How to create a Grade Item/Grade Category

Grade Items are all components of a course that are graded, and will be visible in the grade book. Grade items are used to:

  • grade parts of the course
  • automatically calculate the final grades
  • keep an overview of student results
  • control the way results are communicated to students

Grade items can be used to grade assessments; including assignments, quizzes and discussions. These assessments can only be graded when linked to a grade item.

Categories are a way to organise different Grade Items by linking them together to the same Category which can be used in the Final Grade Calculation. This will also group them in the enter Grades and Manage Grades windows.

This manual will show how to:

It is highly recommended to create grade items before creating assessments

Grade items can be made in two different ways:

  • Through the Manage Grades tab in the Grade Book, for this manual this option is used
  • While creating an assessment; by using the option New Grade Item (while the steps will be the same, this is not recommended; for clarity it is often easier to create all grade items first)

1. In the navbar of the course, click Grades, this will open the grade book

2. In the grade book, click Manage Grades

3. Click New, this will open the drop-down menu that gives the option to create a grade:

  • Item
  • Category
Creating a Grade Item

4. From the New drop-down menu, click Item, this will open the New Item menu

Under Grade Item Type the following options are available:

  • Numeric; will create a grade item that evaluates students by assigning a value
  • Selectbox; will create a grade item that allows evaluation to be selected from a pre-set list. This list can be generated by using a course-level grade scheme.
  • Pass/Fail; will create a grade item that evaluates students with a simple pass/fail scheme
  • Formula; will create a grade item that uses a boolean formula to calculate the evaluation score
  • Calculated; will create a grade item that uses a calculation using multiple grade items
  • Text; will create a grade item with a text output that is not included in the final grade

Selectbox grade items are only available for course grade schemes, not for organisational schemes. When trying to use an organisational scheme, please go to More Options in the Schemes window, and click Copy. This will create a copy of the scheme on a course level.

Assessments (assignments, quizzes) can only be linked to Numeric or Selectbox grade items. It is highly recommended to only use these grade items, even when using a Pass/Fail evaluation, by using the Pass/Fail grading schemes that are available as Organisation Schemes and creating a course-level copy of this scheme.

5. Click Numeric

6. Enter a Name for the Grade item

7. If needed, enter a Short name for the Grade item

To keep a good overview, it is recommended to use a clear description of the grade item in the Name, for example Report Practicum 1

The Short Name is for convenience in the grade book: the names of the grade items and categories are displayed horizontally in the grade book. When using a Short Name, Brightspace will display this Short Name in the grade book to prevent long columns. This Short Name will not be visible to students.

8. If needed, select the Category for the Grade item (See Creating a Grade Category)

9. If needed, enter a description to the Grade item

10. When a description is entered, tick the box Allow users to view grade item description to allow students to see this description

11. Maximum Points: enter the maximum number of points that can be attained by the grade item

12. Only visible when using a Weight-system for Grade calculation: Weight: enter the weight of the grade item on the final grade

13. Can Exceed: the Grade Item can exceed the maximum number of points, for example by having a bonus grade while having achieved the highest number of points. This will only be relevant if the higher grade is part of a final grade calculation in which the higher-than-normal points will have to be included

14. Bonus: the points of the Grade Item will be awarded on top of the normal grade calculation, rather than being part of it

15. Only visible when using a Point-system for Grade calculation: Exclude from final Grade Calculation: the Grade Item will not be included in the calculation of the final grade, essentially setting the weight to 0

16. Grade Scheme: select the Grade Scheme that the Grade Item will use, The following Organisation schemes include:

  • WUR-grading 1-10 based on the Education & Examination Regulations, article 45 (used for final grade calculations)
  • Pass/fail
  • Complete/incomplete
  • 1-10 decimal (default)

17. Optional Rubrics: select a rubric if needed, or click Create Rubric in New Window to create a new rubric

18. Expand Show Display Options to see more options:

  • Display class average to users; to allow students to also see the average score of the grade item in the course
  • Display grade distribution to users; to allow students to see the distribution of scores
  • Under Student View: override display options to limit student visibility to
    • Points grade; tick to allow students to see the points achieved
    • Grade scheme symbol; tick to allow students to see the grade scheme output
    • Grade scheme colour; tick to include the grade scheme colour (if applicable)
  • Under Managing View to use the same options as listed in Student View but then in the Manage Grades window

19. Click Save and Close to save the item and return to the Manage Grades window, or click Save and New to create another Grade Item

Creating a Grade Category

Be aware that a Grade Category as such is not graded; only the Grade Items within a Grade Category are graded

4. From the New drop-down menu, click Category, this will open the New Category menu

Depending on the Final Grade Calculations Settings the New Category Menu will be different for Points-based and Weight-based systems.

5. Enter a Name for the Grade Category

6. If needed, enter a Short name for the Grade Category

The Short Name is for convenience in the grade book: the names of the grade items and categories are displayed horizontally in the grade book. When using a Short Name, Brightspace will display this Short Name in the grade book to prevent long columns. This Short Name will not be visible to students.

7. If needed, Click Show Description to expand the description option and enter a description to the Grade Category

  • When a description is entered, tick the box Allow users to view grade item description to allow students to see this description (only visible in expanded window, see step 8-10 of Creating a Grade Item)

8. Only visible when using a Weight-system for Grade calculation:  Enter the weight of the Category. Continue with step 11

9. Only visible when using a Point-system for Grade calculation: Tick the box if the Category should be excluded from the Final Grade Calculation

10. Only visible when using a Point-system for Grade calculation: Tick the box if the points should be set for the entire Category and enter

  • the amount of points per Grade Item
  • any (and if so, how many) of the highest-scoring items should be dropped. This cannot be an item marked as Bonus
  • any (and if so, how many) of the lowest-scoring items should be dropped. This cannot be an item marked as Bonus

11. Only visible when using a Weight-system for Grade calculation: Choose whether;

  • Weights are manually assigned to all grade items in the category (Brightspace will show an alert if this does not add up to 100%)
  • Distribution should be based on the points that can be gained by the grade items
  • Distribution is even across all grade items, and when this option is selected choose if;
    • any (and if so, how many) of the highest-scoring items should be dropped. This cannot be an item marked as Bonus
    • any (and if so, how many) of the lowest-scoring items should be dropped. This cannot be an item marked as Bonus

12. Expand Show Display Options to see more options (already expanded in screenshot), unlike Grade Items for Categories only the Student View can be changed.

  • Tick Display class average to users; to allow students to also see the average score of the category in the course
  • Tick Display grade distribution to users; to allow students to see the distribution of scores
  • Tick Override display options for this item to change the following options;
    • Points grade; tick to allow students to see the points achieved
    • Only visible when using a Weight-system for Grade calculation: Weighted grade; to show students the weighted grade
    • Grade scheme symbol; tick to allow students to see the grade scheme output
    • Grade scheme colour; tick to include the grade scheme colour (if applicable)

13. Click Save and Close to save the category and return to the Manage Grades window, or click Save and New to create another Grade Category

You now know how to create a Grade Item/Grade Category!