General introduction to Grades

Grades are used to track a student's progress during the course. Brightspace has many options with which you can customize the way that the grades within your course work. In this guide, you will be guided on the first set-up of the grade book, adding grade items and categories and finally adding grades. For detailed instructions, please refer to the detailed guides linked within this article.

Refer to this article for the definitions of the terms: Gradebook Glossary

Grades Setup Wizard

1. To set up the grade book for the course, click on Grades in the Navbar within the course. If there are no grade items yet, the setup wizard will open automatically. Otherwise, click on Setup Wizard.

2. Within the Setup Wizard, you will specify the structure of the grade book in 7 steps. If you want to change the current setup, click the blue Start button at the bottom of the page.

For a detailed guide on the Setup Wizard, please refer to this article: How do I use the Grading Setup Wizard?

Adding Grade Items and Grade Categories

Grade Items

Now that you have set up the gradebook, it is time to add the actual items to be graded. There are various options and functions to keep in mind when adding the items, which will be explained now.

There are 6 different types of Grade Items, however only two of them can be attached to an assignment / quiz / discussion: 

  • Numeric: an amount of points for an assignment
  • Selectbox: You can grade users with a scale or grade scheme i.e. A, B, C;  Distinction, Satisfactory, Fail; or any other text scheme you want to use.

Please note that these grade items can not be linked to an assignment / quiz / discussion. 

  • Text: Use this type to indicate attendance or course evaluation completed.
  • Pass/Fail: sufficient/insufficient.
  • Calculated: adding multiple grade items, same can be achieved by using a category. Can not be linked to assessments. Can not be used in Final Grade calculations.
  • Formula: advanced version of calculated, also can not be linked to assessments in Brightspace. Can, however, be used in Final Grade calculations.

Some common types of assessments and their corresponding type:

Assessment Type
Exam - 100 pt Numeric
Presentation - 10 pt Numeric
Attendance - Yes/No Selectbox + Custom Grade Scheme
Midterm MC questions - 25 pt Numeric
Midterm essay questions - 25 pt Numeric
Midterm MC and Essay total - 45 pt Formula
Group assignment - pass/fail Selectbox + Pass/Fail Grade Scheme
Bonus point if attendance was over 75% Formula

Grade Categories

Grade categories can be used to group several grade items and calculate a single, weighted grade or drop the lowest/highest item in the category. They are useful if you want only the highest grade (for example, a resit) to count for the final calculated grade if there are no other requirements for the final grade calculation.

An example with an exam and a resit:

With the category configured as such, the lowest grade will be dropped. Keep in mind that it is recommended to 'treat ungraded assignments as 0'. Then, if no resit is required, the resit will be treated as 0 and will consequently be dropped.

If you assign weights to the items in the category, the weights only count towards the total of the weights within the category, so make sure that the weights inside the category count up to 100. The weight for the final grade is determined by the category weight.

This results in the following grades:

The exam itself, which was graded with a 3.0, has been dropped automatically and the final grade is thus determined by the resit.

Entering grades

After having completely set up the grade book, it is time to enter the grades. Entering grades is easiest in spreadsheet view.

To enter this view, do the following:

1. Click on Grades in the Navbar.

2. Go to the Enter Grades section.

3. Click on Switch to Spreadsheet View

Here you can enter the grades efficiently. When you're done, click on Save.

Be careful with editing grades after they have been released. This could be confusing to the students.

Scenarios to practice

Below you can find some usecases from our own University. We have taken these usecases and transformed them in step by step manuals, so you can get a better understanding on Grades.