In the Netherlands, most institutions grade exams, papers and thesis on a scale from 1 (very poor) to 10 (outstanding). The scale is generally further subdivided with intervals of one decimal place, although the use of halves (e.g., 7.5) and quarters (e.g., 7+ or 7−, rounded to 0.8 or 0.3) is also common. Thus, a 6.75 could be written as 7− and count as a 6.8, whereas a 7+ would be a 7.25 and count as a 7.3. Marks given in decimals are usually rounded to the nearest full mark for the final mark. At all levels of education, some subjects may be graded with the marks "insufficient" (O, or onvoldoende), "pass" (V, or voldoende) and in some cases "good" (G, or goed). On report cards, these are mostly shown as letters rather than numbers.

• 10 (excellent - ca. 0.1%[1])
• 9 (very good - ca. 2.4%[1])
• 8.5 (above good)
• 8.0 (good - ca. 12.5%[1])
• 7.5 (more than satisfactory)
• 7 (satisfactory - ca. 34.3%[1])
• 6 (sufficient - ca. 38.5%[1])
• 5 (below sufficient - highest fail grade - ca. 10.7%[1])
• 4 (insufficient)
• 3 (very insufficient)
• 2 (poor)
• 1 (very poor)

The lowest pass mark is decided upon by the educational institute. It is usually set at 5.5 as narrow pass, and 5.4 and below constitute a fail. If no decimal places are used, 6 and up is a pass and 5 and below a fail. Sometimes, when no decimal place is used, an additional grade, 6−, is used to indicate that the student has "barely passed". In some cases, usually in high schools, fail marks may be compensated with high passes, provided the average mark is a pass. For example, a mark 4 and 9 would average at ((4+9)/2=) 6.5 which makes for a pass. Compensation of marks is not always allowed in the course specifications, or a lower limit may be set (e.g., a mark below 4 may not be compensatable).

The mark 9 is seldom awarded (in only 2.7% of cases[1]), and the highest pass mark 10 is extremely rare (in only 0.1% of cases[1]) as this implies perfection, which is hardly ever present in student work, or indeed the lecturer's own work. Therefore an average grade of an 8 is considered "excellent". Depending on the grade, universities can grant some honors, although this system is very limited compared to some other countries. Unlike America and most of Europe, an 8.5 or higher means "excellent and cum laude" in the Netherlands. A total average of grades 8 with no grade under 7 and finishing in time is awarded with "cum laude". For an average grade better than 7, but not meeting the criteria for cum laude, met genoegen ("with pleasure") is sometimes awarded.

As the incidence of a 9 or 10 in havo examinations is considerably lower than that of the top marks in the American or British grading system, it would be a mistake to equate a 10 to an A, a 9 to a B, and so forth. If the 8, 9 and 10 are taken together, as in the list shown above, they represent the top S to 15% of examination results. If, in a grading system based on letters, the A represents the top 10% or thereabouts, grade A may be regarded as equivalent to grades 8 and above. A mark 7 is a decent grade, implying the student has satisfactory command of the subject matter but is not exceptionally good either. It is a fairly frequent mark. As such it relates to the mark B in many systems with an A-E scale: UK A-Level, Norway Higher Ed, but it could be considered a B+ under systems with a very broad B category (USA). As an average final grade point of 6 constitutes the unconditional passing grade, in most cases is the standard for admission to a higher cycle of education, and has a high occurrence among pupils, there are good grounds for equating a 6 with a C in most systems and B- on the US scale, which has a similar frequency and purpose.

The conversion of the lowest passing grade may present another problem. A grade of 4 is a clear "fail", which may be compensated as described above. A mark 5, on the other hand, is "almost satisfactory" and may be about that of the D in many systems, which counts as a weak pass, but as an average is too low for admission into a higher cycle of education. This however depends on the level of training the grade is compared to, as a D would not constitute a passing level at vwo level but may reach equivalence for the havo level when the differences between philosophies and methods are being taken into account. There is also some ambiguity in the interpretation of the 5 mark in the Dutch educational system. For purposes of assessing a pupil's progress throughout the year, a 5 is usually considered to be good enough, provided the pupil does better on following tests. For final examinations, a 5 is unacceptable as an average, but in high schools one mark 5 is condoned for one profile subject (except for maths in some cases) and one subject in either the compulsory or free choice segment. In higher education, most courses require a minimum average of 6 on all subjects. Moreover, in the Dutch system resits of examinations are more common, allowing pupils who did not attain a sufficient grade to redeem it one or several times, whereas in other systems candidates may be sent away sooner. Furthermore, Dutch pupils are more likely to return and retry applying for the desired level of vocational education, while British candidates would continue at a lower level instead.

Nuffic, the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education recommends this conversion table.[1]

Netherlands USA UK
10 A+ A* (first)
9.5 A+ A* (first)
9 A+ A* (first)
8.5 A+ A* (first)
8 A A (first)
7.5 A A- (upper 2nd)
7 B+ B (upper 2nd)
6.5 B C (lower 2nd)
6 C D (third)
5.5 D E (third)
5 F F
4 F F
3 F F
2 F F
1 F F