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Australian Grading System – Primary, High School, TAFE and University

The Australian School System has three main levels of education: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.

Primary and Secondary follow an alphabetical grading system, where A is the highest achievement and F is the lowest.  For most students studying at this level the expected achievement is a C grade as it demonstrates that the student is competent at that level.

TAFE and University Grading System

Tertiary education, which includes TAFE (Technical and Further Education) and University, the general markings range from High Distinction (HD) as the highest and F (Fail) is the lowest. However, many universities have other markings for exceptions to standard pass and fail grades. It is best to check with the tertiary education centre you are intending to enrol with on these exceptions, but for the most part you will deal with the standard result marking formats.

Primary & Secondary School grading system – Years P – 10 (Compulsory Levels)

GradePercentage Mark
A> 85
B70 – 84
C51 – 69
D31 – 50
E26 – 30
F< 25

These grades are used as indicators to how the student is progressing through their studies, rather than the traditional pass or fail marks. If a student has achieved a C grade they are learning at the required rate, anything above and the student may receive extended work, anything below and the student may be offered extra assistance.

Secondary School grading system – Years 11 & 12

For years 11 & 12 the marking grades are the same, but the resulting certificate varies according to the state.

StateCertificate Award

During years 11 & 12 students are given the opportunity to obtain an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) so they may apply to study at university.

TAFE & University grading system

TAFE and University using a grading system that are similar to primary and secondary schools however the actual letter grades are different. It also differs in that a student may fail a class and will need to repeat the subject for credit points to be given.

GradeMeaningPercentage Mark
HDHigh Distinction> 85
DDistinction75 – 84
CCredit65 – 74
PPass50 – 64
FFail< 50

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A GPA is given to reflect the result that a student has achieved during study. Points are awarded based on the results achieved and then averaged to create a GPA score.

F1 or 0

A GPA is often used when a student is applying for higher tertiary courses, such as Medicine or Law.

Author: Sim K


Sim K


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