Academic Grading System in Japan

The academic evaluation technique in Japan is highly methodical. Constant attention is juxtaposed between the highs and lows candidate’s. The marking system is simplistic, for the parents to follow. As and when the student reaches the higher realms of education, he is introduced to an elaborate marking set up.

The performance based grading system in Japanese education varies from school to school and university to university. The most common pattern of grading is done into percentages or into grades like A, B, C, D, E. Each grade denotes certain range of percentage.

Grading Scales

School education in Japan is comprises:
  • Elementary Level Education
  • Secondary Education
  • High School Education
The elementary level education of 6 years and secondary education of 3 years is compulsory for all children in Japan. Exam pattern for elementary, secondary and high school are more or less the same. But till middle level of education i.e., till secondary school, all the students are passed in the exam. None of the students are failed or kept behind in the same class. All students are promoted to the next class irrespective of how they had performed in the examination or whatever grades they have scored.

All the academic activities and studies are taught to the students of elementary and secondary schools and all students are made to sit for an exam. But even if anybody fails that student is promoted to the next class, whatever is the performance in the test or exam.

But it is again compulsory that every student has to take all the exams sincerely as these exams build a base for upcoming entrance exams, which they have to get through the same in order to get acceptance in a high school. These days, parents are more concerned getting their kids admitted in reputed schools. They even send their kids to private institutes for making them well prepared for entrance exams. Such institutions or organizations are known as Juku.


GradeScaleGrade Description
US Grade
 S 90.00 - 100.00 Exemplary A  Rarely given
 A  90.00 - 100.00 Exemplary A  
 A 80.00 - 89.99 Very Good A 
 B 70.00 - 79.99 Good B 
 C 60.00 - 69.99 Satisfactory C 
 F 0.00 - 59.99 Fail F 
 P  Pass P 

For assessment of college or university students, grading system is on 5 scales i.e. A, S, B, C and F. If any student fails in any subject at degree level or postgraduate level, then he/she has to take the exam of same subject again in the following semester.

4-Scale University

 Grade Scale Grade Description US Grade
 A 80.00 - 100.00 Very good A
 S 80.00 - 100.00 Very good A
 B 70.00 - 79.99 Good B
 C 60.00 - 69.99 Average, Pass C
 F 0.00 - 59.99 Fail F

This grading system is for the assessment of the performance of the students as well as for encouraging poor and bright students. The grading system brings fluidity within the education system and facilitates better learning environment. Even if any candidate fails to pass the exam, few more attempts are given to clear the exams and get qualified for the entitlement of the degree.

The grading system has eliminated unhealthy competition among high achievers. It has also helped students to become more confident and reduce exam phobia. But, the only negative concern about the whole grading system is that the meritorious candidates feel disregarded for their hard work.

Nevertheless, the grading system is buoyant and presents a scope for improvement in performance of students in future qualifying examinations.
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