Why There’s No E in the Grading Scale

Want some random trivia? The standard grading scale in the U.S. goes like this: A, B, C, D, and F. Why isn’t there an E in there? Turns out the answer is pretty simple, according to, a site that’s brimming with random trivia.

In most schools, grades A through D are considered passing grades. They let you know how well or poorly you did on an assignment, but as long as you got one of those four grades, you’ve passed.

The F is different. It’s not really a letter grade at all–it’s actually short for the word “fail,” which lets you know in no uncertain terms that you performed so poorly on the assignment that you should probably reconsider what you’re doing in the class in the first place. I kid, but kinda not really.

However, TIFO digs into the history of the grading system in this country, and finds a whole bunch of chaos until Mount Holyoke College came up with the letter system most schools use today. You can read more about the history of grades here.

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