Colombia Grading System

High School Grade Scale

The grading system in Colombia’s high schools is typically based on a scale ranging from 0.0 to 10.0, with 10.0 being the highest possible score and 0.0 the lowest. The scale is often divided into qualitative terms (such as Excellent, Good, etc.), comparable English terms, equivalent percentage ranges, and GPA (Grade Point Average) on a 4.0 scale. Some schools use variations like ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to further differentiate performance within these categories.

Colombia GradesTermsComparable English TermsEquivalent Percentage RangeEquivalent GPA
9.0 – 10.0SobresalienteExcellent90-100%4.0
8.0 – 8.9Muy BuenoVery Good80-89%3.0 – 3.9
7.0 – 7.9BuenoGood70-79%2.0 – 2.9
6.0 – 6.9AceptableSatisfactory60-69%1.0 – 1.9
0.0 – 5.9DeficienteFail0-59%0.0

Note: The ‘+’ and ‘-‘ variations are not universally applied across all schools, but where they are used, they slightly adjust the equivalent percentage range and GPA within the given grade category.

College Grade Scale

At the college or university level, the grading scale becomes more nuanced, with some institutions adopting a different scale or incorporating a more detailed use of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ variations to indicate minor differences in performance. Below is a general overview of the grading scale used at this level:

Colombia GradesTermsComparable English TermsEquivalent Percentage RangeEquivalent GPA
9.0 – 10.0ExcelenteExcellent90-100%4.0
8.0 – 8.9Muy BuenoVery Good80-89%3.3 – 3.9
7.0 – 7.9BuenoGood70-79%2.7 – 3.2
5.0 – 6.9AprobadoPass50-69%1.0 – 2.6
0.0 – 4.9ReprobadoFail0-49%0.0

It’s essential to note that these tables provide a general overview and the actual grading scales can vary between different educational institutions. Some universities may use a more detailed scale or apply different criteria for converting numerical grades into GPA.

Understanding Grades in Colombia

The grading system in Colombia, from high school to university level, encompasses more than just numbers. Each grade reflects a range of achievements and is associated with specific qualitative terms that provide insights into a student’s performance. Let’s dive into the meaning behind these grades, using emojis for a bit of fun! 🌟

Excellent (9.0 – 10.0) 🏆

  • Terms: Sobresaliente (High School), Excelente (College)
  • Meaning: This grade signifies outstanding performance, indicating that the student has exceeded expectations in all aspects of their coursework. It reflects a deep understanding of the material, the ability to apply knowledge creatively, and often, the completion of extra work or projects. Students achieving these grades are often seen as mastering the subject matter.

Very Good (8.0 – 8.9) 👍

  • Terms: Muy Bueno
  • Meaning: A “Very Good” grade is an indication of strong performance. Students with these grades have shown a high level of understanding and competence in the subject. They have successfully met most, if not all, of the course objectives and have demonstrated an ability to think critically and apply their knowledge effectively.

Good (7.0 – 7.9) 🙂

  • Terms: Bueno
  • Meaning: This grade range is considered “Good” and suggests that the student has a satisfactory grasp of the course material. They have met the primary objectives of the coursework, though there may be room for improvement in understanding some concepts or in the application of knowledge.

Satisfactory (6.0 – 6.9) ✔️

  • Terms: Aceptable
  • Meaning: A “Satisfactory” grade indicates that the student has an adequate understanding of the basics of the course material but may lack a deeper comprehension of some areas. This grade suggests that while the student has passed, they should focus on strengthening their understanding of the subject matter.

Fail (0.0 – 5.9) 🚫

  • Terms: Deficiente (High School), Reprobado (College)
  • Meaning: Unfortunately, this grade range means that the student has not met the minimum requirements to pass the course. It indicates significant difficulties in understanding or applying the course material. Students receiving these grades may need to retake the course or seek additional support to improve their understanding and performance.

Understanding these grades and what they represent can help students, parents, and educators identify areas of strength and those requiring improvement. It’s not just about aiming for excellence but also recognizing the value of progress and effort at every level of achievement.

Colombia Grade Comparison

To provide a broader context on how Colombia’s grading system aligns with those of other countries, let’s explore a comparative table. This comparison will include the grading systems of the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada, and China, offering insights into how grades translate across these diverse educational landscapes. It’s important to note that grading systems can vary significantly between countries, and this table serves as a general guide rather than a precise conversion.

High School and University Grades Comparison

Colombia GradeUS GradeUK GradeIndia GradeAustralia GradeCanada GradeChina Grade
9.0 – 10.0AFirst-class60-100%High DistinctionAA (90-100%)
8.0 – 8.9A-/B+Upper Second55-59%DistinctionA-/B+A- (85-89%)
7.0 – 7.9BLower Second50-54%CreditBB+ (80-84%)
6.0 – 6.9CThird class45-49%PassCB (75-79%)
0.0 – 5.9FFailBelow 45%FailFC/F (Below 75%)

Key Observations:

  • Excellence Across Borders: A grade of 9.0 – 10.0 in Colombia is comparable to achieving the highest distinctions in other countries, such as an ‘A’ in the US and Canada, a ‘First-class’ in the UK, and a ‘High Distinction’ in Australia.
  • Passing Thresholds: The minimum passing grade varies, with Colombia’s threshold at around 6.0, similar to a ‘C’ in the US and Canada. However, it’s important to note the significant difference in percentage required for passing in India, highlighting how context matters in educational achievements.
  • Failing Grades: A failing grade in Colombia aligns with failing grades in other countries, emphasizing the universal challenge of meeting educational standards and the need for additional support or effort in certain areas.

This comparison illustrates the diversity in educational evaluation systems worldwide and underscores the importance of understanding these differences, especially for students pursuing international education or professionals evaluating foreign credentials.

Special Grading Considerations

The grading system in Colombia, like in many countries, can vary significantly across different states and types of schools. These variations reflect regional educational policies, institutional preferences, and specific academic disciplines. Understanding these differences is crucial for a comprehensive grasp of how grades are awarded and what they signify.

Variations Across States and School Types

  • Regional Differences: Some regions in Colombia may adopt slight modifications to the national grading scale to address local educational priorities or cultural factors. These modifications might involve adjustments in the grading criteria or the introduction of additional grade categories.
  • Type of School: Public schools, private schools, and vocational institutions in Colombia might have different grading practices. For example, private schools may use a more rigorous grading scale, or vocational institutions might emphasize practical skills assessment over theoretical knowledge.

Grading Practices and Teacher Discretion

  • Teacher Discretion: Individual teachers in Colombia have some latitude in determining grades. This discretion allows them to consider factors such as student effort, participation, and improvement over time. However, this flexibility can also lead to variations in grading standards, even within the same school.
  • Subject-Specific Grading: Certain subjects may have unique grading criteria. For instance, arts and physical education might prioritize practical performance and creativity, while mathematics and science focus more on accuracy and problem-solving skills.

Handling of Failing Grades

  • Remedial Actions: Schools in Colombia often have policies in place to support students who receive failing grades. These may include remedial classes, tutoring sessions, or the opportunity to retake exams. The aim is to ensure that students have every chance to succeed and meet the required academic standards.
  • Repeat Policy: In some cases, students who consistently receive failing grades may need to repeat the year. This policy is seen as a last resort and comes with additional support to address the underlying issues that led to the student’s academic difficulties.

Understanding these special grading considerations highlights the complexity of the educational landscape in Colombia. It underscores the importance of looking beyond mere numbers to grasp the full context of a student’s academic performance. Teachers, students, and parents alike must navigate these nuances to foster an environment that promotes learning and achievement for all.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the grading system in Colombia, providing quick insights for students, parents, and educators. These answers aim to clarify common queries and shed light on important aspects of the grading practices in Colombian educational institutions.

Q: What is the passing grade in Colombian schools?
A: The minimum passing grade in most Colombian schools is typically around 6.0 for high schools and 3.0 for universities on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0. However, this can vary slightly depending on the institution.

Q: Can students retake exams if they fail?
A: Yes, many schools and universities in Colombia offer students the opportunity to retake exams or complete additional assignments to improve their grades. The specific policies for retakes vary by institution.

Q: How is GPA calculated in Colombian universities?
A: GPA in Colombian universities is usually calculated by converting the numerical grades (0.0 to 10.0) into a 4.0 scale, similar to the system used in the United States. Each course’s grade is weighted by its credit hours to compute the overall GPA.

Q: Are there significant differences between public and private school grading systems in Colombia?
A: While the overall structure of the grading system is consistent across public and private schools, private institutions may apply stricter grading standards or have additional criteria for assessing student performance.

Q: How do Colombian grades translate to other countries’ grading systems?
A: Colombian grades can be converted to other countries’ grading systems using equivalence tables. However, the conversion is approximate and can vary depending on the specific criteria of the receiving country’s educational system.

Q: What happens if a student consistently receives low grades?
A: Students who consistently receive low grades may be required to participate in remedial education programs, receive counseling, or, in some cases, repeat the year. Schools aim to provide support to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed.

Q: Is there grade inflation in Colombian schools?
A: Like in many countries, grade inflation can be a concern in some Colombian institutions, where grades may gradually increase over time without a corresponding improvement in student learning or achievement. Educational authorities and institutions work to monitor and address this issue.

These FAQs offer a glimpse into the grading system in Colombia, providing valuable information for navigating academic evaluations and standards within the country.

Additional Resources

For those looking to delve deeper into the intricacies of the grading system in Colombia, here are some official and helpful websites. These resources provide authoritative information and further details on educational standards, grading practices, and academic policies within Colombia. They are particularly valuable for students, educators, and researchers seeking comprehensive insights.

  • Ministerio de Educación Nacional (Colombian Ministry of National Education): The official website offers extensive information on the educational system, including grading scales, academic standards, and policies. It’s a crucial resource for understanding the regulatory framework governing education in Colombia. Visit Website
  • Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluación de la Educación (ICFES): ICFES provides detailed insights into assessment and evaluation practices within the Colombian education system. Their resources are invaluable for understanding how student performance is measured and reported at various levels. Visit Website
  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia: As one of the leading universities in the country, its website offers insight into higher education grading practices, including GPA calculation and academic regulations. Visit Website
  • Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN): This association’s website contains links to resources and publications on higher education in Colombia, including grading scales used by different universities. Visit Website
  • British Council Colombia: For students planning to study abroad or in need of converting their grades to other systems, the British Council offers guidance on educational equivalences between Colombia and the UK. Visit Website

These websites are starting points for anyone seeking to understand or navigate the Colombian educational landscape. Whether you’re a student aiming for academic success, an educator looking to align with national standards, or a researcher interested in educational practices, these resources provide valuable information and support.