North Korea Grading System

High School Grade Scale

The North Korean educational system has a unique grading scale, particularly at the high school level. Below is an approximation of the North Korean grades, translated to comparable English terms along with the equivalent percentage range and GPA. It’s important to note that specific details about the North Korean grading system are not widely published, and there may be variations and nuances not captured here. This table is based on the most general understanding available.

North Korea GradeComparable English TermEquivalent Percentage RangeEquivalent GPA
5FailBelow 60%0

Some schools may use variations like ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to further differentiate performance within these grades, though such practices are not uniformly applied across all institutions.

College Grade Scale

At the college or university level, the grading system in North Korea might slightly differ from the high school grade scale, reflecting a more detailed evaluation of a student’s academic performance. However, detailed information on this grading scale is scarce, and the following table is a generalized approximation based on available data.

North Korea GradeComparable English TermEquivalent Percentage RangeEquivalent GPA
FFailBelow 60%0

In some universities, there may be more nuanced grading scales, including pluses and minuses (e.g., A-, B+) to provide a more precise evaluation of a student’s performance.

Please note that the information provided here is based on limited available data and should be considered a generalized overview rather than a precise representation of the current grading system in North Korea’s educational institutions. The actual grading scales can vary significantly depending on the specific school or university and the region within the country.

Understanding Grades in North Korea

The grading system in North Korea, like in many countries, is not just a measure of academic performance but also reflects the expectations and standards set by educational institutions at various levels. Let’s delve into what each grade typically signifies about a student’s performance and understanding.

🌟 Excellent (1 or A)

  • Significance: Achieving the highest grade indicates that the student has not only mastered the subject matter but also demonstrated exceptional skills in applying knowledge in various contexts. This grade reflects a deep understanding, creativity, and the ability to tackle complex problems effectively.

📚 Good (2 or B)

  • Significance: This grade signifies that the student has a strong grasp of the material and performs well in most assessments. It suggests good comprehension, the ability to apply knowledge in familiar contexts, and strong preparation. Students receiving this grade are considered well above average in their understanding and application of the subject matter.

🆗 Average (3 or C)

  • Significance: An average grade denotes that the student has a satisfactory understanding of the core content but may lack depth in their knowledge or struggle with more complex applications. This grade suggests the student meets the minimum expectations and has achieved basic competence in the subject area.

✔️ Pass (4 or D)

  • Significance: Receiving a passing grade indicates that the student has met the minimum required standards to advance but shows limited understanding of the subject matter. It points to basic knowledge and the ability to apply it in straightforward situations but signifies struggles with more challenging concepts or tasks.

❌ Fail (5 or F)

  • Significance: A failing grade reflects insufficient understanding of the core materials or an inability to meet the basic academic standards of the course. It indicates significant gaps in knowledge and understanding, requiring further study and improvement to achieve the necessary competence.

In North Korea’s educational system, as in many around the world, these grades serve as a crucial feedback mechanism for students, guiding their study habits, areas for improvement, and academic focus. The emphasis on achieving high grades reflects the competitive nature of education in North Korea, where academic performance can influence future opportunities, including higher education and career prospects.

Keep in mind, the information provided offers a general understanding and might not capture all nuances and variations present within the diverse educational landscape of North Korea.

North Korea Grade Comparison

In understanding how the North Korean grading system aligns with those of other countries, it’s essential to contextualize the grades within the global educational landscape. Below is a table that compares North Korean grades with the grading systems of the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada, and China. This comparison aims to provide a rough equivalence, recognizing that grading standards and interpretations can vary significantly across different educational cultures and systems.

High School Grade Comparison

North Korea GradeUS GradeUK Grade (GCSE)India GradeAustralia GradeCanada GradeChina Grade
1 (Excellent)A9-8 (A*/A)91-100%AAA (90-100%)
2 (Good)B7-6 (A/B)81-90%BBB (80-89%)
3 (Average)C5-4 (C/B)71-80%CCC (70-79%)
4 (Pass)D3-2 (D/E)61-70%DDD (60-69%)
5 (Fail)F1-F (Fail)Below 60%FFF (Below 60%)

College / University Grade Comparison

North Korea GradeUS GradeUK Grade (Degree)India GradeAustralia GradeCanada GradeChina Grade
A (Excellent)AFirst Class91-100%HD (High Distinction)A+A (90-100%)
B (Good)BUpper Second Class (2:1)81-90%D (Distinction)AB (80-89%)
C (Average)CLower Second Class (2:2)71-80%C (Credit)BC (70-79%)
D (Pass)DThird Class61-70%P (Pass)CD (60-69%)
F (Fail)FFailBelow 60%F (Fail)FF (Below 60%)

This comparison should be used as a guideline for understanding the approximate equivalences between grading systems, rather than a precise conversion chart. Different countries and educational institutions have unique ways of assessing and grading student performance, influenced by cultural, pedagogical, and curricular factors.

Keep in mind, the exact conversion may vary depending on the specific context, such as the institution’s grading policies, the course’s level of difficulty, and the country’s educational standards.

Special Grading Considerations in North Korea

The grading system in North Korea, like any educational system, is subject to variations based on a multitude of factors including geographical location, the type of educational institution (public vs. private, if private institutions exist), and the specific policies of individual schools or universities. These variations can influence how grades are awarded and interpreted.

Variations Across States and School Types

  • Geographical Variations: There may be differences in grading scales and interpretations between schools in urban vs. rural areas, potentially due to disparities in resources, teacher qualifications, and educational priorities.
  • Type of Institution: While most information available pertains to public schools, if private institutions or special schools (such as those for gifted students) exist, they may employ different grading standards or place emphasis on certain subjects, affecting overall grading outcomes.

Grading Practices and Teacher Discretion

  • Subjectivity in Grading: The assessment of student performance can vary significantly between teachers, even within the same school. While exams and tests offer a quantitative measure of student knowledge, other forms of assessment (like oral exams, essays, and project work) can be more subjective.
  • Teacher Expectations: Teachers’ expectations and the rigor of their grading can influence student grades. Some educators may grade more leniently to encourage students, while others may adopt a stricter grading policy to push students to achieve higher standards.

Handling of Failing Grades

  • Remedial Measures: In cases where students receive failing grades, schools may offer remedial classes, additional tutoring, or opportunities to retake exams. The specifics of these measures likely depend on the resources available to the school and the policies governing educational practices in North Korea.
  • Impact on Student Progression: Failing grades can have significant implications for a student’s ability to progress to the next grade level or to pursue higher education opportunities. In some cases, there may be a strong emphasis on rectifying failing grades to maintain a trajectory towards academic and professional success.

It’s important to acknowledge that detailed information on North Korea’s educational system is limited, and much of what is understood about grading practices comes from defectors and external observations. As such, the descriptions provided here should be considered as general insights rather than definitive accounts of the educational landscape within the country.

The approach to education and grading in North Korea reflects broader societal values, including the importance of academic success, the value placed on conformity and excellence, and the role of education in shaping future citizens and workers. These factors collectively contribute to the unique nuances of the North Korean grading system.


Q: How is academic performance assessed in North Korean schools?
A: Academic performance in North Korean schools is assessed using a grading scale that typically ranges from 1 (Excellent) to 5 (Fail) at the high school level, and A (Excellent) to F (Fail) at the university level. These grades reflect a student’s mastery of the subject matter, ability to apply knowledge, and overall academic achievement.

Q: Can students in North Korea retake exams if they fail?
A: While specific policies may vary by school and region, there are indications that students may have opportunities to retake exams or participate in remedial education to improve their grades, especially in cases where failing a subject could significantly impact their educational progression.

Q: Do all schools in North Korea follow the same grading system?
A: While there is a general grading framework in place, variations can exist between different regions, types of schools (e.g., public vs. specialized schools), and even among individual teachers. These variations might be in how grades are weighted, the use of ‘+’ and ‘-‘ to provide more granularity, or the emphasis on certain types of assessments.

Q: How does the grading system in North Korea compare to other countries?
A: The North Korean grading system, with its scale from Excellent to Fail, has parallels to grading systems in other countries, but the exact percentages and implications of each grade can vary. Comparisons can be drawn, for instance, with the A-F scale used in the United States, but the cultural and educational contexts in which these grades are awarded differ significantly.

Q: What impact do grades have on a student’s future in North Korea?
A: Grades are highly significant in North Korea, influencing opportunities for higher education, career paths, and even social status. High academic achievement is encouraged and can lead to more prestigious educational and professional opportunities, reflecting the importance placed on education within the society.

Q: Are there special considerations for grading in different subjects?
A: While specific details are limited, it’s plausible that subjects deemed critical (such as those related to political ideology or science and technology) may have different grading emphases or standards, reflecting national educational priorities.

Q: How transparent is the grading process in North Korean schools?
A: Information on the transparency of grading processes in North Korea is scarce. However, given the centralized nature of the country’s governance, it is likely that there is a standardized approach to grading, though the level of transparency to students and parents may vary.

These FAQs provide a glimpse into the grading system in North Korea, but it’s important to remember that detailed and verified information is limited, and the educational experience can vary widely across different parts of the country.

I must clarify that accessing specific and reliable information about the grading system and educational resources within North Korea poses a significant challenge due to the country’s closed-off nature and the limited availability of detailed governmental or educational data online, especially from .edu or .gov websites based in North Korea. North Korea does not have a widespread presence on the global internet, and most of its online resources are not accessible to the outside world.

Given these constraints, it is difficult to provide links to official North Korean educational websites or resources directly related to the grading system in North Korea. In the broader context, educational information about North Korea often comes from defector testimonies, research conducted by external scholars, or international organizations that analyze the country’s educational policies and practices based on available data.

For those interested in learning more about North Korea’s educational system and grading practices, it is advisable to consult academic research papers, books written by North Korea experts, or reports by international organizations that study education globally. These resources, while not directly linked to North Korean .edu or .gov websites, can offer valuable insights and analyses based on the available information.

Additional Resources

  1. Academic Research Papers and Journals: Scholars specializing in Korean studies or educational systems may have published research on North Korea’s education system.
  2. Books: Authors with expertise in North Korean society, culture, and education have written detailed accounts that provide context and understanding of the educational landscape.
  3. International Organizations: Reports from the United Nations or NGOs that focus on education can sometimes include information on North Korea as part of broader studies.

In summary, while direct links to North Korean educational resources are not accessible, there are alternative ways to gather information and gain insights into the country’s grading system and educational practices through academic and international research.