Academic grading in Spain

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Primary, secondary and Baccalaureate education[edit]

In primary education, secondary education, Baccalaureate education Spain uses a 0 to 10-point grading scale:

  • 9.0-10 out of 10 is the best possible grade and is called "sobresaliente" ("outstanding"). A special mention called "Matrícula de Honor" can be granted to a limited number of students per group (typically to up to 5% of the students). This special mention normally implies tuition waivers for the following course.
  • 7-8.9 out of 10 is called "notable" ("notable"). Sometimes a distinction is made between "notable bajo" (low) and "notable alto" (high).
  • 5-6.9 out of 10 is called "aprobado". Sometimes a distinction is made between "bien" ("good") and "suficiente" ("sufficient").
  • 3-4.9 out of 10 is called "insuficiente" ("insufficient").
  • 0-2.9 out of 10 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 0 to 10-point grading scale, where 10 corresponds to the 100% of the academical contents of the course which in turn are regulated by the Ministry of Education as established in the Spanish Constitution (Article 149)[1] and in the Organic Law for Universities.[2] In consequence, it is not rare to find courses where it is necessary to reach the 50% of the content and only a 20% of the students passes the course, specially in sciences, health related and engineering degrees. The grades can be expressed in words as follows:

  • Matrícula de Honor: special distinction (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, according to Real Decreto 1125/2013[3], Article 5.6, except in doctoral thesis qualifications, that may not have any limit.)
  • 9-10 out of 10: "Sobresaliente" ("outstanding").
  • 7-8.9 out of 10: "Notable" ("remarkable").
  • 5-6.9 out of 10: "Aprobado" ("pass").
  • 0-4.9 out of 10: "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 0 to 4-point scale and recorded in her/his transcript of records:

Since the grades are evaluated according to the percentage of academical contents reached by the student, the percentage of students for each mark varies depending on the difficulty of the course and the generation of students. Therefore, there is no direct 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 an approximation:

Grade in Spanish Academic Records Definition 10-points grading scale Definition Estimated percentage Estimated ECTS Grade
4 Matrícula de Honor 10 Topper in Class or Subject 95 to 100% A+
3 Sobresaliente 9 90% Contents assumed 90 to 95% A
2 Notable 7 70% Contents assumed 70 to 89.9% B
1 Aprobado 6 60% Contents assumed 60 to 69.9% C
1 Aprobado 5.5 55% Contents assumed 55 to 59.9% D
1 Aprobado 5 50% Contents assumed 50 to 54.9% E
Suspenso Less than 50% contents assumed (60% in many cases) 49% or below FX-F


  1. ^ Constitución Española de 1978, Artículo 149,
  2. ^ Ley Orgánica 6/2001, de 21 de iciembre, de Universidades.
  3. ^ " - Documento consolidado BOE-A-2003-17643". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-02-09.

External links[edit]