Students typically receive a grade of A in an academic course by demonstrating a very high level of achievement. Typically, A is the highest possible passing grade, though schools may use plus and minus symbols along with traditional letter grades.
To illustrate what letter grades may represent using Cornell University as an example, an A grade indicates that a student produced excellent work in a course. Students who earn an A must show a thorough understanding of the subject matter. An A grade may also be the result of a student offering strong evidence of perception or originality with respect to the course material.
Schools may use a numerical scale to convert percentages to letter grades. For example, at SUNY Cobleskill, a numerical average in a course of 89.5 to 92.0 equates to an A minus, while an average of at least 92.1 percent corresponds to a natural A.