General Question

mclaugh's avatar

Can someone explain to me how grades work in the States?

Asked by mclaugh (1256points) November 30th, 2009

I’m Canadian and our grading systems(mostly for high schools and colleges) seem totally different from the ones the States have, from what I see in movies(all that talk about GPAs gets me confused!)...We use percentages, and there are no SATs. Can someone please explain?

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18 Answers

Allie's avatar

As far as actual grades,
90% and above = A = 4
80–89% = B = 3
70–79% = C = 2
60–69% = D = 1
59% and below = F = 0

For each class you get a grade. That grade corresponds to a 0–4 number. They average those numbers and you get your GPA. So say you have 5 classes. You get 2 Cs, 1 B, and 2 As. 4 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 2 = 15. 15/5classes = 3. Your GPA is 3.0.

dpworkin's avatar

SAT is a standard exam for placement. It is not a grading system. Many schools grade ABCD with an A counting as 4 points, a B as 3, etc. GPA is merely the points you have recieved divided by the classes taken. If you got all As, your gpa will be 4.0.

mclaugh's avatar

ooh ok! so it isn’t very different after all! i was just reading this other flutherite’s question about her or his getting into a good college and made me start wondering! thanks all!

absalom's avatar


This is fairly general in college but in my high school it was a rule that…
94–100% = A
84–93% = B
74–83% = C
64–73% = D
> 64% = F

And the GPA explanation is there in @pdworkin‘s response.

Allie's avatar

@absalom Oh, I didn’t even see the college part. I was talking about high schools. My HS was pretty straight forward when it came to grades.

SeventhSense's avatar

Oh yes definitely. People with straight A’s use it to shame others who in turn shame them for being dorks and too smart. That’s how it works. Understanding concepts is really not important either way. ~_~

faye's avatar

@absalom >64% was a fail??!!

absalom's avatar


Well, anything lower than that. So a 63.4% equals failure in my high school. (Sorry if my misuse of the greater than sign threw you off. I’m an idiot.)

SeventhSense's avatar

In my school 65 was passing and in another school it was 68.

faye's avatar

@absalom I tried it 3–4 different times and finally figured you must know!!! But that’s a tough high school!! where is it? Colleges and uni’s in Alberta use GPA’s. MY college used stanines-anyone know what that is??

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@absalom: I think your school is more the exception than the rule. As far as I’m aware, most high schools follow the general breakdown that @Allie spelled out. I’ve encountered many different high schools from across the country, public and private, and I’ve never seen a distribution like the one your high school used. That seems rather confusing to me.

absalom's avatar

This is a public school in Northeast Ohio. I don’t know what Stanines is.
Yes, I know. It was a rule in my high school I meant. I hated comparing with other high schools, even those nearby, because they all used @Allie‘s breakdown, and I knew that my 93% B would have been an A anywhere else.

dalepetrie's avatar

I had classes where anything under 76 was failing in high school, I had classes where the teacher would grade on a bell curve so it varied, I had classes where it was every 10 points like in college, basically what I learned is that it’s fairly standard to do the 90–100 for an A, 80–89 for a B and so on in college. Some teachers give +‘s and -‘s as well, often it depended on the teacher. The whole point though is theoretically an A is exceptional, B is above average, C is average, D is below average and F is failing. But then until you get to a certain grade level they use a whole different system, like S for Satisfactory, I for needs improvement, U for unsatisfactory. I had a cousin who’s school used E’s instead of A’s for exceptional. Theoretically though it’s supposed to approximate a bell curve.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

My high school never used letter grades. Only numbers.

SeventhSense's avatar

60 was passing?

gemiwing's avatar

@absalom my high school used the same grading system as yours. And yeah it used to bug the crap out of me too when other students would compare their grades to mine because we had a much smaller window for A’s.

mclaugh's avatar

wow.. 65 and 75s for passing grade! thats crazy! here, it’s 50 in high school and 60 in most college classes(74 or 75 for others) here an A is anywhere from 80 to 100, B is from 70 to 79, C is 60 to 69 and D is 50 to 59… i think it would be better and would motivate some people more if the passing grades were higher. When the passing grade is 50, some people just cruise by and still fail.

SeventhSense's avatar

Well there’s another reason why property values are higher in certain areas. There are some school districts which are just not up to par.

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