India Grading System

The Indian education system utilizes various grading scales at different educational levels, primarily at the high secondary education and college/university level. These grading systems can vary slightly from one institution to another but generally follow a standard pattern that aligns with the educational standards across the country. Below, we’ll explore the main grade scales used in India, providing a comparative understanding of grades, equivalent English terms, percentage ranges, and GPA (Grade Point Average) where applicable. Additionally, variations such as ‘+’ and ‘-‘ within certain grades are noted, reflecting the nuances of academic evaluation in Indian institutions.

High School Grade Scale

India GradesComparable English TermsEquivalent Percentage RangeGPA (on a 10-point scale)
A+Excellent91-100%9.0 – 10.0
AVery Good81-90%8.0 – 8.9
B+Good71-80%7.0 – 7.9
BAbove Average61-70%6.0 – 6.9
C+Average51-60%5.0 – 5.9
CSatisfactory41-50%4.0 – 4.9
ENeeds Improvement21-32%

Variations like ‘+’ and ‘-‘ are commonly used within certain schools to more finely distinguish the performance of students. For example, an ‘A-‘ might be used for percentages at the lower end of the A grade’s range, indicating a very good performance that does not quite reach the ‘excellent’ category.

College Grade Scale

India GradesComparable English TermsEquivalent Percentage RangeGPA (on a 10-point scale)
O (Outstanding)Outstanding91-100%10
AVery Good71-80%8
BAbove Average51-60%6
PPass40% Minimum4
FFailBelow 40%

In college or university settings, the grading scale can extend to include ‘O’ for outstanding achievements, reflecting a top-tier performance that exceeds traditional excellence. The inclusion of ‘Ab’ for absentees highlights how non-participation or non-submission in assessments is treated separately from failing grades.

This overview presents a simplified view of the complex and nuanced grading systems in place across Indian educational institutions, designed to accommodate a wide range of academic performances.

Understanding Grades in India

Diving into the nuances of the grading system in India helps students and educators alike to understand the academic expectations and achievements represented by each grade. Let’s explore what each grade signifies, adding a touch of emojis for a friendly touch! ๐Ÿ˜Š

๐ŸŒŸ A+ (Excellent)

  • Symbolizes: Top-notch performance, exceptional understanding, and mastery of the subject matter.
  • Expectations: Students have gone above and beyond, demonstrating innovative thinking, comprehensive knowledge, and the ability to apply concepts in novel ways.

๐Ÿ“š A (Very Good)

  • Symbolizes: High level of understanding and proficiency in the subject area.
  • Expectations: Students have a strong grasp of the material, with minor areas for improvement. They show excellent ability to analyze and synthesize information.

๐Ÿ‘ B+ (Good)

  • Symbolizes: Above-average comprehension and capability.
  • Expectations: Students are effective in applying learned concepts but may lack the depth seen in higher grades. Thereโ€™s room for enhancement in critical thinking and application.

๐Ÿ… B (Above Average)

  • Symbolizes: Adequate understanding with some strengths.
  • Expectations: Students have a satisfactory grasp of the basics and some intermediate aspects of the course but need to develop more comprehensive insight and application skills.

๐Ÿ˜€ C+ (Average)

  • Symbolizes: Basic understanding with significant room for improvement.
  • Expectations: Students meet the minimum criteria but need to deepen their understanding and improve in several key areas to move beyond foundational knowledge.

๐Ÿ˜Œ C (Satisfactory)

  • Symbolizes: Meeting the minimum requirements.
  • Expectations: Students show just enough understanding to pass. The focus should be on identifying weak points and improving overall competence.

๐Ÿšฉ D (Passing)

  • Symbolizes: Marginal performance.
  • Expectations: Students are on the edge of passing, indicating a need for considerable improvement and possibly extra support to meet academic standards.

โ— E (Needs Improvement)

  • Symbolizes: Below acceptable standards but not failing.
  • Expectations: Significant gaps in knowledge and skills are evident. Students require substantial improvement and may need to revisit the material or seek additional help.

๐Ÿ›‘ F (Fail)

  • Symbolizes: Unsatisfactory performance leading to failure.
  • Expectations: Students have not met the basic criteria of the course. A comprehensive review and redo of the course material, along with potential retaking of the course, may be necessary.

Understanding these grades provides a clear roadmap for students regarding where they stand academically and what steps are needed for improvement or excellence. Each grade serves as a feedback mechanism, helping students and educators identify achievements and areas needing attention.

India Grade Comparison

To understand how the Indian grading system aligns with those of other countries, it’s helpful to compare it across various international education systems. This comparison not only aids students planning to study abroad but also provides a reference for educational institutions and employers worldwide to assess the academic credentials of Indian students. Below is a table that outlines the general equivalences among the grading systems of India, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Canada, and China.

Grade Comparison Table

India GradeUS GradeUK GradeAustralia GradeCanada GradeChina Grade
A+ (91-100%)A+First Class HonoursHD (High Distinction)A+A (90-100%)
A (81-90%)AUpper Second Class (2:1)D (Distinction)AA- (85-89%)
B+ (71-80%)B+Lower Second Class (2:2)C (Credit)BB (80-84%)
B (61-70%)BThird ClassP (Pass)B-B- (75-79%)
C+ (51-60%)C+PassP (Pass)CC (70-74%)
C (41-50%)CP (Pass)C-C- (65-69%)
D (33-40%)DF (Fail)DD (60-64%)
E (21-32%)FF (Fail)FF (<60%)
F (0-20%)FF (Fail)FF (<60%)

It’s important to note that this table provides a broad comparison and that specific equivalences can vary by institution, region, and the nature of the study program. Additionally, grading practices and definitions of academic excellence differ across cultures and education systems, making direct comparisons challenging.

For instance, the grading scale in the UK is divided into classes of honors, which doesn’t directly translate to the percentage or GPA-based grading systems used in India and the US. Similarly, Australia’s use of terms like “High Distinction” and “Distinction” reflect a level of achievement that is conceptually similar to the Indian grading system but differs in the percentage ranges associated with each grade.

Understanding these differences is crucial for accurate interpretation and evaluation of academic records, especially for students transferring between countries or pursuing international education and career opportunities.

Special Grading Considerations

The Indian grading system, while consistent at a national level, exhibits variations across different states and school types due to the diverse educational policies and practices within the country. These nuances are particularly evident when comparing grading practices among various boards of education, such as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), state boards, and international boards that operate within India. This section highlights some of the key variations and special considerations to keep in mind.

Variations Across States and School Types

  • State Boards vs. Central Boards: Each state in India has its own education board with specific grading criteria that might slightly differ from the central boards (CBSE and CISCE). While the central boards tend to have a standardized grading system across the country, state boards may adapt their scales to better suit regional educational priorities and language considerations.
  • International Boards: Schools that follow international curriculums, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE), use different grading scales. For example, the IB uses grades from 1 to 7, and CAIE uses a scale from A* to U, which can lead to variations in how grades are perceived and evaluated.

Grading Practices and Teacher Discretion

  • Teacher Discretion: In some cases, teachers may have discretion over the weightage of assignments, projects, and exams, which can affect the final grade. This means that two schools following the same board may still have slight differences in grading due to teacher or institutional policies on evaluation.
  • Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE): Some boards, like the CBSE, have adopted a CCE approach that assesses students through the year on various fronts including academics, extracurricular activities, and sports. This holistic approach can lead to a more nuanced grading system that reflects a wide range of student abilities and achievements.

Handling of Failing Grades

  • Supplementary Exams: Students who fail to meet the minimum passing grade in one or more subjects are often given an opportunity to appear for supplementary or compartment exams. These exams allow students to improve their grades without having to repeat the entire academic year.
  • Grade Improvement Plans: Schools may offer remedial classes or personalized coaching to help students understand their areas of weakness and improve their grades in subsequent exams.

Special Considerations for University Admissions

  • Normalization of Grades: For college or university admissions, especially in competitive exams, grades from different boards may be normalized to equate students from various educational backgrounds.
  • Subject-Specific Requirements: Certain programs may focus more on grades received in specific subjects relevant to the field of study, rather than the overall grade.

Understanding these special grading considerations is essential for students, parents, and educators to navigate the complexities of the Indian educational landscape. It underscores the importance of recognizing the context behind grades, especially when transferring between different education systems within India or pursuing opportunities that involve international education standards.


Q: What does a ‘+’ or ‘-‘ next to a grade mean?
A: The ‘+’ or ‘-‘ symbols next to a grade signify slight variations within a grade category. A ‘+’ indicates the higher end of the grade range, showing better performance, while a ‘-‘ denotes the lower end of the grade range, suggesting slightly lower performance. These modifiers provide a more nuanced understanding of a student’s achievement within the broad grading categories.

Q: How is GPA calculated in the Indian grading system?
A: GPA (Grade Point Average) in the Indian educational system is typically calculated on a 10-point scale, with each letter grade corresponding to a numerical value (for example, A+ = 10, A = 9, etc.). The GPA is the average of these values, weighted by the credit hours of the courses taken. However, the exact calculation method can vary by institution, so it’s important to check with the specific educational establishment.

Q: Can Indian grades be converted to other countriesโ€™ grading systems?
A: Yes, Indian grades can be converted to other countriesโ€™ grading systems, though the process can vary depending on the target country and institution. Most universities and evaluation services have conversion tables or criteria to translate Indian grades into their grading scale. However, due to differences in grading practices, direct conversions should be considered approximate.

Q: What happens if a student fails a subject in India?
A: If a student fails a subject, they may have the opportunity to retake the exam through supplementary or compartment exams, depending on the board’s policies. Failing a subject might require the student to attend additional classes or tutoring sessions to improve their understanding before re-taking the exam.

Q: Are grading systems uniform across all Indian states?
A: No, grading systems are not entirely uniform across all Indian states. While there is a general framework that many educational boards follow, state boards might have specific grading scales or criteria that reflect regional educational priorities. Central boards like CBSE and CISCE tend to have more standardized grading systems.

Q: How do colleges in India use the grading system for admissions?
A: For admissions, colleges in India often look at the aggregate percentage marks or GPA, along with entrance exam scores where applicable. Some institutions may also normalize grades to account for variations in grading standards across different boards. Specific courses or programs might prioritize grades in relevant subjects.

These FAQs provide a snapshot of common queries regarding the Indian grading system, offering insights into how grades are interpreted, calculated, and used in academic and admission processes.

Additional Resources

For those seeking more detailed information about the Indian grading system, official sources and helpful websites can provide authoritative guidance and insights. Below is a list of recommended resources, primarily focusing on educational websites in India that offer clarity on grading practices, examinations, and academic policies.

.edu and .gov Websites

  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE):
    The official CBSE website provides comprehensive details on curriculum, examinations, grading systems, and academic guidelines for schools affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education across India.
  • Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE):
    This site offers information on the CISCE curriculum, including the ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) examinations, grading scales, and resources for students and educators in schools following the CISCE board.
  • National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS):
    NIOS provides alternative education opportunities for students unable to attend traditional schools, including details on their grading system, examination schedules, and educational materials.
  • University Grants Commission (UGC):
    The UGC website is a valuable resource for higher education, offering guidelines on university examinations, grading systems, and accreditation standards across India.

Helpful Websites

  • Shiksha:
    A comprehensive portal for students, Shiksha offers insights into different educational boards in India, college admissions, entrance exams, and comparisons of grading systems.
  • India Education:
    This site provides a broad overview of the Indian education system, including explanations of various grading scales used by different educational boards and tips for students.

These resources are instrumental for students, educators, and parents navigating the Indian education system, offering official information and guidance on academic policies, grading scales, and examination procedures. Whether you’re looking for specifics on the CBSE grading system, understanding CISCE academic standards, or exploring higher education regulations with the UGC, these sites are valuable starting points for reliable information.