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Credits and Grading System in Italy

Credit and grading system are linked. A student is awarded credits for a course / module only if he or she receives clear the examinations associated with the course. The examinations may be by way of a written test, oral exam or continuous assessment.

Credit System

The reforms in higher education, especially the Bologna process, have initiated a common system of university credits (European Credit Transfer System or ECTS) in Italy. ECTS was initially set up for seamless transfer of credits and is used across Europe.

In general, university education is measured in terms of credits. The credit system was established to quantify the amount of work needed for each course and exam. Credits represent a typical student's total workload such as class time, individual work, preparation for test, practical at lab, field research etc. 1 credit is considered equivalent to 25 hours of work. 
The average full-time workload for one academic year per student is 60 credits, which is equivalent to 1500 hours of work. A University have the liberty to increase or decrease the credits for a course with the overall range of 1200 to 1800 hours.

The Italian universities adhere to certain principles in administering the credit system.
  • At least 50% percent of the course time is assigned to individual learning and training, except for the courses that include practical or laboratory work.

  • Credits are earned by the student only when he or she passes a particular assessment for respective course of the study.

  • Universities also recognize credits for professional skills and experience, according to the regulations set up constantly by the education committees.

Grading System

Grades make measuring varying levels of academic easy. Over the years, academic institutions have been successful in bringing uniformity in grading the students.

Primary and Secondary School Grading

In Italy’s educational culture, significant weightage is given to oral expression. The principal means of assessing a student’s’ progress is oral exam (interrogazione) and this method of assessment begins right at elementary schools. This practice of early oral assessment prepares a student to perform in university system.

Secondary school grading vary from 10 (excellent) to 1 (impossible to assess), with the sufficiency being 6.

 Scale Grade Description
 9.00 - 10.00 Ottimo (Excellent)
 8.00 - 8.99 Distinto (With Distinction)
 7.00 - 7.99 Buono (Good)
 6.00 - 6.99 Sufficiente (Sufficient)
 0.00 - 5.99 Respinto (Fail)

University Grading

 In Italy, universities  mostly administer oral exams. For regular exams, universities use a 30-point scale, with 18 being the pass mark and the highest marks achievable  (i.e. 30) is termed as “cum laude".

University course grading scale

 Scale Grade Description
 29.00 - 30.00 Ottimo - Cum Laude (With honors and commendations)
 27.00 - 28.99 Molto Buono (Very Good)
 24.00 - 26.99 Buono (Good)
 19.00 - 23.99 Soddisfacente (Satisfactory)
 18.00 - 18.99 Sufficiente (Sufficient)
 0.00 - 17.99 Respinto (Fail)

100-point scale

The final university result is based on all the exams attended by the student plus the assessment of the presentation of a project or dissertation in front of a panel of examiners. When student graduates, a final numerical grade for the entire degree program is given. For the final score a 110-point scale is used, with 66 as the grade for passing. The 110-point scale takes into consideration the exam scores and the final thesis. The Lode "praise" is added to the maximum grade in case of outstanding performance.
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