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Grades

Grades

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.

Students only see their own grades when viewing the Grades tool.

Find Grades in the top menu. If it isn't there, review how to enable course tools.

Grade basics

Grade items

Grade items are the core of your course gradebook. A grade "item" refers to the column created to enter grades.

Grade items can be one of a few different types, but keep in mind that you can only enter grades in a "numeric" grade Item.

Grade categories

Grade "categories" are a way to group grade items together so that a common weight can be applied (i.e. all quizzes are worth 20% of the final grade) and possibly apply some additional settings (i.e. drop the lowest of the quiz grades).

Grades cannot be entered into a category - the category can only calculate and display grades based on the settings you enter into the category.

You do not need to create any categories in your course gradebook.

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. 

Manage Grades tool

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.

Release conditions:

If you wish to restrict access to your quiz by specific criteria, please review our tutorial about how to add or edit release conditions.

On the Manage Grades page, click Edit from the context menu of the category or item you want to edit.

The Manage Grades page allows you to see which assignments are hidden/visible.

If there is a closed eye icon next to the assignment name, the assignment is currently set as hidden from students.

The default restriction setting in Brightspace makes all grade items visible to students.

If you do not want students to view grades as you mark grade items, you should "Hide this grade item" until you are ready for students to view the item, or select a date on which the grade will be visible.

In the Restrictions tab, select one of the following:

  • Category is always visible/Grade item is always visible: Users can see the category or item
  • Hide this category/Hide this grade item: Users can't see the category or item
  • Category is visible for a specific date range/Grade item is visible for a specific date range: Users can see the category or item during a restricted date range

3. If you select "Grade item (or category) is visible for a specific date range", use the Has Start Date and Has End Date options to specify when the category or item should be visible. Select Display in Calendar to display the category or grade item in the course calendar.

4. Click Save and Close.

Grade Settings

The "Settings" area of the Grades tool provides ways to control a number of elements, including final grades are calculated and the default settings for displaying grades to students and to the instructor.

Grade "settings" can be found in the top-right of the Grades tool.

The Grading System

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

There are three grading systems in Brightspace Grades:

  • weighted
  • points
  • formula

This feature can be found in the grade settings, in the "Calculation Options" tab.

Weighted (default)

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.

If bonus items are included in the final grade, a student may achieve more than 100%.

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, this can create a grade out of more than 100.

Adding a new item increases the total points for the final mark

Formula

With the "Formula" grading system, you can define a custom formula for how grade items contribute to a final grade.

For the Formula system, grade items use the points system, but a formula is used to set conditions as to how grade items contribute to the final grade. For example, you could require that users receive at least 50% on their midterm and final exam to pass a course.

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.

Example: a simple weighted gradebook

Example: a complex weighted gradebook, using categories

Final Grade Released

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

This feature can be found in the grade settings, in the "Calculation Options" tab.

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).

Ignore "Automatically release final grade"

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.

This feature can be found in the grade settings, in the "Calculation Options" tab.

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'.

This feature can be found in the grade settings, in the "Calculation Options" tab.

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.

This feature can be found in the grade settings, in the "Org Unit Display Options" tab.

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.

This feature can be found in the grade settings, in the "Org Unit Display Options" tab.

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.