The Netherlands Academic Grading System

The credit system is the same from school to university in the Netherlands. ECTS credits are used to measure the workload of students. The Netherlands Grading System is essentially on a ten point scale. Its conversion to UK and US scales is easy.

Credit and Grading System in the Netherlands

Netherlands Grading SystemECTS credits are used for the measurement of a student's workload. As per Dutch law, a single credit represents around 28 hours of work. A total of 60 credits represent complete year of full time studies. The grading system followed in the Netherlands ranges on a scale from 1 (very poor) to 10 (outstanding).

The lowest passing grade in the educational institutions is 6. High grades such as 9 and 10 are very rarely given. Extreme grades such as 1 to 3 are rarely used. An academic year is 42 weeks long in duration.

A grade of 10 means “Outstanding”. Grade 9 is allocated to denote “Very Good.” Grade 8 stands for “Good” and Grade 7 denotes “More than satisfactory.” Grade 6 means “Satisfactory” and Grade 5 is “Almost Satisfactory”. Grade 4 is “Unsatisfactory” while Grade 3 is “Very Unsatisfactory”. Grade 2 is “Poor” and Grade 1 means “Very Poor”.

This 10 point scale is then further subdivided at intervals of one decimal place in some institutions while others use halves (example 7.5) and quarters (7 or 7-). Such marks which are given in decimals are rounded to the nearest complete mark for the final grade. Some subjects may be graded in the following way:

  • Insufficient (o/onvoldoende)
  • Pass (V or voldoende)
  • Good (G or goed)

Conversion of the Netherlands Grading System

Dutch Grading SystemSeveral nations using grading systems similar to those of Holland. An example is the 1 to 100 system. But the Dutch ministry emphasizes that it is incorrect to say a grade of 90-100 equals 10 or a grade of 80-90 equals 9. In the Netherlands, 8 is considered a very good grade and most grades range between 6 to 8. Excellent students may receive grades higher than 8. The 2 most common grades in the Dutch system of education are 6 and 7. Two common grades in the US and the UK systems are A and B.

The Ministry also reports that in Dutch secondary education, Grades 6 and 7 are awarded in 39 and 34 percent of the time respectively. The Ministry has proposed the following conversion table for understanding the grading system in Holland schools as compared to those in the US and the UK:

 The Netherlands
The UK 
The US
 10  A  A
 9.5  A  A
 9  A  A
 8.5  A  A
 8  A  A
 7.5  A- A
 7  B B
 6.5  B  C
 6  D C
 5.5  E  D
 5  F  F
 4  F  F
 3  F  F
 2  F  F
 1 F
F

Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, The Netherlands

Conclusion about the Dutch Grading System

Thus, the grading system in the Netherlands is generally on a 10 point scale with decimals rarely being used. Good grades are generally those which are attained by students who excel in their subjects. The grading system is oriented towards rating people according to their capabilities.
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