I think I remember asking a teacher this question when I moved from
elementary school, where grades were Highly Satisfactory (H), Satisfactory
(S), or Unsatisfactory (U), to junior high, where grades A, B, C, D, F.  She
(or it could have been a "he") replied that E was not used because some
school districts or teachers assigned E as the grade which means
"Excellent."  To avoid any confusion as people moved from district to
district, F was used.

Caution:  Junior high was so long ago for me that I may be inventing this
history to fit a convenient rationalization for an otherwise unexplained


At 06:26 AM 1/6/98 -1000, you wrote:
>Welcome to 00-2 Folks,
>Hope your holidays were everything they were supposed to be.  Last night -
>near abouts 2 AM - I woke up with a VERY strange question running through
>the unexplored region twixt my ears.  I have no idea why this particular
>question woke me up, but this is the LAST time I will pig out on
>jalapeno-chilli-cheese burritos while watching Babylon 5 in the wee hours!
>Here's the question:  Where did the practice of assigning the letters A, B,
>C, D, and F as grades come from?  Why don't we use the E?
>Any insights would be appreciated.
>"It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me.  It's the one
>addressed "To Whom it May Concern." Anonymous

Julia N. Visor, Coordinator
University Center for Learning Assistance
Assistant Professor of English
Illinois State University
Campus Box 4070
Normal IL  61790-4070
ph 309-438-7100
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