China Grading System

High School Grade Scale

The grading system for high school in China is often based on a percentage scale ranging from 0 to 100 or a letter grade scale, with variations including the use of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to denote slight differences in performance. Here’s a simplified table to illustrate the main grade scales used, their comparable English terms, equivalent percentage ranges, and GPA (Grade Point Average) values where applicable.

China GradeComparable English TermPercentage RangeGPA (out of 4.0)
AVery Good85-89%3.7
B+Above Average75-79%3.0
B-Below Average65-69%2.3

College Grade Scale

In colleges and universities, the grading system can be more varied, with some institutions adopting a letter grade system similar to the high school scale but with different thresholds. Plus and minus distinctions are also commonly used to provide a more nuanced evaluation.

China GradeComparable English TermPercentage RangeGPA (out of 4.0)
A-Very Good85-89%3.7
BAbove Average75-79%3.0
C+Below Average65-69%2.3

Note: Some schools and universities may use a slightly different scale or additional categories (like A+, C-, etc.), and the conversion to GPA can vary between institutions. The use of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ allows for a more precise evaluation within the broader grade categories.

This breakdown provides a general understanding of how grades are structured in China’s high school and college education systems. The specific percentages and GPA values can vary by institution, so it’s always a good idea to check with the specific school or university for their grading policies.

Understanding Grades in China

Grades in China serve not just as a measure of academic achievement but also as an indicator of a student’s effort, understanding, and mastery of the subject matter. Each grade, from excellent to fail, carries with it a set of expectations and implications for students’ academic paths and future opportunities. Let’s explore what each grade level signifies. 📚✨

A+ (Excellent) 🌟

An A+ signifies exceptional performance, indicating that a student has not only mastered the subject material but also demonstrated the ability to apply knowledge in novel situations. This grade is reserved for outstanding achievements and often reflects a deep understanding and high-level critical thinking skills.

A (Very Good) 🏅

Achieving an A grade means the student has a strong grasp of the course material and has performed very well in assessments. It suggests that the student has consistently delivered quality work and shown a high level of competence in the subject.

A- (Good) 👍

An A- is indicative of good performance, with the student showing a solid understanding of the material. It suggests that while there might be minor areas for improvement, the overall grasp of the subject is commendable.

B+ (Above Average) 📈

A B+ grade points to above-average understanding and performance. Students with this grade are doing well but may need to address specific areas to reach a higher level of excellence.

B (Average) 🆗

The B grade denotes an average performance. It indicates that the student meets the basic requirements of the course but may lack the deeper comprehension or skill that could elevate their work to a higher standard.

B- (Below Average) ⚠️

A B- suggests a student is slightly below average in their understanding or performance. This grade may signal the need for additional support or effort to meet the course’s expectations fully.

C+ (Pass) ✔️

A C+ grade indicates a basic level of passing performance, where the student has shown enough understanding to move forward but with considerable room for improvement.

C (Fair) ➖

Achieving a C grade means the student has met the minimum criteria to pass. It reflects a fair understanding of the course material but also indicates significant gaps in knowledge or skill.

D (Poor) 📉

A D grade is a sign of poor performance, suggesting minimal achievement and a lack of understanding of the core material. It often necessitates remedial work or extra help to reach a satisfactory level.

F (Fail) ❌

An F grade signifies failure to meet the basic requirements of the course. This outcome typically requires the student to retake the course or seek alternative methods to demonstrate competence in the subject matter.

Understanding these grades in the context of China’s education system is crucial for students, parents, and educators alike. It provides a roadmap for academic expectations and helps identify areas of strength and those needing improvement. Grades are not just letters or numbers; they are reflections of a student’s journey through learning and growth.

China Grade Comparison

This section offers a comparative view of the grading systems across different countries, aligning China’s grading scale with those of the US, UK, India, Australia, and Canada. This comparison aims to provide a perspective on how grades translate across these educational landscapes, offering students, educators, and academic professionals a frame of reference for understanding academic performance standards internationally.

High School Grade Comparison

China GradeUS GradeUK Grade (GCSE)India GradeAustralia GradeCanada Grade
A+A+9 (A*)91-100%A+A+
AA8 (A)81-90%AA
A-A-7 (A)71-80%A-A-
B+B+6 (B)61-70%B+B+
BB5 (C)51-60%BB
B-B-4 (C)41-50%B-B-
C+C+3 (D)33-40%C+C+
CC2 (E)21-32%CC
DD1 (F)0-20%DD
FFU (Ungraded)FailFF

College / University Grade Comparison

The college/university level grading comparisons are slightly more nuanced due to the diverse academic evaluation systems in place across higher education institutions globally. However, the following table provides a general alignment:

China GradeUS GradeUK Grade (Degree)India GradeAustralia GradeCanada Grade
AAFirst-Class Honours60-100%High DistinctionA
A-A-Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1)55-59%DistinctionA-
B+B+Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2)50-54%CreditB+
BBThird-Class Honours45-49%PassB
CCPass40-44%Pass (Conceded)C
DDMarginal Fail35-39%FailD

Please note, the exact alignment can vary significantly between institutions within each country, and this table should be seen as a general guide rather than a strict conversion chart. Academic grading can be influenced by various factors, including course difficulty, assessment types, and grading policies, making direct comparisons challenging. Always consult with the specific educational institution or a qualified academic advisor for precise grade translations or equivalences.

Special Grading Considerations

In China, as in many countries, the grading system can vary significantly across different states, regions, and types of schools. This variation is often influenced by local educational policies, the school’s academic focus, and the level of competition among students. Understanding these differences is crucial for students, parents, and educators alike, as it provides context for evaluating academic performance and planning for future educational pathways.

Variations Across States and School Types

  • Regional Differences: Certain provinces or cities in China may adopt slightly different grading scales or evaluation criteria to better align with local educational objectives or university entrance examination requirements.
  • International Schools: These institutions often follow foreign curricula (such as the IB, A-Level, or AP), employing grading systems that differ from the standard Chinese model. This can include different grade descriptors, percentage ranges, and GPA calculations.
  • Specialized Schools: Schools with a focus on specific disciplines (e.g., science and technology, arts, sports) might adjust grading scales to emphasize their particular area of specialization, potentially offering additional credit or weighting to performance in relevant subjects.

Grading Practices and Teacher Discretion

  • Teacher Discretion: Within the broader framework of China’s grading system, teachers may have discretion over the weighting of different assessment components (e.g., homework, class participation, exams). This can lead to variations in how grades are calculated and assigned.
  • Assessment Methods: The type of assessments used (e.g., written exams, oral presentations, practical projects) can also influence grading. Schools emphasizing project-based learning or creative work might use criteria that differ from those in more traditionally academically focused schools.

Handling of Failing Grades

  • Remedial Education: Students receiving failing grades in China are often required to attend remedial classes or retake exams. The approach to addressing failing grades can vary, with some schools offering summer sessions or extra tutoring to help students meet the required standards.
  • Academic Probation: In some cases, particularly at the university level, students who fail multiple subjects may be placed on academic probation. This status serves as a warning and provides students with a timeframe to improve their grades before facing potential dismissal.
  • Repetition of the Year: In more severe cases, or after repeated failures, students may be required to repeat the entire academic year. This measure is generally seen as a last resort and is intended to ensure that students have fully grasitated the necessary knowledge and skills before advancing.

The handling of failing grades and the specific measures employed can significantly impact a student’s academic journey and emotional well-being. Schools and educators in China are increasingly recognizing the importance of providing supportive measures to help students overcome academic challenges, including counseling services and personalized learning plans.

Understanding these special grading considerations highlights the complexity and adaptability of China’s educational system. It underscores the importance of context in evaluating grades and recognizes the efforts made to accommodate diverse learning needs and goals.


Q: What is the most common grading scale used in Chinese high schools?
A: The most common grading scale in Chinese high schools is a percentage scale ranging from 0 to 100, with corresponding letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) and GPA values. Some schools may also use a 5-point scale or other variations.

Q: How is GPA calculated in Chinese universities?
A: GPA in Chinese universities is typically calculated on a 4-point scale, with each grade (A, B, C, D, F) assigned a specific point value (4 for A, 3 for B, etc.). The GPA is the average of these points, weighted by the credit hours of each course.

Q: Can international students have their grades converted to the Chinese grading system?
A: Yes, international students can have their grades converted to the Chinese grading system, though the specific conversion method may vary by institution. It’s important to consult with the admissions office or international student services at the specific Chinese university for their conversion criteria.

Q: Are plus and minus grades used in the Chinese grading system?
A: Yes, some schools and universities in China use plus and minus grades (e.g., A+, B-) to provide a more nuanced assessment of student performance. However, their use and impact on GPA calculation can vary by institution.

Q: What happens if a student fails a class in China?
A: If a student fails a class in China, they may need to attend remedial classes, retake the exam, or in some cases, repeat the course or the entire academic year. Schools and universities often have specific policies for dealing with failing grades, including academic probation and support services.

Q: Is there grade inflation in Chinese schools and universities?
A: As in many countries, grade inflation can be a concern within certain Chinese educational institutions, with some critics arguing that grades have become less indicative of actual student performance over time. However, the prevalence and impact of grade inflation vary widely among schools and universities.

Q: How do Chinese universities evaluate international transcripts and grades?
A: Chinese universities evaluate international transcripts and grades through a process of conversion to the Chinese grading system, taking into account the grading scales and academic standards of the originating country. This process aims to fairly assess the academic qualifications of international applicants.

These FAQs provide a glimpse into the complexities and nuances of the Chinese grading system, offering valuable insights for students, parents, and educators navigating this educational landscape.

Additional Resources

For those looking to delve deeper into the intricacies of the grading system in China or seeking official information and guidance, the following resources can be invaluable. These websites are primarily educational or government platforms that provide authoritative data, policy details, and support for students, educators, and academic institutions.

  1. Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MOE)
    What it offers: Official policies, educational standards, and announcements regarding China’s educational system. A crucial resource for understanding regulatory frameworks and educational reforms.
  2. China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Information (CDGDC)
    What it offers: Verification services for academic degrees and graduate education, including information on grading standards and equivalency for international degrees.
  3. Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE)
    What it offers: Services for academic credential evaluation, facilitating the exchange and recognition of educational qualifications between China and other countries. This includes grade conversion information for students studying abroad or returning to China.
  4. China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC)
    What it offers: Official student academic records and information services, including transcript services and verification, which are essential for understanding grading outcomes and academic progress.
  5. Educational Testing Service (ETS) China
    What it offers: Information on standardized tests (such as TOEFL and GRE) used for admission to higher education institutions worldwide, including those in China. This site provides insights into how test scores are interpreted in relation to academic performance and grades.

These websites serve as a starting point for anyone looking to navigate the educational landscape in China, offering a wealth of information on grading systems, academic policies, and international equivalencies. Whether you’re a student, parent, educator, or academic professional, tapping into these resources can provide clarity and support for academic endeavors in China and beyond.