A 10-point system is used in both secondary and higher education, with 6 being the minimum pass mark. In secondary education, a 5.5 is rounded off to a 6. In higher education, a 5.5 is sometimes also sufficient. Grades 1 through 3 are almost never issued.
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Dutch higher education institutions apply the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS):
- 1 credit = 28 hours of study
- 60 credits = 1 year of study
- 1 academic year = 42 weeks
For more information about the ECTS, consult the ECTS Users’ Guide published by the European Commission.
Binding recommendations (BSA)
Students of a higher education programme will receive a binding recommendation on continuation of studies (bindend studieadvies, BSA) at the end of their first year of study. This means that students will have to gain a certain minimum of ECTS during their first year in order to be allowed to proceed to the second year. Most HBO and academic programmes apply a minimum of 30 or 45 ECTS. A small number of programmes apply a minimum of 60 ECTS. If a student fails to meet this standard, in most cases his or her enrolment will be automatically terminated. These students are then generally barred from enrolling in the same study programme for several years.
Students are issued a first-year certificate when they have obtained 60 ECTS. Students enrolled in a programme where the binding recommendation is set at 45 ECTS per year do not necessarily have to obtain this certificate within the first year.