Top Facts About Academic Grading in the US

One would expect students to understand how assessment works better since they yearn for good grades. It isn’t easy to decipher the pattern, especially when universities go to greater lengths to keep them hidden from scholars.

Since they do not disclose these pieces of information, how do you win these grading systems and score exceptional grades by the books?

You ought to know at least a few facts about the grading system in the USA to be able to stand out among your peers.

These things aren’t taught in classrooms because your lecturers would hate to pass down these pieces of information to you. Let’s get these facts for studying in a college in the U.S.

No “E” Grades

Here’s an interesting fact about the assessment system in the US; “There are no ‘E’ grades.” But it’s funny how this school grading works since the educational system grades go from A to F.

In 1897, the ‘E’ was synonymous with ‘F’ in the American rating system, which used to be the lowest score.

However, students and their parents thought it was much easier to associate “Failure” with the “F.” Realistically, “E” connotes “Excellence,” which was not the best letter for failure.

Since then, tertiary institutions globally now represent failure with the letter F. Truthfully, the thought of scoring an F on any of the grades could cause an undergraduate to sit upright.

Overall Grades Accumulate to Grade Point Average (GPA)

Maintaining the highest GPA should be the aim of every high school and college scholar from the first year. The GPA is not like the letter grading system that reveals your performance on a subject or course.

Scholars in high schools have to worry about this more because it affects everything from college applications to scholarships eligibility. Your GPA grades your overall years of study after the degree.

The traditional evaluation system in the United States makes it possible to tell students’ academic capabilities by their GPA scores. One can easily tell if the student stands out or an average scholar with a failing grade.

The GPA form of college grading allows undergraduates to realize how much work they need to put into academics.

More so, American tertiary education also depends on the GPA grading system to rate the overall graduating undergraduates of the year.

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The US Letter-Grading System

Unlike some countries where assignments do not necessarily affect the scholar’s highest grade, they surely matter on the American grading scale.

There are always letter grades written on every paper for every assignment or group study you complete.

It’s usually from A to F, with each score representing a percentage that’d be a fraction of the course’s total score. Some lecturers attach more importance to this project, with the rating systems as high as 40%.

Scoring an A in your assignment or group project earns you between 90% and 100% in grades history.

Scoring a “B” gets you a strong 80% or a much stronger 85%, depending on several factors. A “C” keeps you rested in the middle with an average of 70% to 79%; pretty fair for an assignment score.

With a “D” passing score of 60%, you should be putting more effort into other aspects of the course. An “F” might be a fail expect students to challenge themselves to do much better in exams.

The US College-Grading System

The scoring system while studying abroad, especially in the US, can vary from international students in their home countries.

The higher education system in the US categorizes students’ grades under what’s referred to as “Quality Point.” The GPA system works solely on a student’s quantity points scores.

The standard of student learning in the US keeps every undergraduate within the 4.0 scale. 

Grade inflation could sometimes be common in a graduate school with varying minimum requirements. Every international student learning in a US tertiary institution would have to familiarize themselves with the pattern to catch up.

In most cases, there isn’t that much different from what they’ve been used to in their home countries. Of course, the class or grading structure may vary, which is why it’s advisable to check with the school’s administrators at all times.

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The Grading is Often Outsourced

Colleges and universities in the US often have large classes filled with undergraduates, and one lecturer addresses them all. It’s almost unlikely that the same lecture or professor that took the course would score the grades.

Instead, the system assigns most of the scoring to low-paid graduate students. Sometimes, these post-graduates supervise the discussion sections of undergraduates taking the course. So they’re most likely familiar with the curriculum.

Worst-case scenario, students in tertiary institutions have their grades scored by an unnamed and unseen person. Institutions hire these graders to mostly grade the written part of the exams following a guideline or marking scheme.

Depending on how the professor manages the course, your scripts could be scored by a random stranger. This is why it is often advised to make your point clear from the outset as precisely and comprehensively as possible.


Foreign scholars get confused about the scoring pattern when they come into America. This sometimes affects how they perform in sections of their study that require more commitment. These five facts about scoring in the US would help make a difference if taken seriously. 

They could be the pieces of information between doing exceptionally well and graduating with an average grade. Contrary to the myths that the scoring system is designed to make foreign undergraduates fail, people who take their programs seriously come out in flying colors.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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ST Admin
ST Admin

Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of at present.

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