What Is the System for Grading K-12 Students in the U.S.?


Quick Answer

No uniform grading system exists for primary and secondary schools in the United States, although many primary schools use a letter grade system and many secondary schools use a grade point system. Typical letter grade systems run from "A" as the best grade to "F" as the worst grade.

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Full Answer

Most letter grade systems include plus and minus variations on the letters and skip the letter "E." Typically an "A" is awarded when a student receives 90 percent or more of the possible points, with other letter grades corresponding to declining 10 percent intervals.

Grade point systems typically operate on a 4.0 or 5.0 grade scale, where this number constitutes the highest possible grade. Many grade point systems still assign letter grades but convert them to the number scale. For example, a B becomes a 3.0 or 4.0. Generally minus and plus grades subtract or add 0.3 to a grade. Thus an A- is a 3.7 or 4.7 and a C+ is a 2.3 or 3.3.

In some school districts the lower primary school years, typically kindergarten through second grade, receive only pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades. Some grade systems of this type include an intermediate grade, such as "progressing."

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