Understanding the US Grading System

5 minute read
US Grading System

Grading system is a common evaluation matrix used in schools and universities based on which the overall performance can be calculated easily and effectively. Every country follows a specific kind of grading system. In this blog, we will explain the US grading system to you. Being one of the top-ranked study abroad countries, the US houses a bunch of top universities in the world which attract scores of international students every year. If you are planning to study in USA, then, understanding their grading system is a must for you! Read this blog to know everything about it.

Types of US Grading System

The US Grading System is considered top-notch because the country avails one of the best education systems in the world. The United States has two types of grading systems, they are numerical and the letter grades. Letter grades are those which students achieve in routine tests, For Example: A, B, C, etc. You can further convert the grade into a GPA. Another type of US grading system is a numerical one. It uniquely starts from 0 to 100. Let’s look at both of them.

The letter system starts from A to F and is accompanied by the percentage that demonstrates the number of questions a student has correctly answered. Tabulated below is a detailed version of the US grading system. 

Grade A Grade B
Grade CGrade DGrade F

A is the top grade a student is given for a test or an assignment in a classroom. It ranges between 90% to 100%.

B is considered being among the good grades. It is simply a score which is typically above the average. It is given to students receiving80% and 89%.

C grade is one of those grades that is located between A and C and rests right in the score between 70% and 79%.

D is a below-average grade but is still a qualifying one. The percentile range of this grade comes anywhere between 59% and 69%.

F is a grade given to those failing to qualify the exams or tests. The score percentile is between 0 and just below 59%.

Being unique in its nature, the US grading system is further divided into various grade minus and grade plus. With this bifurcation it has become more intricate and helps students and teachers understand almost the exact score. Mentioned below is the next level bifurcation of the grading system of the US. 

  • A:  93 -100
  • A(-): 90 – 92
  • B(+): 87 – 89
  • B: 83 – 86
  • B(-): 80 – 82
  • C(+):  77-79
  • C:  73-76
  • C(-): 70-72
  • D(+) : 67-69
  • D: 63-66
  • D(-): 60-62
  • F : Below 60

Grading Systems Around the World

Types of GPA

Now that we have discussed the grades and their representation in the US grading system, let us move on and study another important aspect of the US grading system, that is, GPA. The Grade Point Average (GPA) is majorly used across the country to describe the performance of the students. It is divided into three different categories depicting various levels of study. The three categories are- 

  • Class GPA
  • Semester GPA
  • Cumulative GPA

Here’s how you can convert GPA to Percentage

US Grading System: 4.0 GPA Scale

You must have come across numerous top universities in US demanding a GPA on scale of 1 to 4. The GPA with 4.0 scale is predominantly used in various schools and colleges in the US as it is an essential part of the US grading system. In the GPA type,  the numerical grades achieved by a student are first converted back to the letter grade and subsequently the letter grade is converted as per the determined 4.0 scale. To make it more understandable, the table below showcases how this type of grading scale works.

PercentileLetter Grade4.0 Scale
93 – 100A4.0
90 – 92A(-)3.7
87 – 89B(+)3.3
83 – 86B3.0
80 – 82B(-)2.7
77 – 79C(+)2.3
73 – 76C2.0
70 – 72C(-)1.7
67 – 69D(+)1.3
63 – 66D1.0
60 – 62D(-)0.7

Also Read: Countries with Best Education System

[optin-monster-shortcode id=”xf2mlnjiouddzrshykdb”]

Types of Honors

Students qualifying any level of education as per the US gradings system, may be awarded with a complimentary honour as per their GPA. Predominantly, there are three types of honours. They can vary from one university to another and are based on other requirements as well. All of the types of honours are in the Latin language. Pertinently, all three honours are categorically reserved for a student who has achieved a higher level GPA. 

  • Cum Laude – With Honor
  • Magna Cum Laude – With Great Honor
  • Suma Cum Laude – With Greatest Honor

CBSE Grading System

Comparing US vs UK Grading System

The American Grading System is always compared to the UK Grading system since both the countries are globally acclaimed for their education systems. Here are the key differences between US vs UK Grading system:

  • In the UK education system, children commonly start their schooling early at the age of four and there is a additional emphasis on academics right away from the start. On the other hand, US grading system puts lesser focus on examinations as students go through the major initial stages to coming to the conclusion of their secondary school when they graduate with a high school diploma.
  • While UK grading system encompasses GCSEs and A Levels to evaluate student’s knowledge, the US grading system does not have any such national exam and the assessments are commonly school-based.
  • After completing secondary education, the UK education system provides students with the choice of specialisations they want to pursue while the US education system offers degree programmes for them to further their higher studies.

Here’s a grade-wise comparison of the US vs the UK grading system:

US Grading SystemAgeUK Grading System
Kindergarten5-6Year 1
Grade 16-7Year 2
Grade 27-8Year 3
Grade 38-9Year 4
Grade 49-10Year 5
Grade 510-11Year 6
Grade 611-12Year 7
Grade 712-13Year 8
Grade 813-14Year 9
Grade 914-15Year 10
Grade 1015-16Year 11
Grade 1116-17Year 12
Grade 1217-18Year 13


What is the passing grade in the USA?

In the USA, you need a C grade, i.e. at least 70 percent.

What is considered a high GPA?

A 4.0 GPA is equivalent is considered the highest possible score.

What is a B grade in US education system?

B is considered being among the good grades, given to students receiving 80% and above.

This was all on the US grading system! Are you aspiring to join prestigious academic institutions in the US, but unable to go with the admission process? Let our experts at Leverage Edu facilitate your educational journey. Book your 30 minutes of e-counselling with the team and choose the best-matched career & higher education options, with one-touch access to personalised mentors and leading global universities. 

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *