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Set up the grades tool

Manage Grades tool

The grades tool

The Grades tool in D2L allows you to enter and manage grades for your course. When entering the Grades tool, the default view will be the Manage Grades page - the perfect place to begin setting up grades.

 Note: If you do not see Grades in the top navigation, please review our tutorial to learn how to enable course tools.

  

 

Manage Grades tool

Grade items

Grade items (1) are required. You can only enter grades in a Numeric Grade Item.

Create a grade item.

 

 

 

Grade categories

Grade categories (2) are optional. They are a feature used to help organize your grade items and group together several related grade items. You can't enter grades in the categories themselves, but rather the items within them.

For example, you might want to create a grade category called “Quizzes”, or “Assignments” to group together items of the same type. This is especially useful if you have multiple quizzes in your course, and all the “Quizzes” make up 30% of the final grade. A category will allow you to apply a weight of 30% to the Quizzes category.  In the image to the right, you'll see the Quizzes category is comprised of four weekly quizzes. Categories appear in the darker grey row.  

Create grade categories.

 

 

Weighted grades

The default grade scheme in D2L uses weighted grades. This means the course grade is divided into component parts, with each part being worth some percentage of the total grade that adds up to 100.

Manage Grades tool

For example: You have an exam out of 75 points. If the exam counts for 20% of the final grade, the grade item has a weight of 20 and a max points of 75. You will input the student's score out of 75. The Grades tool will do the weighted calculation, using the score out of 75 to calculate the item's weight of the final calculated grade (in this case, 20%).

We highly recommend hiding your grade columns at the start of term.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. It may be upsetting for a student to see a 0 value grade (or even an F), even if they know it is too early for those grades to be official.
  2. As you begin entering grades, students may receive notification emails (if they have enabled them). Some students may contact you if they hear that their peers have received grades when they haven't yet.
  3. Also related to email notifications, some workflows may send students notifications of incomplete grades - again, leading them to believe they have achieved a 0 on an assignment.

Overall, based on feedback we have received from instructors since we began using Brightspace, setting all grade items  as 'Hidden' (or scheduled for a future date release) seems to offer the best student and instructor experience.

The Grade Settings

The grade settings allow you to control a number of elements in the Grades tool, including how it calculates the final grades and the default settings for displaying grades to students and to the instructor.

  • Start by going into the Grades tool, and clicking the 'Settings' button in the top-right corner.

Calculation Options

The 'Calculation Options' tab contains settings for selecting the grading system used to calculate the final grades, the final grade column to be released to RAMSS at the end of term, and the way that ungraded items are treated in the gradebook.

  • Click the 'Calculation Options' tab a at the top of the Settings page.

Grading System

The 'grading system' refers to the method used to calculate the final grades in Brightspace.

Weighted

Your course in D2L will automatically have the gradebook set to the weighted grading system.

99% of the time, Ryerson instructors will use this grading system, as it matches the way that most of us structure our course outlines. It is based on the idea that a graded item has a percentage value in the final grade.

For example, the midterm test may be worth 20% of the final grade, and can be marked out of 100 points. Therefore, the midterm test has a weight of 20.

 

Points

This calculation method simply adds up the maximum points of all of the items in the grade book, and creates a final grade based on that value. As seen in the example on the left, this can create a grade out of more than 100.

Formula

This calculation method is rarely used for courses at Ryerson, and relies on a certain level of comfort with a formula generator. If you are interested in trying this method of calculating your final grade, we highly recommend meeting with one of our support team so that we can work with you.

 

Final Grade Released

The Grades tool in Brightspace has two options for the final grade: Final Calculated grade and Final Adjusted grade.

Final Calculated

Your course in D2L will automatically have the gradebook set to the 'Final Calculated' grade.

The 'Final Calculated' (or 'Calculated Final') grade is the grade that D2L calculates for the final, based on the values you have entered into the grade columns and the grading system you have selected.

The 'Final Calculated' grade cannot be edited itself, but you can exempt students from certain grade items.

Final Adjusted

If you need to manually edit the students' final grades, you will want to use the 'Final Adjusted' (or 'Adjusted Final') grade.

The 'Final Adjusted' grade can used to manually enter the students' final grades. This can be useful if you have done the final grade calculation outside of D2L (i.e. in Excel).

 *Note: please ignore the 'Automatically release final grade' checkbox in this section. As final grades are not permitted to be shared with students in D2L Brightspace, we have disabled the ability to release the final grades at all.

 

Ungraded Items

'Ungraded items' are items in the grade book that haven't yet been graded. In some cases, the student may not have even submitted to that particular assignment/test.

These settings allow you to determine how these 'ungraded' items appear (to you and the students) and how they factor into calculations.

Treat ungraded items as 0

Your course in D2L will automatically have the gradebook set to 'treat ungraded items as 0'.

This setting assumes that all student grades are considered 0 until you update it with another value.

The benefit to this option is that the calculations will remain accurate, even if a value is not entered. For example, if a student does not complete an assignment, you don't have to actually enter a grade of 0 for that value to be set in the calculations.

The downside is that, unless you hide the grade items initially, students may see that they have a value of 0 for their work and may be concerned.

The reason this is set as the default setting is as a safety net in case a value of 0 is not manually entered for a student (which would result in an inflated grade submitted to RAMSS).

 

Drop ungraded items

This setting assumes that the grade is excluded/exempted from the student's grades and calculations until you update it with another value.

The benefit to this setting is that, if the grades are visible to the students, the students will see a dash instead of a grade value for any grades where the instructor hasn't actually entered a grade.

The downside is that any student who doesn't complete an assignment needs to have a value of 0 entered for their grade, otherwise their final grade calculation will be inflated, which could result in an incorrect (higher) grade submitted to RAMSS.

Auto Update

You can choose whether D2L automatically keeps the final grades updated or not. If you turn this off, you can choose to turn it back on at any time.

Your course in D2L will automatically have the gradebook set to 'automatically keep final grades updated'.

The Grade Settings

The grade settings allow you to control a number of elements in the Grades tool, including how it calculates the final grades and the default settings for displaying grades to students and to the instructor.

  • Start by going into the Grades tool, and clicking the 'Settings' button in the top-right corner.

Org Unit Display Options

This tab contains settings that impact others in the course, including students and managing members (like Instructors, TAs, Graders, etc.)

Student View - Grade Details

This section lists the different types of grade that can be displayed to the students in the gradebook.

Select all of the variations of the grade that you want them to see.

Points grade

This is the score grade that you enter into the grade column (i.e. 52/55)

Weighted grade

This is the calculation of the grade item as it is represented in the final grade (i.e. 20/30)

Grade scheme symbol

This is the grade as dictated by the grade scheme you have selected. The default grade scheme is 'percentage', but you may select a different grade scheme, like Letter RU or Complete/Incomplete.

Grade scheme color

Each level in a grade scheme may have an associated colour. This is often most beneficial to the instructors, so they can easily use the colour cues to see how many students have achieved each level, at a glance. This may not be as useful for students to see.

Characters & decimals

These two settings allow you to determine how many decimal places to display (in a numeric grade item) and number of characters to display (in a text item).

Personal Display Options

This tab contains settings that impact you, personally. You, as the Instructor of the course, are able to modify your display settings individually. These changes will not impact what other Instructors in the course see, or what the TAs see.

User details

Automatically, your gradebook will show the students' first and last names in the Enter Grades view.

Here, you can enable two more pieces of information:

  • their username
  • their Org Defined ID (student number)

Grade Details

This section lists the different types of grade that can be displayed to you in the gradebook.

Select all of the variations of each student grade that you want to see.

Points grade

This is the score grade that you enter into the grade column (i.e. 52/55)

Weighted grade

This is the calculation of the grade item as it is represented in the final grade (i.e. 20/30)

Grade scheme symbol

This is the grade as dictated by the grade scheme you have selected. The default grade scheme is 'percentage', but you may select a different grade scheme, like Letter RU or Complete/Incomplete.

Grade scheme color

Each level in a grade scheme may have an associated colour. This is often most beneficial to the instructors, so they can easily use the colour cues to see how many students have achieved each level, at a glance. This may not be as useful for students to see.

Numbers of things

The next three settings allow you to determine

  • The number of characters to display for a text item
  • The number of columns displayed in the Enter Grades view before the user information repeats
  • The number of users listed in the Enter Grades view before the column headers (column titles) repeat

What you set for these values depends entirely on your preference in your work environment. If you have a large screen, for example, you may have the screen space to display many columns before repeating the user information.

These two settings allow you to determine how many decimal places to display (in a numeric grade item) and number of characters to display (in a text item).

Repeat final grade

Automatically, your gradebook will show the Final Calculated grade at the beginning of the grades (in addition to the end).

You may choose whether to display the Final Calculated or Final Adjusted grades at the beginning of the grade columns.