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Common School Grades Names: Different Levels in Education

Grading in Schools

School grades names and their meanings play a big role in our lives and the education system. The grades we get in school act as a reflection of how we perform academically.

School grades or class grades are a traditional method of assessing performance in school. In some places, the grades used in school mark the academic achievement through a grading scale, as indicated in this write-up. 

Common College Grade Year Names

The names given to the years in college vary from country to country and from institution to institution. The names are sometimes interchangeably with a numbering system, especially for junior high school and below.

1. Freshman

A freshman is a first-year undergraduate. Freshmen typically take easier classes and earn fewer credit hours than sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

A first-year student is also called a freshman in many colleges and universities. This term applies to students in their first year of undergraduate studies.

Students entering graduate school are sometimes called fresh people as well; however, some schools use the name graduate students for students at this level.

Among the major challenges of a freshman is finding friends, get some tips to assist.

2. Sophomore

A sophomore is a second-year undergraduate. Sophomores usually have more difficult classes and earn more credit hours than first-year students, but not as many as juniors or seniors.

A sophomore is a student in their second year of study at high school or college. The word is from Greek leisure” and “aid”.

The term refers to students in the United States and Canada and in universities around the world.

Also, the word sophomore is used in the US to describe a student in the second year of university or college.

In England, it would be an A-level student who has completed AS levels and is studying towards their A2 levels.

3. Junior

A junior is a third-year undergraduate. Youngsters typically take more difficult classes and earn more credit hours than sophomores.

Grade Naming

They also often live on campus in their apartments or suites instead of dorms.

The term “Junior” refers to students in their third year of study (generally referring to third-year undergraduates) as distinct from seniors (fourth-year students) and sophomores (second-year students).

British usage is similarly used to denote a third-year undergraduate, although this may be interpreted differently depending on the context. Sometimes the term may also refer to second-year university students.

Many university faculties have their terminology instead of junior and senior such as “first-year”, “second-year”, etc.

4. Senior

A senior is a fourth-year undergraduate. Seniors typically take the most difficult classes and earn the most credit hours among undergraduates.

They also register for graduation at the beginning of the school year so they can graduate at the end of the year.

A senior is a student in the fourth year of study generally high school or college/university study at an educational institution.

In the United States, the twelfth grade is usually the fourth and final year of a student’s high school period and referred to as their senior year. In Ireland, it is generally referred to as the fifth year.

Why Grades are Given Nick-Names

A major reason for using grade nicknames is that schools often operate on a curve. In other words, each student’s grade is compared to their classmates’ grades rather than to an absolute standard.

The result can be that some students receive grades that do not reflect their actual performance.

For example, if the average student in a class receives a C, an above-average student could receive a B even though he deserves an A.

Grades are often curved so that only some students will receive As, but since this system creates confusion and seems unfair to many students, teachers may give these students nicknames such as “A-minus” or “B-plus” so they can feel better about their grades. 

This can also be beneficial to teachers because it makes grading easier if they have to consider whether an above-average student deserves it. In such cases, how is grade D viewed?

Common high school level names

1. Junior High School

A junior high school also called middle school, intermediate school or lower secondary school is an educational stage in some countries, providing education between primary and secondary school.

The concept, regulation and classification of middle schools and the ages covered vary between and sometimes within countries.

2. Junior College 

Common College Names

Different countries have different higher education systems, so the term “junior college” has different meanings depending on where it is used.

In the United States and Canada, this term generally refers to community colleges that offer diplomas, certificates and associate’s degrees. 

In the United Kingdom and Australia, however, junior college refers to secondary schools for students who are 16 years old or older.

This type of school may also be called a sixth form college because it provides classes during the last two years of high school — also known as “the sixth form.”

Names Given to Scored Grades

A grading system using letters (A-F) is often called grading on the curve or normalized grading. Grades are assigned based on a pre-determined distribution of grades in the class so that if everyone got the same grade on all assignments, the final grade would follow a bell curve distribution. 

This allows some leeway for subjective evaluation by allowing for different distributions of grades in different sections or even within a section.

Grading Names

The downside of this system is that it can penalize students who took challenging courses early or did not take as many AP classes.

Here are some of the more common names given to scored grades (A, B, C, D, E) based on the most common grading scales: 

  • A = Excellent/Distinction/Outstanding /Superior, Above and Beyond. A is the highest grade you can receive on an assignment, and it’s between 90% and 100%.
  • B = Very Good/High Pass/Merit/ Satisfactory, Consistent. B is still a pretty good grade! This is an above-average score, between 80% and 89%.
  • C = Good Pass/ Average, Marginal, Adequate
  • D = Poor Pass/Fail / Unsatisfactory, Struggling (passed but with no credit)
  • E = Fail (failed by a large margin or poor quality)