How does it compare the 1-10 scale to the 1-4 scale? What is the GPA? Recommended guidelines for US-Italy grade conversion

The so called Grade Point Average, for short GPA, is the scaled used by the American academic system to measure the students' academic progress.

While most academic systems in many countries use the 1-10 scale, the American scale goes from 0 to 4.0.

Universities use the letter system (A, B, C, D, E and F), but these letters also correspond to a GPA number. Some colleges also use the +/- system, adding therefore more possibilities to the GPA scale: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, etc. Also in this case each letter (and sign) is represented by a numer in the scale. For example:

  • A+ or A= 4.0
  • A-= 3.66
  • B+= 3.33
  • B = 3.0
  • B- = 2.66
  • C+ = 2.33
  • C = 2.0
  • F = FAIL 

An average of 7,5 in the 1-10 scale is about the 3.0 (or C) of the American system, while the passing grade is most of the time somewhere between 2.0 and 2.5.*

* N.B.  Please note that in the USA the decimal number is denoted using a dot (.) while many countries use the comma (,). In the USA the comma (,) denotes the thousands.

For example:

  • 3,5 (three comma five) in America has no meaning, the right way to write it down will be 3.5 (three point five)
  • 3.500 (tre thousand five hundred) in the USA will be 3,500


US-Italy grade conversion

At the present time, there is no international agreement between the US and Italy regarding the a priori recognition of  respective  academic  titles nor of official equivalencies between the academic grading systems. The following guidelines are recommended by the U.S.- Italy Fulbright Commission, based on experience with both educational systems.

However, individual US and Italian institutions or entities may choose to follow or vary from these suggested guidelines.

Grades in Italian high schools are awarded on a 10-point scale for each term; 6 is the passing mark, and instructors rarely award marks on either extreme (1-3 or 9-10).Final grades are issued in whole numbers, whereas mid-term grades may include minuses, pluses, half-grades, etc. in the following order from low to high (e.g., 6--, 6-, 6, 6+, 6.5, 6/7, 7--, etc.).

Italian high school students must concentrate in a certain area of study, however the curriculum likely includes a distribution of courses, similar to the core requirements in a US liberal arts structure. Regardless of their concentrations, if students fail to earn the passing mark (6) in any subject(s), they are obliged to participate in “debito” (remedial/make-up) lessons during the summer. After remedial summer study, if students subsequently pass a school-set exam in the “debito” area(s), they may be promoted to the next class.

For more details please download the full Conversion Guidelines here