ECTS-European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System and Grade distribution

ECTS-European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System and Grade distribution

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a tool of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for making studies and courses more transparent and thus helping to enhance the quality of higher education. It is designed to make it easier for students to move between different countries. Since they are based on the learning achievements and workload of a course, a student can transfer their ECTS credits from one university to another so they are added up to contribute to an individual’s degree programme or training. ECTS helps to make learning more student-centred. It is a central tool in the Bologna Process, which aims to make national systems more compatible.It also helps with the planning, delivery and evaluation of study programmes, and makes them more transparent.

ECTS is adopted as the national credit system in Italy: 1 Italian Credit (CFU) = 25 working hours = 1 ECTS Credit

ECTS credits express the volume of learning based on the defined learning outcomes and their associated workload. 60 ECTS credits correspond to the workload of a full-time academic year or its equivalent, which normally comprises a number of educational components to which credits are allocated.

First cycle qualifications (Bachelor programmes) typically include 180 ECTS credits. Second cycle qualifications (Master programmes) typically include 120 ECTS credits.

Grade distribution

Due to different cultural and academic traditions, European educational systems have developed not only different national grading scales but also different ways of using them within the same country, in different subject areas or institutions.

Since mobile students have the right to fair treatment and to transparency of their grades when credits are transferred from one institution to another, to ensure transparent and coherent information on the performance of the individual student, each HEI should provide – in addition to their national/institutional grading scale and an explanation of the scale – a statistical distribution table of the passing grades awarded in the programme or field of study attended by the student (grade distribution table) showing how the grading scale is actually used in that programme.

In Italy the grades for subject exams are measured in 30th (0-30): the minimum grade to pass is 18/30 and the maximum grade is 30/30. The maximum grade can be enhanced with “cum laude“ (30 cum laude).

The following grade distribution tables have been developed with data of passing grades of the last 3 academic years. They include the absolute number of passing grades awarded to each reference group identified, the percentages of the passing grades awarded to the reference group and the cumulative percentages (to be used for grade conversion).


The ongoing European Grade Conversion System project (EGRACONS) has developed an online tool to facilitate grade conversion and is free for universities to use.

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