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Italy

Education

STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION SYSTEM IN ITALY

Education in Italy is free and compulsory from 6-25 years of age, and is divided into five stages:

  • Kindergarten (Scuola Materna)
  • Elementary school (Scuola Elementare)
  • Middle school (Scuola Media)
  • High school (Liceo)
  • University (Università)

School Years

Pre-school Education - Nursery school, Non-compulsory: Three years - Age 3 to 6
    
Primary Education - Primary School: Five Years - Age 6 to 11
                
Secondary Education

  • First Grade Secondary School
    + 3 Years - Age 11 to 14              
  • Second Grade Secondary School
    + 5 Years - Age 14 to 19
  • Professional Secondary School
    + Year 1 Triennio - Age 14 to 15
    + Year 2 Triennio - Age 15 to 16
    + Year 3 Triennio - Age 16 to 17 (Professional Qualification)

    + Year 1 Biennio, age 17 to 18
    + Year 2 Biennio, age 18 to 19 (Licenza Professionale)

Bachelor's degree: Four Years - Age 19 to 22/23
                
Master's degree: Two Years - Age 22 to 24

PhD: Three, Four or Five Years

Italy has both public and private education systems.

GRADING SYSTEM

In Italian primary and secondary school a 10-point scale is used, 6 being the minimum grade for passing. Specifications such as +, -, "double minus" ("="), half grades ("double plus") and "between" grades, such as 6/7, are often used.

Prior to 2008, elementary and middle schools used a 5-point scale, with Non Sufficiente meaning "5 or less", and the other grades - Sufficiente, Buono, Distinto, Ottimo - standing respectively for 6, 7, 8 and 9/10.

A 10 is very rare to score, as well as a 0/1. The weakest grade a student can normally get is a 3 or a 2. An 8 is usually considered a very good grade, and a 9 is an excellent grade.

The average grade goes between 4 and 7.

University

For ordinary exams, Universities in Italy use a 30-point scale simply divided in two: non passing (0 to 17), and passing grades (18 to 30 cum laude). For the final dissertation a 110-point scale is used, which is divided in two as well, with 66 being the minimum grade for passing. For outstanding results, the Lode "praise" is added to the maximum grade.

ECTS Grading Scale

The ECTS grading scale is a grading system defined in the ECTS framework by the European Commission.

ECTS Grade Definition  % of successful students Corresponding Italian grades
A Excellent 10% 30-30 cum Laude
B Very Good 25% 27-29
C Good 30% 24-26
D Satisfactory 25% 19-23
E Sufficient 10% 18
FX Fail   14-17
F Fail   0-13


To someone familiar with both the Italian and the U.S. college systems, Italian grades are best translated into American grades (and vice versa) according to the following table:

U.S. Grade Definition Corresponding Italian grades

A-, A, A+

Excellent

27-30 cum Laude

B-, B, B+

Good

24-26

C-, C, C+

Satisfactory

21-23

D-, D, D+

Barely passing

18-20

E or F

Fail

0-17

 

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