El Salvador Grading System

High School Grade Scale

In El Salvador, the grading system for high secondary education (Educaciรณn Media) typically ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest achievable grade and 1 the lowest. This system is used to assess students’ performance in academic subjects. The table below provides an overview of the high school grading scale, comparing El Salvador grades with English terms, equivalent percentage ranges, and GPA (Grade Point Average) where applicable. Note that some schools might use variations like ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to further distinguish performance within a grade level, although this is less common.

El Salvador GradeEnglish TermPercentage RangeGPA Equivalent
9.0 – 10Excellent90% – 100%4.0
8.0 – 8.9Very Good80%89%3.0 – 3.9
7.0 – 7.9Good70%79%2.0 – 2.9
6.0 – 6.9Satisfactory60%69%1.0 – 1.9
0 – 5.9Fail0% – 59%0.0

College Grade Scale

At the college or university level in El Salvador, the grading scale is similar to the one used in high schools, with grades typically ranging from 1 to 10. However, higher education institutions might have slightly different criteria for grade distribution and what constitutes passing or failing grades. The following table outlines a common grading scale at the college level, along with comparable English terms, percentage ranges, and GPA equivalents. Variations in grading, such as the use of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to indicate high or low ends of a grade range, are more prevalent at this level.

El Salvador GradeEnglish TermPercentage RangeGPA Equivalent
9.0 – 10Excellent90% – 100%4.0
8.0 – 8.9Very Good80% – 89%3.0 – 3.9
7.0 – 7.9Good70% – 79%2.0 – 2.9
6.0 – 6.9Satisfactory60% – 69%1.0 – 1.9
0 – 5.9Fail0% – 59%0.0

In some cases, universities may use a more detailed scale or a different evaluation system altogether, especially for graduate programs. It’s also worth noting that certain faculties or programs might adopt their own grading criteria, which can lead to variations in how grades are assigned and interpreted.

This detailed look at the grading scales for high schools and colleges in El Salvador highlights the system’s structure and provides insight into academic evaluation within the country. Understanding these scales is crucial for students, educators, and international observers looking to gauge academic performance in the Salvadoran education system.

Understanding Grades in El Salvador

Delving deeper into the meaning behind each grade level in El Salvador can offer insightful perspectives on students’ academic performance and achievements. Here, we’ll explore what each grade signifies, from “excellent” to “fail,” across both high school and college levels.

๐ŸŒŸ Excellent (9.0 – 10)

Receiving a grade in the range of 9.0 to 10 signifies exceptional performance and understanding of the subject matter. It indicates that the student has not only mastered the course content but also demonstrates the ability to apply knowledge creatively and effectively. An “excellent” grade reflects a high level of commitment, diligence, and intellectual capability.

๐Ÿ“š Very Good (8.0 – 8.9)

Grades between 8.0 and 8.9 are categorized as “very good.” This range shows that the student has a strong grasp of the material and has shown above-average performance in assignments, exams, and class participation. While there may be minor areas for improvement, students in this grade range are well-prepared and knowledgeable.

๐Ÿ‘ Good (7.0 – 7.9)

A “good” rating, denoted by grades from 7.0 to 7.9, indicates a solid understanding and proficiency in the subject area. Students with these grades have demonstrated competence and a reasonable level of skill in applying their knowledge, although there might be some inconsistencies or gaps.

โœ” Satisfactory (6.0 – 6.9)

The “satisfactory” category, with grades ranging from 6.0 to 6.9, suggests that the student meets the basic requirements and has a fundamental understanding of the course content. While performance may not be outstanding, it is adequate for passing. Students in this range might need to enhance their study habits or seek additional help to improve.

โŒ Fail (0 – 5.9)

Grades below 6.0 are considered failing in the Salvadoran education system. This indicates that the student has not met the minimum criteria for passing the course. A failing grade suggests significant difficulties with the subject matter and requires additional support, study, and effort to reach a satisfactory level of understanding.

Understanding these grades and what they represent can help students, parents, and educators set realistic expectations and goals for academic achievement. It also provides a framework for identifying areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, fostering a more targeted approach to learning and development.

El Salvador Grade Comparison

In the global academic landscape, understanding how grades compare across different countries can be crucial for students pursuing international education or for institutions evaluating foreign transcripts. Below is a table that offers a comparative look at how the El Salvador grading system aligns with those of the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), India, Australia, Canada, and China. This comparison aims to provide a broad perspective on academic grading, facilitating easier interpretation of grades across different educational systems.

El Salvador GradeUS GradeUK GradeIndia GradeAustralia GradeCanada GradeChina Grade
9.0 – 10AFirst-Class Honors60% – 100%High DistinctionA85% – 100%
8.0 – 8.9A- / B+Upper Second Class55% – 59%DistinctionA- / B+75%84%
7.0 – 7.9BLower Second Class50% – 54%CreditB65%74%
6.0 – 6.9CThird Class45% – 49%PassC60% – 64%
0 – 5.9FFailBelow 45%FailFBelow 60%

Notes on the Comparison:

  • United States (US): The GPA system is commonly used, with A through F representing various levels of achievement. The Salvadoran grades of 9.0 – 10 roughly align with an A grade in the US system, denoting excellent performance.
  • United Kingdom (UK): The UK system categorizes honors degrees into classes. A Salvadoran grade of 9.0 – 10 is akin to First-Class Honors, indicating outstanding achievement.
  • India: India often uses a percentage system for grading. The comparison here aligns Salvadoran grades with the corresponding percentage ranges commonly observed in Indian education.
  • Australia: Similar to the UK, Australia employs distinctions and levels of passes to categorize academic performance. A high distinction in Australia correlates with a Salvadoran grade of 9.0 – 10.
  • Canada: The grading system in Canada closely resembles that of the US, with slight variations in the percentage ranges for each letter grade.
  • China: The Chinese grading system is percentage-based, with specific ranges corresponding to excellent, good, and pass levels.

This comparison table serves as a guide to help students, educators, and academic institutions understand how grades translate across different international educational contexts. It highlights the diversity of grading scales and the importance of contextualizing academic performance within each system’s unique framework.

Special Grading Considerations in El Salvador

The grading system in El Salvador, while standardized at a national level, can exhibit variations across different states and school types. These variations can be influenced by local educational policies, the type of institution (public vs. private), and specific program requirements. Understanding these nuances is essential for accurately interpreting grades and assessing student performance.

Variations Across States and School Types

  • Public vs. Private Institutions: Private schools in El Salvador may adopt more rigorous grading standards or additional criteria for assessing student performance. Public schools, while adhering to the national grading scale, might have different benchmarks for grade distribution.
  • Vocational vs. Academic Tracks: Vocational and technical schools could utilize specialized grading criteria that reflect practical skill competencies alongside traditional academic achievements. This approach ensures that grades accurately represent both theoretical knowledge and practical abilities.

Grading Practices and Teacher Discretion

  • Teacher Discretion: Teachers in El Salvador have a degree of flexibility in determining grades, especially when considering class participation, effort, and improvement over time. This subjective component means that two teachers might assess the same student differently based on these qualitative factors.
  • Project-Based and Group Work: In courses that heavily feature project-based learning or group work, grading can also consider teamwork, leadership, and collaboration skills. This holistic approach aims to prepare students for real-world challenges beyond academic knowledge.

Handling Failing Grades

  • Remedial Support: Students receiving failing grades are often provided with remedial classes or extra support to help them catch up. This may include tutoring, additional assignments, or the opportunity to retake exams.
  • Reassessment Opportunities: Some schools offer the chance to be reassessed through supplementary exams or assignments, allowing students to demonstrate improvement and achieve a passing grade.

Special Considerations for Graduation

  • Final Project or Thesis: For students in their final year of high school or at the university level, a significant portion of their final grade may come from a capstone project, thesis, or comprehensive exam. The grading of these components may follow specific criteria aligned with the program’s academic objectives.

Understanding the special grading considerations in El Salvador provides a more comprehensive picture of how educational achievements are evaluated. It highlights the importance of considering contextual factors when interpreting grades and underscores the education system’s commitment to accommodating diverse learning needs and styles.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the El Salvador grading system and scale, providing quick and helpful insights into common curiosities and concerns.

What is the passing grade in El Salvadoran schools?

  • The minimum passing grade in most Salvadoran schools is 6.0. Achieving a grade below 6.0 is considered failing, and students may need to retake the course or receive additional support to progress.

Can grades vary significantly between public and private schools?

  • Yes, grading standards can vary between public and private institutions. Private schools might implement stricter grading policies or additional academic requirements, potentially leading to variations in grade distribution.

How do colleges in El Salvador handle grading?

  • Colleges and universities in El Salvador generally follow the same 1 to 10 grading scale but may have specific criteria for grade distribution, particularly for courses that are more subjective or require a higher level of critical thinking and analysis.

Are there opportunities to improve failing grades?

  • Many schools offer remedial classes, supplementary assignments, or the option to retake exams to help students improve failing grades. Policies on grade improvement opportunities vary by institution.

How is academic performance evaluated for graduation?

  • For graduation, academic performance is typically evaluated based on cumulative grades throughout the student’s course of study. Final year projects or theses can also significantly impact graduation eligibility, especially at the university level.

Does El Salvador use GPA?

  • While the primary grading scale is numerical (1 to 10), some institutions may convert these grades into a Grade Point Average (GPA) for international purposes or for comparing academic performance more broadly.

How do extracurricular activities influence grades?

  • Extracurricular activities may not directly influence academic grades but can be considered in holistic assessments, scholarships, or admission to higher education institutions, emphasizing a well-rounded student profile.

These FAQs aim to shed light on the El Salvador grading system, offering clarity and guidance for students, parents, and educators navigating the educational landscape.

Additional Resources

For those seeking more detailed information about the grading system in El Salvador or looking to explore educational opportunities and policies, here are some valuable resources:

  • Ministry of Education of El Salvador (MINED): The official government website provides comprehensive details on educational standards, grading policies, and curriculum guidelines. It’s a crucial resource for understanding the regulatory framework and educational initiatives in the country. Visit MINED website
  • National University of El Salvador (UES): As the largest and oldest university in El Salvador, UES offers insights into higher education grading practices, program requirements, and academic research. Their website is a gateway to exploring courses, admission criteria, and academic calendars. Visit UES website
  • Salvadoran Higher Education Accreditation Commission (CSA): The CSA is responsible for accrediting higher education institutions in El Salvador, ensuring quality and compliance with national educational standards. Their website includes lists of accredited programs, institutions, and detailed reports on higher education quality. Visit CSA website
  • Educational Cultural Center of El Salvador (CCESV): Focused on promoting cultural and educational exchanges, the CCESV provides resources for language learning, scholarships, and international education programs. It’s a great starting point for students looking to study abroad or engage in cultural exchange programs. Visit CCESV website

These websites offer authoritative and up-to-date information on the Salvadoran education system, providing educators, students, and international scholars with valuable resources for academic planning, research, and policy analysis.