How to use grading with formulas

With grading formulas you can assess students based on their score on multiple other grade items in the grade book. This article contains the following tutorials:

1.  Navigate to Grades in your Navbar

2.  Click on Manage Grades

3.  Click on New

4.  Select Item

5.  In new item, click on Formula

6.  Fill in the name of the grade item

7. Click on Edit Using the Formula Editor

Create a grading formula

The editor opens in a new window. You can build your formula in the editor. Do this by using the buttons in the editor; you cannot type yourself

  • The equals sign (=) at the beginning of the editor always appears and cannot be deleted
  • To move the cursor in the editor use the cursor placement icons at the bottom of the editor or use the keyboard. You cannot control the cursor with the mouse. There are four cursor placements options:
    • Move cursor to the start of the formula
    • Move cursor back one element
    • Move cursor forward one element
    • Move cursor to the end of the formula
  • In the Function, select the drop down menu for;
    • MAX: The formula calculates the largest value in a set of values
    • MIN: The formula calculates the minimum value in a set of values
    • SUM: The formula calculates the total set of values
    • AVG: The formula calculates the average for a set of values
    • IF: The formula operates as a Boolean statement. You must define the condition (Boolean statement), true value, and false value
      • For example: IF{[Quiz Week 1. Points Received] >= 8, 10, 0} will award full points (10) if a score is above 8, otherwise 0
    • NOT: an addition to a Boolean statement where the output value is true when the condition is false, and false if the condition is true. Cannot be used without other functions
      • For example: IF{NOT[Quiz Week 1. Percent] = 10}, 0, 10}
  • After selected a function, then click on either Start, Next Term, and End buttons;
    • Start: To start the function with an open bracket symbol '{'
    • Next Term: To separate grade items or parts of Boolean statement with a comma symbol ','
    • End: To ends the function with a closing bracket '}'
  • In the Grade Item, select the drop down menu to select the grade item(s) you have created to insert into your formula
  • Grade Item value drop down menu determines what value associated with the grade item you want to use in the formula, the following options are:
    • Points Received: The grades achieved by students
    • Max Points: The maximum points available for the grade item
    • Percent: The percentage of the grade that student achieved
  • Click on Insert to insert the selected grade parameter
  • Category and grade item weights are ignored in formula calculations
  • Dropped grade items and bonus grade items are calculated the same as other grade items
  • On the bottom right of the Formula Editor, there are number of operators and key pad to build the formula
  • Backspace button deletes the element left of the cursor
  • Clear button deletes the entire formula

At the top of the Formula Editor, you find;

  • Validate: To check the formula error:
    • If formula is valid, it displays the confirmation message ('Formula validated successfully')
    • If formula is invalid, there will be an error message and the formula shows the place that caused the error with the fault highlighted in red
  • Preview: To preview students' grades using current formula. If the formula is invalid, the preview option does not work

Examples of grading scenarios

1. Example 1: basic calculations

Case: Course has a project grade, that consists of three practicals and a separate module. The practicals count for 80% combined, the separate module for 20%. The weights for the practicals is 50% for Practical 1, 30% for Practical 2, and 20% for Practical 3.

2. Example 2: enforcing minimum grades

Case: Course has an exam, a tutorial, and a paper; the exam and paper need to be 5.5 minimum before passing the course. For the final grade the tutorial is 10%, the paper 50%, and the exam 40%. An additional correction can be subtracted based on student participation in the tutorial.

  • The IF condition has been reversed here; instead of checking if the grades are above 5.5 it will check if they are below it. This is so that the code for partially completed is at the beginning of the formula, as only the final part will be edited in the future when the composition of the final grade is changed
  • A similar IF-function can be used with the MAX, where if the MAX of the set is below 5.5, a final grade will be calculated and shown with a grade below 6, as a partially completed usually indicates parts of the course -have- been finished satisfactory.
3. Example 3: Including resits and combining formula items

Case: the course consists of a written exam, project work, and a separate module.

The written exam consists of 5 parts. Students can opt to take a re-sit of these parts if they want to, with the highest grade counting for the final grade. Of this, the average is calculated

The project is Example 1: it consists of three practicals and a separate module. The practicals count for 80% combined, the separate module for 20%. The weights for the practicals is 50% for Practical 1, 30% for Practical 2, and 20% for Practical 3.

Additionally, there is a check to make sure all tests individually are also a 5.0 minimum

All these items are combined with an extra item that checks whether a student has a single grade between 5.0 and 5.5, which is allowed for this course. The final grade calculation is as follows:

You now know how to use grading formulas in Brightspace!