GRADE:  (variation 1) As in:  What "grade" are you in?  Bounce a "G" hand up and down, up, and down again on the palm of your hand.
This is an initialized form of "school."
Many people prefer to fingerspell this concept.

If you were talking about the grade on your paper you could also use the sign "number" (which can be used to mean "score.")

This particular sign has many meanings:
NEGATIVE / MINUS / CON-(a negative) / ASSIGNMENT / GRADE:

Note: a friend writes:

I see in your dictionary that the sign for 'grade' (as a grade on a student's paper) can also mean 'minus.'
I thought that minus/negative was done with an index finger while grade was done with a G hand shape.  Am I wrong about that?=

Dr. Bill replies:  Lyn, you bring up a good point.
I'd say that the minus/negative/con sign uses a "1-hand-bent-version"-wrist is straight, index finger is straight large knuckle of index finger is bent.
I'd say taht the "GRADE" sign tends to use more of a "G" hand.  Thus in the graphic above I'm signing the negative version and to make it more clearly mean "GRADE" I could/should straighten that thumb out a bit.

Notes on "G hands":
"1-hand" = wrist is straight, index finger is straight, large knuckle of index is not bent, thumb is slightly wrapped
"1-hand-bent-version"-wrist is straight, index finger is straight large knuckle of index finger is bent.
"G-hand"-(knuckles-forward-version)-index finger points mostly to non-dominant side, large-index-knuckle is bent, palm is pointing to non-dominant bicep area, thumb is parallel to index-finger, wrist is straight.
"G-hand"-(knuckles-up-version)-thumb is parallel to index finger, flat of fingernail is pointing up, wrist is slightly cocked back (so as to not look like a Q).
"G-hand-open-thumb-version"-similar to "knuckles forward version" but the thumb points upward or somewhat upward.

The friend responds:

I thought that the minus/negative sign was a Straight index finger (not bent at any knuckle) to represent a 'minus-sign.'.   Thanks for all the information below, i will surely take it into account and will hope to remember it in the future!  Gosh there is SO MUCH to learn if one wants to understand things beyond the basics, huh?
Dr. Bill replies:  I'm sure if we went looking we would see MINUS done both ways.
Doing MINUS totally straight (with a straight large knuckle) though tends to cause you to have to bend the wrist more or stick the elbow out to the side.  Thus a slight bend makes the sign faster and easier to do.  In "formal" or citation examples of MINUS we are likely to see a straighter knuckle -- but in faster more casual signing we are likely to see the large knuckle bend a bit.

However, if we "do" sign MINUS using a totally straight arm, wrist, and index-finger using a large inward sweeping movement -- it can mean "a HUGE negative!" (Bad aspect of a thing or situation).
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Question: Why would the sign MOSES use the sign for GLASSES?
Response:  I think the MOSES sign may have originally been based on white hair on Moses. (According to the story, Moses saw God and then Moses' hair turned white.)  The sign could ostensibly have started as WHITE-HAIR and mutated into GLASSES.
-- Dr. Bill

This version also means: CANCEL / CORRECT / CRITICIZE:
Use the tip of your index finger to draw an "X" on the palm of your weak hand.
I start at the top right of the palm and move toward the bottom left.  Then I "draw" a line from the top left of the palm toward the bottom right of the palm.

Animation:  CANCEL

GRADE as in "I need to check my student's papers before tomorrow."
If you are talking about grading papers, in addition to the "cancel/criticize" sign, you could use the "check / investigate / research" sign.

CHECK:  The idea behind this sign is to draw a "check" mark on your hand
The actual movement is very quick and relatively straight. The tip of the right index finger quickly moves down and forward, glancing off the upturned left palm.

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American Sign Language University ™ ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars