GPA in Central and Eastern Europe

GPA in Central and Eastern Europe

This is article about the grades that are currently used in both Central and Eastern Europe.

In Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and likely the rest of the former Soviet Union and some countries formerly associated with the Eastern Bloc, a five-point grading scale is used, where:

* 5 (very good or excellent) is the best possible grade,
* 4 (good),
* 3 (satisfactory) indicates "average" performance,
* 2 (unsatisfactory),
* 1 (poor) is the lowest possible grade.

Qualifiers + and – are often used to add some degree of differentiation between the grades, eg. 4+ is better than 4 but a little worse than 5–. Grading varies greatly from teacher to teacher and tends to be entirely subjective even for courses that lend themselves to objective marking such as mathematics and applied sciences. Even though the grades technically range from 1 to 5, 1 is uncommon and is rarely given for academic reasons—in many cases a failure to show up for an exam or to answer any questions only results in a 2 (in Russia/Ukraine, but not in Hungary).

Students in these countries may be labeled by their teachers according to their average grade, the labels stemming from the respective digits. For example, someone with a 5-point average is a "отличник" (m) (pronounced: otlichnik, from Russian excellent, отлично (otlichno))/"отличница" (f) (otlichnitsa), while someone with a 2-point average is a "двоечник" (m) (dvoyeshnik, hard to see if you don't know Russian, but from Russian 2, два(dva))/"двоечница" (f) (dvoyeshnitsa).

It's fair to mention that 1 is a very exotic grade in Russian schools. It is used rarely by some teachers in primary school. The four-point grading scale (five to two)is employed in middle school and university. Plus and minus modifiers follow the same tendency: they are used rarely in middle school, and almost never in colleges or universities. Some institutions and teachers, unsatisfied with the four-point scale, work with various larger ones, but these grading systems are not recognized by the state and have to be converted for official use.


Ukraine had some invention in grading system after 2002, where grade lays in between 1 and 12 and is matched with 5-point grade system using next system:
* Ukrainian 11 equals ex-USSR 5.
* Ukrainian 8 equals ex-USSR 4.
* Ukrainian 5 equals ex-USSR 3.
* Ukrainian 2 equals ex-USSR 2.+ and - qualifiers are complementing adding one or negative one to grade, respectively. For example, 5+ or 3- in ex-UUSR grading system are 12 or 4 in Ukraine.


In Hungary the 5-point grade system is used. There are only whole numbers in the report cards, but to grade exams, there are fractions (such as 3/4, which is between 3 and 4) also. Some teachers use lines above (rarely) or under (more commonly) the numbers to draw a clearer distinction: 4, (4-minus) is worse than a 4 but better than a 3 a 3' (3-plus), or a 3/4 (3 < 3' < 3/4 < 4, < 4); sometimes they even use multiple lines, such as 5,,. For an unusually good performance, the grade 5* can be awarded, but that is less frequently used in secondary schools. 1 is the only failing grade. When grading a student's attitude or diligence, only the grades 2-5 are used.

Latvia and Lithuania

The grading system in Latvia and Lithuania has been changed to a 10-point grading system. 10 is the highest achievable grade, while 1 is awarded for extremely poor performance. The minimal passing grade is 4 (though some universities have a minimum passing grade of 5). The absence of any kind of performance is awarded with 'nv' (nav vērtējuma, nevertinama - no grade). Teachers in lower classes are encouraged to award one of two grades 'i' (ieskaitīts) for a passing grade and 'n/i' (neieskaitīts) when the performance is not acceptable.


Romania uses a 10-point grading system. 10 is the highest achievable grade, and 5 is the minimal passing grade. A very poor performance is usually awarded a 3 or 4, while a 1 is often reserved for cases of academic dishonesty or some other unacceptable behavior. Grades with 2 decimal digits can also be awarded, e.g. 7.38 means "'very' satisfactory". This also applies to certificates of final examinations in secondary schools.


At Poland's primary, middle and high schools a 1 to 6 point grade system is used, with 1 - fail, 2 - pass but very low performance, 3 - satisfactory, 4 - good, 5 - very good and 6 - above requirements (the student's knowledge exceeds what is taught). Until the 1990s, there was a 2 to 5 grade system with plus and minus marks, such as: 3- (passed but barely), or 4+ (between good and very good). Since the mid-90s, Polish primary and secondary schools expanded this system to include the sixth grade. At universities, a traditional four-point system is used; the grades are: 2.0 (fail), 3.0 (pass), 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 (very good, the highest grade). Some universities use non-standard, additional 5.5 and 6.0 grades.

Czech Republic and Slovakia

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, primary and secondary schools use a 5-point grade system with 1 as the best and 5 as the worst. There are only whole numbers in the report cards, but tests or oral exams are often marked by additional distinctive signs: 3+ is "slightly better than 3", 2- is "slightly worse than 2", 1-2 or 1/2 means "halfway between 1 and 2", and 1* means "exceptionally excellent".
Universities use a 4-point grade system where 1 is the best and 4 means fail, or an expanded version of this: a six-grade system with half-grades between 1 and 2, and 2 and 3. The grades are then 1 (also A), 1.5 (B), 2 (C), 2.5 (D), 3 (E), and 4 (F, or fail).

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