Traditionally in the most prestigious high schools (Liceo Classico, Liceo Scientifico and Liceo Linguistico), grades vary within a limited range, between 2 and 8, often with each professor applying his/her own custom. When a professor wants to apply a more precise scale, instead of using the full 1–10 scale (which would have made their scale not comparable with that of other professors) they would often insert a plethora of symbols and decimals: the range between 5 and 6 would then be covered, in sequence, by 5+, 5½ and 6−. Sufficiency starts at 6. The "+" symbol stands for "+0.25" (5+=5.25) and the "-" symbol stands for "-0.25" (6-=5.75). Some professors, however, also use symbols such as 5++, 5/6 and 6--, which have no precise value. There has been a push in recent years to uniform the system to the 0–10 scale. A grade below 6 is considered insufficient, while a grade below 4 is considered to be extremely insufficient.
In high school, if a student, at the end of the year, reports an insufficient grade average in a certain subject (5 or below), he or she has to take a reparatory exam in September, before school begins; if the result of the reparatory exam is again not sufficient, the student cannot pass to the next year and will have to repeat it. A student who, at the end of the year, has more than 3 insufficient subjected will not pass to following class and will have to repeat the year. This is anyway subject to the judgment of professors, who can evaluate what to do according to the case.
For ordinary exams, universities in Italy use a 30-point scale that can be divided into failing (0 to 17) and passing (18 to 30 cum laude) grades. For final assessment of the entire degree, a 110-point scale is used, which is divided into two as well, with 66 being the minimum for a degree to be awarded. The 110-point scale incorporates scores both on course exams and for the final thesis. For outstanding results, lode, "praise" or "cum laude," is added to the maximum grade.
Italian grades with corresponding ECTS and United States grading