How do I create a Grade Item?

Grade items represent all of the course components you want to assess. You can find them in the grade book. Grade items will help you to:

  • assess course components fast and easily.
  • calculate results automatically and with precision.
  • keep an overview of students' results.
  • communicate results to students in a controlled fashion.

You can use the grade items while assessing assignments, quizzes and discussions. You can only assess an activity (assign a grade) if you have linked a grade item to the activity. It is recommended to first create a grade item and then link them to an activity.

If you want to assess an activity a student performs in class (for example a presentation), you can use the different submission types in Assignments. This way you can also assess this type of activity using a grade item in the grade book.

Create a grade item

You can create grade items in two different ways:

  • Using Grades under the Manage Grades tab.
  • While you are creating an Activity (for example an assignment submission folder, quiz or discussion topic) via the Assessment tab. Here you have to take the same steps as you would when creating a grade item using Grades.
  • Navigate to Grades in the navbar of your course.
  • Click Manage Grades.
  • Click New.
  • Click Item.

Numeric is the most commonly used type of grade item (the amount of points out of the maximum amount of points achievable, for example a 8/10).

You can use different types of grade items in Brightspace. Depending on the type you choose, the instructions for creating a grade item might be a little different from the instruction below. The other types of grade items you can create are:

  • Selectbox: a description of the level that matches the delivered performance best (for example: Excellent, or B+).
  • Pass/Fail: a simple assessment (pass or fail).
  • Formula: conditional formulas (IF, THEN, MIN, MAX, etc).
  • Calculated: when you want to combine multiple grades to calculate the cumulative performance of a student (for example: grade second semester = Ass3+Ass4+Quiz3/total maximum points * 100 = 73%).
  • Text: textual assessments that will be included in the grade book but will not count towards your final grade (for example: the discussion topic is now closed, thank you for participating).
  • Only numeric grade items can be linked to an activity.
  • Formula, calculated en text items cannot be linked to a grade category.
  • Before creating a selectbox item, you have to create a grade scheme.
  • Before creating a formula item, you have to create all the grade items you want to incorporate in the formula item.
  • Calculated grade items are not included for the Calculated Final Grade.
  • Formula grade items only count towards the Calculated Final Grade if you use a Formula Grading System.
  • Name the grade item (for example: Assignment 1). To maintain a clear overview for yourself, it can be useful to give the grade item a name that allows you to recognize the linked course component.
  • Use the field Short Name to enter a abbreviation (for example A1).

Use the option Short Name to make your grade book easier to read. In Enter Grades in your grade book you will find the names of the grade categories and items next to each other horizontally. If you enter the shortened name Brightspace will use this one, which means you will not get very wide columns and lose the overview. Note that students will not see this shorter name in their grade book.

If necessary, link the grade item to a category:

  • Select a Category from the drop-down menu if you want to link the grade item to an existing category.
  • Click New Category if you want to create a new category for this grade item.

You might have several items that naturally go together. For example: 4 quiz items, 7 questions in the final exam, or 3 assignments. You can group these items together in what Brightspace calls a Category.

You can make a Category count for a certain amount of weight. Each of those categories, when added up, gives a 100% to the overall weight. This provides a great way for the students to see their grade breakdown. (see image above which you can access through Manage Grades)

Within categories, you can set up features for the items within that category. For example, you might have a grading policy where you have 6 assignments, but only the best 5 assignments count towards the assignments in the overall grade. In other words, you drop the lowest assignment.

  • Click Show Description to add a short description for the grade item. At the bottom, select the html-editor  Allow users to view grade item description if you want students to see this description.

Below Grading you can determine how the grade item is assessed: 

  • Below Maximum Points you can enter the maximum number of points students can obtain for this grade item.
  • Select Can Exceed if students can get more points for this item than the maximum amount of points you entered under Max Points.
  • Select Bonus if you want to allow bonus points. Bonus items will not be a part of the maximum points a student can acquire for a category or final course grade, but will be added to the calculated (final) grade. Note that students are not able to get a score higher than the maximum because of the bonus points, unless you have selected Can Exceed.
  • The Percentage Grade scheme is linked to grade items by default by Brightspace. More information on Schemes that are provided by Leiden University can be found here.
  • Click Show Display Options to adjust the settings for the display of the grade item.
  • Below Student View you can select whether:
    • students will see the class average (Display class average to users).
    • students will see a visual display (graph) of how the grades are distributed among the students of the class (Display grade distribution to users).
    • you want to let the display options for this item deviate from what you have set up in the Grades Setup Wizard for the remainder of the grade book (Override display options for this item). You can then use Show to select which parts of the item you wish to show to students (Weighted Grade, Points Grade, Grade Scheme Symbol en Grade Scheme Colour).
  • Below managing View you can again select Override display options for this item to make the display options for this item deviate from the default grade book settings. This concerns the display of your grade book. Then use Show to select what you do and do not want to display from this item.
  • Check your submission and click:
    • Save and Close to save the grade item and return to the grade book.
    • Save and New to save the grade item and create a new one
    • Save or Cancel to save or delete the grade item.

Alter the weight of (entered) grades

You can easily change the weight by editing a Grade Item (Edit).

  • Click on the fold-out arrow next to the Grade Item and choose Edit.
  • Fill in a new weight under Weight, for example from 60% to 50%. 

Make sure that you also alter the weight of the other Grade Items. The Gradebook needs to add up to a 100%, otherwise the calculation of the final grade of your students is incorrect. You will see an error in your Gradebook when the sum is less or more than 100%.  

Changing the weight of Grade Items via the Export/Import-functionality does not work. Brightspace prefers the weights that are entered in the Brightspace interface over the weights that are filled in the imported file. Altering weights can only be done through the Manage Grades-tab in Brightspace.