Credential Evaluation Tips for Chinese Grading Scales

As a credential evaluator, when I am working on a transcript, looking for the grading scale information is always one of the first things I do. Applying the correct grading scale is an essential part of credential evaluation, as the grading scale used for evaluation greatly affects the student’s GPA.

A challenging yet interesting part of our job is that we don’t always find the grading scale information on the transcript. It all depends on which country the transcript is from. China is among the countries that don’t regularly include grading scale information on their transcripts. 

You may have learned that the most common grading system used by Chinese institutions at both the secondary and post-secondary levels is the 5-tier grading system, as shown below, with 60% as the minimum passing grade. It is also referred to as the standard grading scale of China.

Percentage

Chinese Description

English Description

Letter Grade

90-100%

优秀 or 优 

Excellent

A

80-89%

良好 or 良 

Good

B

70-79%

中等 or 中 

Fair, Average, Medium

C

60-69%

及格 

Marginal, Pass

D

0-59%

不及格 

Fail

F


Some Chinese institutions use a 4-tier grading system instead, and the most common 4-tier scale is as follows:

Percentage

Chinese Description

English Description

Letter Grade

85-100%

优秀 or 优 

Excellent

A

70-84%

良好 or 良 

Good

B

60-69%

中等 or 中 

Fair, Average, Medium

C

0-59%

不及格 

Fail

F


However, we have found that in recent years more and more Chinese institutions are developing their own customized grading scales which differ from the grading scales mentioned above. For example, in the fall of 2017, Sichuan University switched from the standard grading scale to a new scale with 86-100% as Excellent, 76-85% as Good, etc. 

Therefore, if you don’t find the grading scale information on the Chinese transcripts you are working on, which is common, never assume that they use the standard grading scale. 

My suggestion is to take an extra step to do more research to confirm the grading scale used for the specific Chinese institution. It is true that most information on the Chinese institution websites is in Chinese. Luckily, with the powerful search engine technology we have today, you don’t need to pass the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) to find the grading scales for Chinese institutions.  

I would like to share some tips on how to do an online search for grading scales for a specific Chinese institution. 

First, if the Chinese institution is using Chinese descriptors for their grading scale, you can try searching with the institution’s web address plus “优 良 中 及格”. For example, I did a search for University of International Business and Economics, and believe it or not, I found the grading regulation right away.


Second, you can also try searching with the institution’s web address plus one of the following phrases to find the official regulation, which might include the grading scale information:


1. 课程考核管理规定 (Course Assessment Regulations)

2. 学籍管理条例 (Student Status Regulations)

3. 课程考核与成绩记载 (Course Assessment and Grade Recording)

4. 成绩评分标准 (Grade Assessment Standard)

5. 成绩与绩点 (Grade and Grade Point)

6. 成绩管理规定 (Grade Management and Regulations)


Finally, once you have found the regulation page, you may use Google Chrome or Google Translate to translate the page to your preferred language so that you can get the details of the grading information and when the regulation went into effect. Keep in mind that some institutions have different grading scales at different time periods. 

It is also worth mentioning that not all Chinese institutions publish their grading scale information on their websites. Therefore, if you are not able to find the grading scale of a Chinese institution, you may ask the student to submit an official document confirming the grading scale issued by the Chinese institution. What makes a document official in China? In most cases it’s a red round stamp!


Jade Jiang Rieger has been an Evaluator at ECE since 2013. Her specialty areas include East Asia and North America. She is a native of Guangxi, China.


 

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