginal D
0 Failure F


Letter Grade Grade Points Approximate Percentage
A+ 4.3 90-100%
A 4.0 85-89%
A- 3.7 80-84%
B+ 3.3 75-79%
B 3.0 70-74%
B- 2.7 65-69%
C+ 2.3 60-64%
C 2.0 55-59%
C- 1.7 50-54%

Australian Grading System

Like Canada, Australia has one of the most complex grading systems in the world that varies for different regions. A popular destination for pursuing Management courses, MBA in Australia is among the most sought after programs in the continent. To study in Australia means to explore countless opportunities for higher education and high paying jobs. But to pursue any course in the country with a vibrant culture and the best educational infrastructure, understanding its grading system is important. For each region, the grading system is different but the most commonly used evaluation system has similarities with most of them. Let us take a look at the most common system followed in Australia.

Grade Scale Scale 2 Description Division US Grade
HD 7.00 83.00 – 100.00 High Distinction (A+) A+ A+

6.00 – 6.99 73.00 – 82.99 Distinction (A) Second Class, Upper Division A
C 5.00 – 5.99 63.00 – 72.99

Credit (B)Second  Lower Division B
P 4.00 – 4.99 50.00 – 62.99 Pass (C) Pass (C)Third Class C
N 0.00 – 3.99 0.00 – 49.99 Fail F

Grading System in Netherlands

The grading system in Netherlands follows a 1-10 list of grading with one as the worst and 10 being the best. 

Grade  Percentage
0-1 0-5%
2 5-15%
3 15-25%
4 25-35%
5 35-45%
6 45-55%
7 55-65%
8 65-75%
9 75-85%
10 85-100%

Grading System in Spain

The grading system of Spain also follows a 1-10 system. But each number has a german word assigned to it instead of a percentage.

Number Spanish Word & Its Meaning
0-4.9 Suspenso (Fail)
5-6.9 Aprobado  (Approved / Pass)
7-8.9 Notable (Good / Remarkable)
9-9.9 Sobresaliente (Outstanding) 
10 Matrícula de Honor ( Honorary)

Latin Grading Technique

This is a very famous technique of grading academics for students who achieve honor degrees. Harvard University uses this method of grading for students with 81+ percentage:

Percentage Latin Word
81 Cum Minus
83 Cum
85 Cum Plus
88 Magna Minus
90 Magna
92 Magna PLus
95 Summa Minus
97 Summa

There are also two specific words that many use for describing student performances with distinction. 

  1. Magna Cum Laude- It is awarded for students who have graduated with a great distinction.
  2. Summa Cum Laude- It is awarded to students who have graduated with the highest distinction.

Knowing about the courses and grading systems before planning to take up higher studies at a university abroad is essential. Once done, the next step is to prepare documents like a statement of purpose [SOP] and meet the admission requirements. But most of the students leave their application process midway as it needs dedication and guidance. We have made the path to your dream university a lot easier. Just reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will not only guide you in selecting the right university but will also assist in completing admission related formalities. So hurry up, CLICK HERE and get started with a FREE counseling session

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