Grades

The Gradebook is a configurable tool that can be linked to Dropboxes, Quizzes, Discussions and other assessed activities, allowing your students a quick look at their progress. Together, the items in the Gradebook represent all the work that is evaluated in a course. In order to use the Grades tool, you must set up a gradebook.

As a matter of good practice, it is suggested that you create your Gradebook before you create any course activities (Dropbox assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, or Competencies) that you wish to link to it, but it is possible to create gradebook items as you create your activities.

Things to consider when preparing your gradebook:

  • What grade items will be used to evaluate your students.
  • How much each grade item should be worth (raw score).
  • How you want grade items to impact the final grade (whether they are a percentage of the final score).
  • Whether online assessment activities will be used and can be directly associated with the gradebook.

Gradebook set-up

  • Enter your course and select the Grades tool from the course navigation bar (navbar).
  • We recommend that the first time you create a gradebook you select the Setup Wizard

Note:  By default, the gradebook will open in Manage Grades view.

  • Click on the Start button to begin the process.

grade wizard screenshot

  • Choose a “grading system”. 
  • We recommend leaving the gradebook settings with the default choices. Weighted is the most common gradebook grading system. Click through until you hit Finish.

Grading system

Description

Weighted*

Grade items and categories are calculated as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%. The Max. Points assigned to individual grade items can be any value, but their contribution towards the final grade is always their assigned percentage value.

Points

Grade items are calculated using a points system in which the points assigned to each grade item are totalled for the final grade.

Formula

Grade items are calculated using the points system, but a formula is used to set conditions around how grade items contribute to the final grade.

Creating a New Category

Gradebook Categories let you organize and group related grade items into sections (grade items are required in order to add marks).  When grade items are grouped together in a category, you can distribute points equally across all grade items, weight individual items or drop the highest or lowest item in the group (e.g., weekly quizzes). For any gradebook item that can stand on its own (e.g., Final Exam), a category is not necessary.

  • From the Manage Grades area, click the down arrow next to the New button and select Category.
  • Type a Name for the category.
  • If you want, type a Short Name to display in the grade book (optional).
  • If you want, type a Description of the category (optional).
    • Select the Allow users to view description check box if you want to make the category description available to users.
  • If you are using the Weighted system, enter the total Weight (percentage) that you want the category to contribute towards the final grade.
  • Distribution of weight within the category will depend on how grade items will treated within the category. For example if you plan to have your students take 5 quizzes, but only count the top 4, your settings might look like the example below. Then Save and Close

new caategory screenshot

Creating a Grade Item

Grade items represent the individual assignments, quizzes, performance measurements, etc. on which you want to assess users. Each grade item has its own entry in the gradebook and is the place into which you will enter or import grades. Grade items can be tied to other course objects, such as quizzes or discussion forums, or they can exist independently. Associating dropboxes etc. with the gradebook are covered in the area specific to that tool. Grade items can be graded numerically, based on a grade scheme, or with a simple text message, depending on the grade item type chosen.

Grade Item Types:

Numeric: (Most Common) Grade users by assigning a value out of a specified total number of points.  e.g., 8/10

Pass/Fail: Grade users using a simple pass/fail grade scheme. e.g., "Pass" or "Fail"

Formula: Automatically grade users using a custom formula based on achievement on other grade items.

e.g., Give users who received at least 50% on all of their Weekly Participation grades a Perfect Attendance bonus.

IF{ MIN{ [ITEM1.Percent], [ITEM2.Percent] } < 50, 0, 100 }

Note: Formula grade items cannot belong to a category. You must create all of the grade items you want to include in the formula grade item before you create the formula item. Formula grade items cannot contribute to the calculated final grade unless you are using the Formula or Points (recommended) grading system.

Calculated: Display users’ cumulative achievement across multiple grade items.

E.g., Midterm Grade

Item1 + Item2 + Item3 / Total points * 100 = 73%

Note: Calculated grade items cannot belong to a category. Calculated grade items cannot contribute to the calculated final grade.

Text: Provide comments that are not counted towards users’ final grades.

E.g., "Consent form received" or "Course evaluation completed"

Note: Text grade items cannot belong to a category. Text grade items do not contribute to the calculated final grade.

Creating a Numeric grade item (the most common grade item type)

  • From the Manage Grades area, click New and choose Item from the drop-down menu.
  • Select Numeric.
  • Enter a Name for the grade item.
  • Enter a Short Name to display in the gradebook.(optional)
  • If you want the grade item to be associated with a category, select a category from the Category drop-down list. 
  • Enter a Description of the grade item (optional). If you want to make the description available to users, select Allow users to view grade item description
  • Enter the value you want the item graded out of in the Max. Points field.
  • If you  are using a category  and selected, “Manually assign weight to items in the category” when creating the associated Category, enter the Weight you want the grade item to contribute to its category. If the item does not belong to a category, enter the Weight you want it to contribute to the final grade. 
  • If you want users’ grades to be able to exceed the total value of the item, select Can Exceed
  • Select Bonus, if you want the item to be counted as a bonus item.

Note: Bonus items are not counted towards the maximum points for a category or final grade. Depending on how the extra marks will be used, you must select Can Exceed or Bonus to allow users' grades to exceed the maximum points specified. More on Bonus Grades in a later section of this document.

  • For grades that are being recorded, but not included in the final grade calculation, you may also choose the Exclude from Final Grade Calculation option for Points Grading System;  or if you are using the Weighted Grading System you can accomplish the same results by setting the Weight to 0%.
  • Select a Grade Scheme to associate with the item, if applicable.

new item screenshot

  • Click Save and CloseSave or Save and New.

Managing Grade Categories and Items

Editing a Gradebook Category or Item

After you create a gradebook category or item, you can edit how and when it is displayed, and apply release conditions to it.

Set Availability for a Category or Item

  1. From the Manage Grades area, click on the name of the category or item you want to edit.
  2. Click the Restrictions tab.
  3. Select one of the following:
    • Category is always visible/Grade item is always visible  Users can always see the category or item
    • Hide this category/Hide this grade item  Users are unable to see the category or item (can be made visible at a later date by deselecting this 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
  4. If you select Category is visible for a specific date range/Grade item 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.
  5. A release date can be set in the calendar to encourage students to check their gradebook by selecting Display in Calendar

Set Release Conditions for a Category or Item

Release conditions enable you to associate a category or item with other items in Learning Environment. For example, you could require that users complete the last assignment in the category Unit 1 before the category Unit 2 appears in their gradebook.

  1. From the Manage Grades area, click on the name of the category or item you want to edit.
  2. Click the Restrictions tab.
  3. In the Release Conditions section, click either Attach Existing (existing items must have been created already)  or Create and Attach.
  4. Select your condition type (e.g., Content Topic Visited -- students must read course requirements before marks will be released).

Reordering categories and grade items

  1. From the Manage Grades area,select Reorder from the More Actions drop down menu.
  2. Select a new position for a category or grade item using the Sort Order drop-down menu beside its name. The positions of other categories and grade items adjust accordingly.
  3. Click Save.

grade reorder screenshot

Deleting Categories and Grade Items

  1. From the Manage Grades area, click Delete from the More Actions drop down menu.
  2. Select the check box beside the category or grade item you want to delete. Categories are the shaded rows.
  3. Click Delete.

Note: Selecting a category does not select the grade items that reside in it. If you delete a category, the grade items associated with it become independent grade items.

You cannot delete grade items that are associated with another course object, such as a quiz, discussion topic, or dropbox folder. To delete the grade item you must first remove the association. Click the Information icon (i) next to a grade item with an association to view details about where the item is used.

  1. Click Save.

Entering Grades

There a couple of options for entering grades.  The recommended option is described immediately below.  

  1. Select the Grades from the course navigation bar.  Select Manage Grades and from the drop down menu associated with the grade item, select Enter Grades.

Screenshot indicating the Enter Grades link in Manage Grades.

OR

Enter grades using the spreadsheet view of the User List

  1. Select Grades from the course navigation bar and click on Enter Grades from the upper left hand corner of the screen.
  2. Select the Switch to Spreadsheet View button.

Screenshot highlighting the Switch to Spreadsheet View button in Enter Grades.

Enter grades by user or group

  1. Once in the Enter Grades mode of the gradebook. Use Search For:  option to locate a specific student or you can increase your view per page from the default 20 to a larger number.
  2. Use View By filter to restrict your view by section or group.  You must select Apply to invoke the filter. 

Screenshot indicating how to view Enter Grades by group.

Importing Grades from Examproc (scantron cards) or an Excel file

Prior to uploading grades (exam results) from ExamProc (scantron cards) or from an Excel file confirm that the grade item into which the scores will be imported has been created in the course gradebook.

Step One:

  • Export the results from Examproc as a CSV file
  • Remove all columns with the exception of the username and raw test score
  • Insert a blank row at the top of the file
  • Save this file as a CSV file with a different name (so that you will have your original file left intact)

Step Two:

  • Select the Grades hyperlink from the course navigation bar in your LEARN course and select Enter Grades from the top panel of the gradebook.
  • Select Export Grades
  • Confirm that “username” is selected as the key field and “Points grade” is selected for Grade Values
  • Choose the grade item into which the grades will be imported from the list of grade items
  • Click on the Export to CSV button
  • Click on the filename and select Open
  • Leave this file open as you will be copying and pasting field information

Step Three:

  • Open your file from Step One 
  • Make sure column A contains the usernames and add the title “Username” to the first row
  • Copy the grade item heading from the gradebook export file (from Step Two) and paste it into the first row of column B (which should contain the raw scores)
  • Add the End-of-Line Indicator to the  first row  of the third column
  • Populate each row with a number sign (hash mark). 

Note:  the easiest way to do this is to add a number sign in cell C2, then hold down the mouse button to select the remaining rows in column C until you arrive at the last student then press CTRL-D to autofill.

examproc screenshot

  • Save the CSV file

Step Four:

  • Select the Grades hyperlink from the course navigation bar in your LEARN course and select Enter Grades from the upper panel.
  • Select Import Grades and browse for your CSV file from Step Three
  • Select Next to finish the process

Using Event Log to Monitor grade entries

The Event Log allows you to see who has entered or modified grades. This is especially helpful when there are multiple TAs or Instructors enrolled in the course.

Using the Event Log for a specific grade item

  • Select  Manage Grades in the upper panel of the gradebook and from the grade item (e.g., Quiz 1) drop down menu select Enter Grades
  • Click on the drop down menu beside the student's name and select View Event Log.

Screenshot indication the View Event Log link.

Submission Icons for reviewing grades

From the Enter Grades area, additional columns will appear for those grade items associated with an activity within the course (quiz, dropbox).  In the example below, a dropbox is linked to the grade item.

Screenshot depicting the Submission icon.

 Clicking on the submission icon will take you to the submission and clicking on the Assessment icon will access the rubric and feedback data.

Calculating Final Grades

To provide an opportunity for instructors to adjust final grades for individual students, the Final Adjusted Grade is the grade on record and the grade that will be ultimately exported to be uploaded to Quest.

Step One:

Select Manage Grades from upper panel.

Select Enter Grades from the Final calculated Grades drop down menu

Screenshot indicating Enter Grades link for Final Calculated Grades.

Transfer all Final Calculated Grades to Adjusted Final Grades, by selecting  Transfer all from the Final Grades drop down menu at the top of the screen (see image below).

Note:  Any manually entered Adjusted Grade will be overwritten by this action.

Screenshot indicating the Transfer All link.

 Step Two:

  • This step is only necessary, if there are students whose Final Calculated Grade needs to be adjusted to reflect a different marking scheme or requires alterations.
  • A grade may be manually adjusted by replacing the existing mark with the new mark (just over striking it)

or

  • The software can recalculate the final grade based on a different grade item configuration by selecting the calculator icon across from the affected student.

individual grade screenshot

  • In the example below, the student missed taking the first quiz, so the software will recalculate the grade without including the first quiz.  Click on the Calculate button to transfer the newly calculated grade to the gradebook. The gradebook will skew the remaining grade items to produce a new final grade.

Rcalculate grade

  • Once all the adjustments have been made, click the Save button to save your changes.

Step Three:

  • Select Enter Grades from the upper Grades Panel
  • Select on the Export Adjusted Final Grades For Quest button

Screenshot highlighting the Export Final Adjusted Grades for Quest button.

  • A window will appear with a hyperlink containing the file. Click on the hyperlink. Save this file onto your machine with a new name so that it can be easily identified in the future (e.g., SOC101FinalWinter2012.csv)**

Note: During peak grade export times (end of term) you may be asked to "try again" as other instructors may also be accessing the Export tool. Please wait a few minutes and try the process again.

Note: Mac Users: grade files must be comma-separated value files with the extension Windows Comma Separated (.csv) or Quest will import the file incorrectly.

Step Four: Log into Quest and Upload File

  • Instructions for uploading grades to Quest can be found at:

https://uwaterloo.ca/registrar-resources-staff-and-faculty/systems-and-access/quest/faculty-center/how-do-i-upload-my-final-grades

Export a local copy of course grades or produce a classlist for grading offline

  • Select the Enter Grades link from the upper panel of the grades area.
  • Select Export.
  • Select Export to CSV, if you plan on using the file for importing grades into your gradebook.