The word "grade" is an important word to know when talking about education in the United States.

Report cards show students’ progress with a grading system.

grade percentage value
90 – 100%
80 – 89%
70 – 79%
60 – 69%
below 59%
  • Bernie’s teacher gave him a C on his report card for the subject of math. He’s not very happy with that grade.
  • Vanessa earned an A+ on her test. She got every answer correct. She’s happy with that grade.
  • Students who receive failing grades have to repeat the class.
  • Some teachers are hard graders. They make their students work hard for good grades.

gradesVanessa got an A+ on her test.


The word "grade" is also used as a noun when talking about the level at which a student is attending school. Grades generally correspond to age:

  • Tina is in first grade. She’s six years old. She’s a first grader.
  • Bill is in second grade. He’s seven years old. He’s a second grader.
  • The students in Miss Jackson’s class are third graders. Most of them are eight years old. Miss Jackson has been teaching third grade for the last two years.
  • I used to teach eleventh grade English. Most of my students were 16 or 17 years old.

The word "grade" can also be used to indicate the steepness of a hill or a mountain.

  • Truck drivers must pay strict attention to highway grades, especially when the roads are covered with snow or ice.
  • Drivers approaching this hill must be very careful because of the steep grade.

steep grade The grade of the upcoming hill is very steep.

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December 8, 2013