How do I set up a Grading Scheme?

A Grading Scheme is a compilation of all grade items and grade categories. In Management Grades you will find all course units to be graded with their weighting, maximum number of points and whether it is stated on another part of the course (Association). 

You can follow these guidelines after you have set up your Gradebook using the Setup Wizard

Note: a Grading Scheme and Grade Scheme are similar in name, but refer to two different functionalities. A Grade Scheme refers to an organizational scheme for the grading of your student, namely when a student has passed the course (click here for more information). A Grading Scheme only provides an overview of the various course components that count towards the final mark.

Create a new Grade Category

  • Click Grades on the navbar of your course.
  • Go to Manage Grades.
  • Click on dropdown menu New.
  • Select Category.

The most commonly used categories are assignmentsonline quizzes and a final exam

New Category Assignment

Set up your desired properties and click Save and close. If there are incorrect settings, you will automatically see a pop-up with errors describing what should be altered. For more information on each setting, please select the question mark behind each topic. 

New Category Quiz


There are 4 quizzes and we would like each quiz to count equal weight, but we want to drop the lowest quiz from this category so that only the best 3 count towards the final grade. In this situation you select Distribute weight evenly across all items and then enter 1 for the number of lowest non-bonus items to drop for each user. You can click on the question mark if you need more information on that topic.

New Category Final Exam


In the final exam there might be several questions. If you want each question to count a certain number of points, then the total weight counts proportionally towards the exam grade. 

In the above example the final exam has only 2 questions and the first questions has 10 points and the second question has 30 points. This means the first question will have a weight of 25% and the second question will have a weight of 75%. Using the second option means that Brightspace will automatically distribute the weights by the points across all items in this category.

When you set up your Gradebook at the start of the course you might not necessarily know what the final exam breakdown is going to be. This is not a problem and in fact this will be the situation for most categories in your course. You can select this option for now and come back later to adjust it.

Add Items to Categories

  • Click Grades on the navbar of your course.
  • Go to Manage Grades.
  • Click on dropdown menu New.
  • Select Item.

You can create items of several different types, of which the most common is the first one, a numeric type. Some of the other item types might also be useful in your course. Please browse through the list and also try some of them out.

  • Select the type.
  • Enter in a Name for the assignment.
  • Select the Category you created earlier. 

Brightspace shows you the weight allocation for that category so that you can be sure that you are selecting the right one.

It is recommended to select Display class average to users and Display grade distribution to users

Note: to quickly sort your grade items, click Grades followed by Manage Grades. In the drop-down menu from the More Actions button select the option to Reorder. This functionality will be particularly useful if you have a Gradebook that contains 200+ items.