Academic grading in Sweden

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See also Education in Sweden and Bologna process, section Sweden

Primary school[edit]

In the Swedish grundskola (primary/elementary and secondary/high school, officially called "compulsory school" by Skolverket), students are currently (December 2012) graded from the five grade and onward. The students can be graded:

  • A - Exemplary
  • B - Excellent
  • C - Good
  • D - Adequate
  • E - Acceptable
  • F - Fail, not passed

But it is not a actual grade. Rather, a lack of grade.

A reform was taken into full effect on the beginning of the semester in 2011 which had students graded from the sixth grade, and the grade is more similar to the system of the upper secondary school (gymnasium), with grades F-A. According to Skolverket, the change is due to a lot of students (~10 %) failing in courses in Swedish, Swedish as a second language, English or mathematics in the 9th year.[1]

Secondary school[edit]

In the gymnasium (three-year pre-university course, similar to the UK sixth form college, officially called "upper secondary school" by Skolverket, despite there being no such thing as a "lower secondary school"), the same grading system as the primary school was used until 2011, when it was change to a six-degree system A-F (A being the highest and F for having failed).[2] Grades are assigned based on individual achievements rather than relative performance. Formally, the grade should reflect the degree of attainment of stated learning outcomes and objectives.


20th century[edit]

Until 1996 relative grades on the scale 1-5 were used, with 5 being the highest grade. The scale was intended to follow a normal distribution on a national level, with a mean of 3 and a standard deviation of 1.

Up until 1962 yet another scale was used:

  • A - Berömlig (Passed with great distinction)
  • a - Med utmärkt beröm godkänd (Passed with distinction)
  • AB - Med beröm godkänd (Passed with great credit)
  • Ba - Icke utan beröm godkänd (Passed with credit)
  • B - Godkänd (Passed)
  • Bc - Icke fullt godkänd (Not entirely passable)
  • C - Underkänd (Fail)

Though unused for over 40 years, this scale retains some cultural significance, and the standard law school grading scale used today is based on it (see below).

1996 - 2010[edit]

From 1996 to 2010, grades ranged from "IG", "G", "VG", to "MVG" ("IG" being failed). This was changed in the secondary school reforms of 2011, primarily to make the distinction of grades clearer and to make the grading of students fairer.[2] The IG-MVG system was translated into a numerical GPA like number for application purposes etc., where MVG equaled 20.0, VG 15.0, G 10.0 and IG 0 and the highest achievable GPA thus being 20.0. This system is still (2013) in use for students who started their secondary school with these grades.

University level[edit]

On university level the following standard grading scale has been defined:

  • VG - Väl godkänd (Passed with distinction)
  • G - Godkänd (Passed)
  • U - Underkänd (Fail)

As long as relative grading is not used, however, individual universities may choose to use any other scale. For example, in the fields of engineering and technology, the passing grades of VG and G are commonly replaced with 5, 4 and 3, whereas law schools consistently employ a scale of AB, Ba and B as passing grades. Further, a number of universities are currently in the process of transitioning to an ECTS based scale, with an A to F grading, pursuant to the Bologna process. Many universities (e.g. KTH and Stockholm University) finished the transition process in 2007 or 2008.

Prior to transitioning to the Bologna Process, the private university Stockholm School of Economics (Sw. Handelshögskolan i Stockholm) adopted its own grading scale:

  • B - "Berömlig" (Excellent)
  • MBG - "Med Beröm Godkänd" (Passed with distinction)
  • G - "Godkänd" (Passed)

where B corresponded to a >=85% score, MBG >= 70% and G >= 50%.


  1. ^ "Betyg i årskurs 6". Skolverket. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Om gymnasieskolan: Bedömning". Skolverket. Retrieved 17 November 2011.