Academic grading in Spain

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Elementary, high schools, and vocational schools[edit]

Spain uses a 10-point grading scale for elementary and high schools:

  • 9.0-10 is the best possible grade and is called "sobresaliente" ("outstanding"). A 10 grade may also include a distinction called "Matrícula de Honor" or "Mención de Honor," but usually only a limited number of students per group may benefit from it. Distinctions may imply tuition waivers for the following course.
  • 7-8.9 is called "notable" ("notable"). Sometimes a distinction is made between "notable bajo" (low) and "notable alto" (high).
  • 6-6.9 is called "bien" ("good").
  • 5-5.9 is the lowest passing grade and is called "suficiente" ("sufficient").
  • 3-4.9 is called "insuficiente" ("insufficient").
  • 0-2.9 is the lowest possible grade and is called "muy deficiente" (literally translated as "very deficient").
  • The term "suspenso" ("fail") includes both "insuficiente" and "muy deficiente".


Spanish universities use two different grading scales. The students' performance is assessed using a 10-point grading scale. The grades can be expressed in words as follows:

  • 10 with distinction: "Matrícula de Honor". (The number of students eligible for this grade is usually limited by statute to less than 5% for a given assessment, or, in small groups, to 1 student in 20[citation needed], except in doctoral thesis qualifications, that may not have any limit.)
  • 9-10: "Sobresaliente" ("outstanding").
  • 7-8.9: "Notable" ("remarkable").
  • 5-6.9: "Aprobado" ("pass").
  • 0-4.9: "Suspenso" ("failed").

Furthermore, when a student has passed a subject according to this 10-point scale, her or his grade is converted to the following 4-point scale and recorded in her/his transcript of records:

  • "Matrícula de Honor": 4.
  • "Sobresaliente": 3.
  • "Notable": 2.
  • "Aprobado": 1.

Since these grades are given on the teacher's discretion, there is no easy correspondence to the ECTS grading scale, which is based on the class percentile of passed students in a given assessment. For this reason, the following table is only an approximation:

Grade in Spanish Academic Records Definition Estimated ECTS Grade Percentage Definition
4 Matrícula de Honor A+ 90 to 100% Top Qualification in Class or Subject
3 Sobresaliente A 90 to 100% Highest 10%
2 Notable B 70 to 89% Next 20%
1 Aprobado C-D 50 to 69% Next 40%
Suspenso FX-F 49% or below Not Pass

External links[edit]