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Grading system in Canada: Complete guide and evaluation

Updated on: Jun 26, 2024
Grading system in Canada: Complete guide and evaluation
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Canada has a standardised grading system to assess students' academic achievement at different educational levels.

The grading system in Canada is complicated, as class participation, assignments, projects, and tests affect the final grade.

Every school or district may have its distinct grading system; there is no single grading system.

In this guide, we'll explore the different grading systems used in Canada at various levels of education, including elementary, middle, and high schools, and post-secondary education.

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Types of grading systems in Canada

Canada has a well-established grading system to assess students' academic performance. Many grading systems are used in Canada, depending on the level of education, the educational institution, and the province or territory. institution. Here are some commonly used grading systems in Canada.

Also read: Top universities in Canada for international students

1. Percentage scale

The percentage scale is the most widely used grading system in Canada. It is used in most post-secondary institutions and some secondary schools. The percentage scale evaluates a student's performance based on their percentage in each course.

The passing grade is typically 50%, while certain institutions may need a higher grade. The percentage scale calculates a student's final grade, by converting it to a letter grade or GPA. 

For example, a student with a 75% score in a course would receive a B grade or a GPA of 3.0, depending on the institution.

Also read: How to apply for university in Canada?

2. Letter grades

Letter grades are commonly used in elementary and secondary schools in Canada. This system evaluates a student's performance based on their letter grade, represented as A, B, C, D, or F. 

Every letter grade has a corresponding percentage range, which varies depending on the province or school.

An A grade, for instance, can be equivalent to a range of 90–100%, whereas a B grade might be equivalent to a range of 80–89%.

3. Grade Point Average (GPA)

What is GPA in Canada?

The Grade Point Average (GPA) system is commonly used in post-secondary institutions in Canada. 

Each letter grade in this system is given a numerical value, usually between 0 and 4.0, and is weighted based on the course credit value. The weighted grade point values for each course are then added and divided by the total number of credits earned to get the GPA.

For instance, a student's weighted grade point value for a 3-credit course would be 9.0, if they finished it with a B grade (which is usually equivalent to a grade point value of 3.0). A student's weighted GPA would be 3.0 if they complete 15 credits at a total weighted grade point value of 45.0.

Also read: Cheap universities in Canada

4. Numeric scale

In Canada, some schools and provinces use a numeric scale for grading. This system assesses students numerically from 1 to 4 or 1 to 5. 

The specific grading scale varies by school and province. A higher number indicates a higher grade, and the passing grade is generally set at 50% or above. 

For example, on a 1 to 4 grading scale, a score of 3 corresponds to a B grade or a GPA of 3.0.

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5. Pass/Fail

The Pass/Fail grading system is sometimes used in Canadian schools and post-secondary institutions. In this system, students are assessed based on whether they have passed or failed the course or subject. 

There is no letter grade or numerical score assigned, and the passing grade is typically set at 50% or higher. Students passing the course receive a P grade, while those failing receive an F grade. This system is used for courses not included in a student's GPA calculation.

First, there's the Percentage Scale, it's like your regular scores, but you need at least 50% to pass. Then there are Letter Grades – like A, B, C. Colleges like the Grade Point Average (GPA) system, where they turn letters into numbers. Numeric Scale uses numbers too, and Pass/Fail is just about passing or not.

Also read: Studying in Canada guide for international students

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Canada grading scale

In Canada, grading scales are essential tools used to assess and quantify the academic performance of students. These scales help universities, colleges, and other educational institutions make informed decisions about admissions, scholarships, and academic progress.

Grading system in Canada: Two common grading scales used in Canada are,

  • GPA out of 4.0
  • GPA out of 9.0

1. Canada grading scale 1: GPA out of 4.0

The GPA scale of 4.0 is widely used in Canadian institutions and is familiar to many students. This scale assigns a numerical value to letter grades, which are typically A, B, C, D, and F. Each letter grade corresponds to a specific grade point, and the GPA is calculated by averaging these grade points over all courses taken during a certain period, such as a semester or an academic year.

2. Canada grading scale 2: GPA out of 9.0

Less common in certain Canadian institutions, the GPA scale of 9.0 provides a broader range of values to differentiate between various levels of performance. This scale may use different letter grades and grade points compared to the 4.0 scale, but the calculation method remains similar – the average grade points earned in all courses is taken.

Grading systems in different Canadian provinces

The Canada grading system is not standardised across the country. Each province has its education system and uses different grading criteria. Here are some grading systems in different Canadian provinces:

1. Grading system in Alberta

The grading system in Alberta is based on a percentage grading scale and provides a consistent way to measure students' knowledge and skills.

In Alberta, the grading system is based on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 being the minimum passing grade. The grading scale is broken down into letter grades, with A being the highest and F being the lowest grades. The letter grades are as follows:

Percentages to letter grades Alberta

Letter GradePercentageGrade Value
A+90-1004.3
A85-894
A-80-843.7
B+77-793.3
B73-763
B-70-722.7
C+67-692.3
C63-662
C-60-621.7
D+55-591.3
D50-541
F0-490

The grading system is used for all courses and subjects, including core academic subjects such as maths, science, and English, and elective courses such as art and physical education.

2. Grading system in British Columbia

In British Columbia, the grading system is designed to provide accurate and consistent feedback about a student's academic progress and achievement. The grading system also considers the student's work habits, such as attendance, punctuality, and class participation.

The grading scale in British Columbia ranges from 0 to 100, with a passing grade of 50 or higher. Grades are reported in percentages, although letter grades may also be used. The following is a breakdown of the grading scale and corresponding letter grades:

Percentages to letter grades British Columbia

Letter GradePercentage
A86-100%
B73-85%
C+67-72%
C60-66%
C-50-59%
F0-49%
I0-49% (Incomplete Assignment)
WStudent has withdrawn from the Course
PStudent has passed, but no grade available

Many schools in British Columbia also use a proficiency scale. It assesses a student's performance based on four levels of proficiency: emerging, developing, proficient, and extending. This allows educators to provide detailed feedback to students and parents about areas where a student may need additional support.

3. Grading system in Ontario

The grading system in Ontario is divided into two main categories: elementary school grades and secondary school grades. In elementary school, students are typically graded on a four-point scale (A, B, C, and D), while in secondary school, the grading system is more complex, with students being assigned percentage grades that are then converted into letter grades.

For students in grades 9-12, the grading system in Ontario is based on a percentage scale, with grades ranging from 0 to 100. The minimum passing grade for all courses is 50%. Once students receive their percentage grade, it is converted into a letter grade using a standardised chart. The chart used for secondary school grades in Ontario is as follows:

Percentages to letter grades Ontario

Letter GradePercentageNumerical Grade
A+95–100%10
A87–94%9
A−80–86%8
B+77–79%7
B73–76%6
B−70–72%6
C+67–69%5
C63–66%4
C−60–62%4
D+57–59%3
D53–56%2
D−50–52%1
F0–49%0

The letter grade system evaluates a student's overall performance in a course, including assignments, tests, quizzes, projects, and other assessments.

What is a passing grade in Ontario?

There is no letter grade or numerical score assigned, and the passing grade is set at 50% or higher. Students passing the course receive a P grade, while those failing receive an F grade.

4. Grading system in Nova Scotia

The grading system in Nova Scotia is based on a letter grading scale that ranges from A+ to F. Each letter grade is assigned a numerical value, with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest grade. 

Percentages to letter grades Nova Scotia

Letter GradePercentageDescription
A+90.00 - 100.00Excellent
A85.00 - 89.00Excellent
A-80.00 - 84.00Excellent
B+77.00 - 79.00Good
B73.00 - 76.00Good
B-70.00 - 72.00Good
C+65.00 - 69.00Satisfactory
C60.00 - 64.00Satisfactory
C-55.00 - 59.00Satisfactory
D50.00 - 54.00Marginally Pass
F0.00 - 49.00Inadequate

In addition to letter grades, Nova Scotia uses percentage grades to provide a more detailed evaluation of a student's performance. Percentage grades are used in individual assignments and tests, while letter grades summarise a student's overall performance in a course.

5. Grading system in Quebec

Quebec's grading system differs from the traditional letter grade system in many other parts of North America. In Quebec, the grading system uses percentages based on a scale from 0 to 100

Percentages to letter grades Quebec

Letter GradePercentageDescription
A+95-100%Exceptional 
A90-94%Outstanding
A-85-89%Excellent
B+80-84%Very Good
B75-79%Good
B-70-74%Average
C+65-69%Satisfactory
C60-64%Pass
C-55-59%Low Pass
D0-54%Fail

6. Grading system in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan often uses the traditional letter-grade system, which assigns letter grades to represent different levels of performance. The most common letter-grade system in Saskatchewan is as follows:

Percentages to letter grades Saskatchewan

Letter GradePercentageDescription
A+90.00 - 100.00Exceptional 
A80.00 - 89.99Excellent
B70.00 - 79.99Good
C60.00 - 69.99Satisfactory
D50.00 - 59.99Barely acceptable
F0.00 - 49.99Unacceptable

Also read: Understanding the higher education system in Canada

How to calculate GPA using Canadian educational standards?

Calculating GPA in the Canadian educational system involves assigning numerical values to letter grades and then averaging these values. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to calculate GPA using the Canadian standards:

1. Convert letter grades to numerical values

In Canada, letter grades are often converted to numerical values on a scale of 0 to 4.0 or 0 to 4.3, depending on the institution.

  • A+: 4.0 or 4.3
  • A: 4.0
  • A-: 3.7 or 3.9
  • B+: 3.3 or 3.7
  • B: 3.0
  • B-: 2.7 or 2.9
  • C+: 2.3 or 2.7
  • C: 2.0
  • C-: 1.7 or 1.9
  • D+: 1.3 or 1.7
  • D: 1.0
  • F: 0.0

2. Calculate weighted GPA for each course

For each course, multiply the numerical value of the grade received by the credit hours of the course. This will give you the weighted GPA for that course.

Weighted GPA = Numerical Grade Value × Credit Hours

3. Total Weighted GPA Points

Sum up the weighted GPA points from all courses.

4. Total Credit Hours

Sum up the credit hours of all courses.

5. Calculate GPA

Divide the total weighted GPA points by the total credit hours to obtain your GPA.

GPA = Total Weighted GPA Points / Total Credit Hours

6. Round off

Depending on the institution, you might need to round off the final GPA to the nearest decimal point.

Different Canadian institutions may have slight variations in their GPA scales or use different grading systems. 

The grading system in Canada plays a vital role in determining student's academic progress. It provides an objective, consistent, and fair method of evaluating academic achievement and encourages learners to strive for excellence.

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Frequently asked questions

Does Canada use GPA?

Yes, Canadian universities and colleges use a GPA (Grade Point Average) system to calculate a student's academic performance over some time. The GPA is calculated by assigning a numerical value to each letter grade and averaging them.

Do Canadian schools use a GPA system?

Yes, Canadian universities and colleges use a GPA (Grade Point Average) system to calculate a student's academic performance over some time. The GPA is calculated by assigning a numerical value to each letter grade and averaging them.

How is the final grade calculated in Canada?

The final grade is typically calculated based on exams, assignments, projects, and participation. The exact weight of each factor may vary depending on the course and the school or institution.

Is there a difference in grading systems between primary, secondary, and post-secondary education in Canada?

The grading system may vary between primary, secondary, and post-secondary education in Canada. For example, primary and secondary schools may use a percentage grading system while universities and colleges use a letter grade and GPA system.

What percentage is equivalent to a GPA of 3.5?

A GPA of 3.5 roughly corresponds to a percentage grade of around 87-89%.

What is the passing grade in Canada?

The passing grade is typically 50%, while certain institutions may need a higher grade.

Is 50 a passing grade?

Yes, generally, a grade of 50 is considered a passing grade.

What is 3.0 GPA in percentage in Canada?

A GPA of 3.0 is equivalent to 57-59%.

What is a 75 in letter grade?

A grade of 75 usually corresponds to a "B" on the letter grade scale.

What is a 78 in letter grade?

A grade of 78 percent is often around a "B+" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 65 in letter grade?

A grade of 65 percent is generally a "C" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 66 in letter grade?

A grade of 66 percent is usually around a "C" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 68 in letter grade?

A grade of 68 percent is generally a "C+" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 79 in letter grade?

A grade of 79 percent often corresponds to a "B+" on the letter-grade scale.

What letter grade is a 70?

A grade of 70 is generally a "B-" on the letter-grade scale.

What is an 88 percent grade?

An 88 percent grade is often equivalent to an "A" on the letter-grade scale.

What grade is a 77?

 A grade of 77 is usually a "B+" on the letter-grade scale.

What grade is a 79?

A grade of 79 is often a "B+" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 74 percent grade?

A grade of 74 percent is generally around a "B" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 79 percent grade?

A grade of 79 percent typically corresponds to a "B+" on the letter-grade scale.

What is an 81 percent grade?

An 81 percent grade is often around a "A-" on the letter-grade scale.

What is an 89 percent grade?

An 89 percent grade usually corresponds to an "A" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a 77 percent grade?

A grade of 77 percent is often around a "B+" on the letter-grade scale.

What is a B in Canada?

A "B" grade corresponds to around 73-76%.

What percent is a B+?

A "B+" grade corresponds to around 77-79%.

What is an 88 grade?

An 88 grade is often equivalent to an "A" on the letter-grade scale.

What is the percentage to letter grade in Ontario?

Here are the percentage to letter grade conversion in Ontario, 

Letter GradePercentageNumerical Grade
A+95–100%10
A87–94%9
A−80–86%8
B+77–79%7
B73–76%6
B−70–72%6
C+67–69%5
C63–66%4
C−60–62%4
D+57–59%3
D53–56%2
D−50–52%1
F0–49%0

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