Why No E? …August 7, 2013

EA, B, C, D, F, wait… wait… where’s the E? Ever wonder why you received an assortment of grades while in school, but not an E?

Early records of grades received by students did include an E. One record from Holyoke College indicates an E being used, but it was the lowest grade, as an F is now. Some time later the administrators changed the failing grade to an F, still retaining the E as standing for grades between 75 to 79 percentile. No specific date is discernable as to when E was eliminated but most colleges had discontinued its use by 1930. It was speculated that the instructors during this time were concerned that the E grade would be mistaken for “excellent”.

There  is some thought that the letter E was eliminated from all but primary schools to avoid confusion as the primary schools used the letters E, S, N, and U to signify Excellent, Satisfactory, Needs improvement, and Unsatisfactory.  Some used E to standE for effort for effort and good behavior, rather than F standing for failure of a well-behaved child.

There is some speculation that E was eliminated as a grade because an F could be easily changed to an E. A child could tell father his grade was E and it stood for excellence, and if the father was in the habit of paying for good grades, the father could be scammed.

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