Recommended Grade Book Settings

This article elaborates on the most commonly used grade book settings and how these can be set up or adjusted using the Grade Setup Wizard.

To check the current settings of your grade book, navigate to the Grades Setup Wizard:

  1. Click on Grades, on the green navigation bar
  2. Then, click on the Setup Wizard tab

This action, will open the Grade Setup Wizard where you can see the Current Grade Book Settings. Please, check carefully below the highlighted settings and make sure that they match the settings displayed in your course's Grade Book.


When the above settings appear in your course page too, the grade Grade Book is set up correctly and is ready to be used.

In case the settings in your course's Grade Book differ from the above-listed ones, please refer to the Setting up the Grade Book using the Grades Setup Wizard section below that will guide you through the steps of how to change the Grade Book settings.

In case you think the above settings are not suitable to your course, please contact the Brightspace Helpdesk about how to set up a tailor-made grade book.

Setting up the Grade Book (for the first time) using the Grades Setup Wizard

Before setting up the grade book, the following things need to be taken into consideration:

  • Which grading system is the most appropriate for the course
  • How are points and/or weights best allocated across grade items
  • Which grade items need to be associated with which course objects
    Note that only 'Numeric' grade items can be associated with course objects.
  • How the final grade is be calculated

Making changes to a grade book's settings and grade calculations after you started tracking users' grades, can significantly affect existing data. Therefore, we advice not to make changes to the grade book after the grades have been entered.

If you have not setup your grade book before, when you click on Grades, you will be automatically taken to the Grades Setup Wizard.

  1. To enter the Grades Setup Wizard click on Grades on the navigation bar, then click on Setup Wizard.

On the next page, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Start button.

Step 1: Choose Grading System

The grading system determines how the grade items in the grade book contribute to users’ final grades. There are three options:

  1. The Weighted system calculates grade items as a percentage of the final grade worth 100%. The max. points assigned to individual grade items can be of any value, but their contribution towards the category they belong to and the final grade is the percentage (weight) assigned to them.
  2. Use the Points system when you want the max. points assigned to a grade item to be equal to its contribution to the final grade. Final grades are calculated by adding a user's score on all grade items together and dividing by the sum of the max. points values. The sum of the max. points values for all grade items does not need to equal 100.
  3. For the (most commonly used) Formula system, 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. For example, one could require that users receive at least 50% on their midterm and final exam to pass a course.

Select, the suitable Grading System and click on Continue.

Step 2: Final Grade Release

In this step, it is possible to choose which grade item to release as the Final Grades:

  1. The default setting is to use the Calculated Final Grade. This will calculate the final grade based on the grading formula setup, it cannot be adjusted (manually) without editing grade item scores or the grading formula.
  2. The Adjusted final grade can be useful in situations  where the students’ grade are modified before they are released. For  example, you might need to fine-tune and adjust some of the grades up or down before they are released.

Do NOT check Automatically release final grade as this will publish the final grade as soon as you enter an individual grade and will update every time a new individual grade is entered. This might be rather confusing to the students.

Click on Continue.

Step 3: Grade Calculations

For the calculation of the final grade, ungraded items can be treated in two different ways:

  1. Drop ungraded items: no impact on the final grade - meaning that if a student would not complete an assignment hence would not receive a grade on it, the final calculated grade would not consider the failed grade and calculate a potentially passing grade for the student (not desirable).
  2. Treat ungraded items as 0: negative impact on the final grade - meaning that if a student would not complete an assignment hence would not receive a grade on it, the final calculated grade would consider that grade as zero, thus the final grade would potentially be incomplete/partially completed (desirable).

Make sure to check Auto Update so that the final grades are automatically adjusted when changes are made to grade items or calculation options.

Click on Continue.

Step 4: Choose Default Grade Scheme

A grade scheme enables you to organize user's performances on grade items into levels of achievement.

On an organizational level, there are 4 types of schemes available:

  • Percentage (%)
  • 1-10 numeric grades, with 2 decimal accuracy and (3 different) minimum passing score
  • Pass / Fail scheme
  • WUR-grading, which rounds grades based on the Education and Exam Regulations (EER). This grading scheme is only used for the Final Grade.

If you would like to learn more about the individual grading schemes click on the Preview button (magnifying glass).

Select the suitable grade scheme and click on Continue.

Step 5: Managing View Display Options

This setting controls how many decimals will be displayed to users (Course Coordinator, Lecturers, Teaching Assistant) grading a course.

The value must be an integer between 0 and 5, while the default value is 2.

Define the desired number of decimals and click on Continue.

Step 6: Student View Display Options  

In this step, the grade display settings for students can be adjusted. The following options are available:

  1. Grade Details
    • Points grade: will show the points associated with a grade item depending on the settings of the grading system. When the chosen grading system is Weighted, the student will see the weight of a specific grade item
    • Grade scheme symbol: will show the symbol (grade) of the selected Grade Scheme (Step 4) equivalent to the obtained Points grade. In case of the grade schemes '1-10 (partial grade, 2 decimals)' the grade rounded to 1 decimal will be shown to students.
    • Grade scheme color: the grade will have a green or red colored background depending on whether it is a passing or failing grade respectively.
  2. Decimals Displayed: This setting controls how many decimals will be displayed in the student view of Grades
  3. Characters Displayed: This setting controls how many characters will be displayed in the grades list for text items
  4. Final Grade Calculation: This setting controls whether the student will see how the calculation for their final grade was made

We recommend using the setting presented in the above figure, as these would fit the need of most courses.

After you defined the settings, click on Continue.

Step 7: Grades Setup Summary

The last step provides summary of all adjustments made in the grade book. When all information is correct, click on Finish.

Once you have completed the seven steps, you have successfully set up Grade Book of your course.