Grading System of Iran

Iran’s primary and secondary educational system, which is based on French model of education, has not seen much changes since the Pahlavis came to power.

Preschool System

The one year long pre-schooling begins at age 5 to 6, where students are not entitled for any examination.

Primary Education

The five year of primary education begins from age 7 through 11, the three years of middle education is designed for age group 11 to 14 and three years of secondary education is meant for ages 14 to 17. Students have to appear for national examinations at the end of every grade during their secondary education to get promoted to the next level.

Diploma & Higher Education Degrees

The higher school education in Iran was introduced to the concept of Credit Unit system after the reform of 1990. On the completion of 11th grade, students are bestowed with high school diploma. However, in order to obtain this, they have to complete a total of 96 units including 60 units in the initial 2 years and 36 units in the last year. Similarly, 30 units have to be completed to acquire pre-university certificate and 96 units for obtaining Technical/Vocational high school diploma.

Kardani or Higher Technical Diploma

Institutes of technology and medicine offer two year post secondary degree to those students who manage to complete 68 to 78 units.

Karshenasi or Bachelor’s Degree

This degree is offered at the end of the four years of university education to those students who are able to complete 130-140 semester hours.

Karshenasi-Arshad or Master’s Degree

To reach this level, students first have to appear for a competitive examination and once they enter they have to complete 36-40 semester credit hours to obtain the degree. However, in order to be qualified for the degree, one has to submit a written thesis along with securing a passing grade of 12 in a comprehensive test.

Doctor of Philosophy degree or Ph.D.

Competitive examinations are held for screening the best students for this degree. And after admission, students have to complete 3 years of education consisting of 60 units and pass a comprehensive test too. Once this is done, they are moved to the dissertation level.

For university courses, students need to complete their pre-university training first which spans over one year and after this a national level entrance examination is conducted for screening the most suitable candidates for higher education.
However, it should be noted that not just at pre-university level but at other levels of primary and secondary education also tests are conducted. Students are promoted to the next level only on the basis of their performance in the examinations. Where do they stand in their tests is determined by a simple grading system.

Academic Grading Structure

All levels of education starting from primary to university follow a 0-20 scale in grading system. For moving on to the next level at 1-12th grade and undergraduate courses, students have to score an average of 10 points. However, graduate programs require 12 points which is equivalent to Grade C, while Doctoral program needs 14 points which equals Grade B. 20 point is equivalent to Grade A which is worth 4 points, while 10 point is equivalent to Grade D and is worth 1 point.
For a clear understanding, the grading system is represented in a tabular format below:

 Scale 1
Scale 2    
 A 4
 B 3
 C 2
 D 1
 F 0
Students who score 16–20 points pass with highest distinction. It means they were excellent in their tests. Scoring 14–15.99 on a scale of 0-20 means the student is very good and has passed with higher distinction. If a student achieves 12–13.99 points, it means he or she has been good and passed the examination with distinction. Getting 10-11.99 points is acceptable; but those who get 0-9.99, which means Fail, are not promoted to the next level.

From this, it is easy to understand that every student needs to score a 10 in order to get promotion from one level to another. This grading system is uniformly followed by every institution in Iran.

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