Academic grading in Spain
Elementary, high schools, and vocational schools
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, 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) and in the Organic Law for Universities. In consequence, it is not rare to find courses where it is necessary to reach the 60% 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:
- 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, 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 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|
- Constitución Española de 1978, Artículo 149, http://www.congreso.es/consti/constitucion/indice/titulos/articulos.jsp?ini=149&tipo=2
- Ley Orgánica 6/2001, de 21 de iciembre, de Universidades. http://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2001-24515
- The "Matrícula de Honor" in the Universidad de Alicante, Spain