Grading Systems: The Netherlands Vs The USA

When you’re an international student, you look for any information that you can get on the foreign institution and the culture before heading there, and one of the most important things that you are bound to look for is the grading culture. This is particularly useful because of the significant investment that goes into the study abroad and you need to clear all the subjects with a decent grade. The grading systems are highly misunderstood because of the diverse nature. Students are often found to have applied to a certain university only to be rejected on grounds that their scores are not adequate enough while anywhere else, and their scores would’ve been considered high. The problem is that most European universities use ECTS as mandated by the Bologna agreement. Transferring them to credits or vice versa usually has its own system. While some may be on a scale of 10, others maybe on a scale of 4. In general, though, this is the common scale.

Grading System in the Netherlands:
The Netherlands has a grading system that’s based on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. The lowest pass mark is usually 6 per subject. However, if you get one five and two fours, that might be condoned if you have higher scores in other subjects. Your scores are also rounded off if they are 0.5 and above to the digit. While the distribution shows that getting a ten or a nine has been significantly rare, 8-9 have been relatively easier to obtain. In fact, the distribution of grades during 2010 as per Nuffic article has been thus
10 = 0.1
9 = 2.4
8 = 12.5
7 = 34.3
6 = 38.5
5 = 10.7
4 = 1.4
3 = 0.08
2 = 0.01
1 = 0.0
As one can see, the apart from the passing grade of 6, the score o 7 has been the highest to obtain. However, one must understand that grades for coursework and other assignments other than finals are not rounded. Even in finals, if you have a grade of 4.5, it is not rounded off. The common grading system and its meaning in the Dutch system is as follows:

Grading System in the US:
In Universities in the Netherlands, top grades were usually awarded to single out perfection. A 10 was only given in case of top performance. However, studies have shown that in the US, educators were more lenient to dole out grades because they were meant to reward performance rather than single out perfection. In this way, at least the grading culture in the US is significantly different. The grades too, are based on a score of 4 and the highest grade that one can get is an A. PhD programmes don’t strictly follow this, but students are still expected to keep up by getting at least a B and above. Of course, the final participation depends on other factors as well.