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Creating a Grade Book with the Grades Setup Wizard

If a grade book has not already been set up or imported for your course, you should see the Grades Setup Wizard when you enter the Grades tool. If a different area of the Grades tool displays by default, click Setup Wizard icon Setup Wizard in the left tool menu to open it.

The Grades Setup Wizard takes you through a list of setup options that you should set before you create grade items and categories. For example, it helps you drive decisions about how grades should be calculated and displayed in the grade book.

Tip  Most of the options in the Grades Setup Wizard have Help descriptions that explain what they are.

Table of contents

Step 1: Choose Grading System

The grading system determines how the grade items in your grade book contribute to users’ final grades.

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 totaled 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.

See Understanding grading systems.

Step 2: Final Grade Released

The type of final grade to release determines whether an adjusted final grade is released to users.
Option Description
Calculated Final Grade The final grade calculated by the grade book. Recommended.
Adjusted Final Grade A modified or adjusted final grade entered manually by you.

See Understanding final grade calculations

Step 3: Grade Calculations

The grade calculations step provides additional choices for calculating users’ grades. Specifically, it lets you decide how you want to calculate ungraded items and whether you want to keep users’ final grades up to date automatically.

Option Description
Drop ungraded items Grade items that you have not entered grades for are not counted towards users’ final grades. They are ignored in the final grade calculation.

Select this option if you plan to make users’ grades available to them before the end of the course.

Assign a grade of 0 for any grade item you want to be graded as 0.
Treat ungraded items as 0 Grade items that you have not entered grades for count as 0 towards users’ final grades.

Select this option if you leave grade items blank because no work was submitted and you don’t want to manually change the grades to 0.

Note: If  you add new items to the grade book later, users receive a 0 until you update their score.
Automatically keep final up to date If this option is selected, final grades are automatically adjusted after changing a grade item. If this option is not selected, you must tell the grade book when to recalculate final grades.

Tip: Turn this option off to reduce page reload times for large classes.

See Calculating final grades

Step 4: Choose Default Grade Scheme

Grade schemes define how grades are organized or labeled within a course or for a particular grade item. The Grades Setup Wizard lets you set the default scheme for your course.

Tip:  Select a grade scheme that matches how final grades are released to users by your organization. If letter grades, such as A+, B, C-, are used, create a Letter grade scheme with the same rules and apply it as your default. If a points average is used, such as 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, make it your default instead.

For more information on grade schemes see Setting up grade schemes.

Step 5: Instructors' View Display Options

This step controls how you see grade calculation data.

Option Description
Number of decimal places displayed You can set the number of decimal places you want to see for items in your grade book. The default value is 2 and the maximum value is 5.

Note: This option only changes how many decimals are displayed, it does not control how many decimals the Grades tool rounds to when calculating grades. The calculation logic is set by your organization’s site administration.

Step 6: User View Display Options

This step controls how grades appear to users. You can set whether they see their grades as straight values, percentages, or scheme levels and whether they can see the calculation method (logic) behind their final grade.

Option Description
Points grade Releasing the points grade to a user shows them the value a grade item was marked out of and their score. E.g., 6/10.
Weighted grade
Releasing the weighted grade to a user shows them how much the grade item is worth in relation to its category or the final grade. E.g., 3/5 (for a user who scored 60% on a grade item worth 50% of a category worth 10% of the final grade).

Note: This option is only available if you chose the weighted grading system in step 2.
Grade scheme symbol Releasing the grade scheme symbol to a user shows them the scheme level they received on a grade item. E.g., “Good”.
Grade scheme color Releasing the grade scheme color shows a user the color associated with the scheme level they received. E.g., Grades Color Scheme.
Number of decimals to display Controls the number of decimal places users see in the grade book. The default value is 2 and the maximum value is 5.

Note: This option only changes how many decimals display, it does not control how many decimals the Grades tool rounds to when calculating grades. The calculation logic is set by your organization’s site administration.
Number of characters to display for Text items Controls the number of characters users see for a text item. When setting this value you should try to find a balance between presenting enough information for users to recognize the Text item and keeping the item short enough that it displays nicely. The default value is 15 and the maximum value is 50.
Display final grade calculation to users Displaying the final grade calculation to users allows them to view how their final grade was calculated. They can see which grade items contributed to their final grade and how much; which grade items were bonus grades; and whether their grade was adjusted.

Note: This option is only available in the weighted and points grading systems.

Step 7: Grade Setup Summary

The final step summarizes the choices you made while setting up your grade book. If you change your mind on any of the choices, click the Back button to return to the step and adjust it. Clicking Finish on this page completes the set up and takes you to a list of options for continuing work in the Grades tool:

  • Create a New Grade Category
  • Create a New Grade Item
  • Import Grades
  • Create a New Grade Scheme
  • Manage Grade Items and Categories
  • Enter Grades

Optimal Grades tool settings for Large Courses

If your grade book contains a lot of users or grade items you might find that it loads slowly. Consider the following tips to improve performance.

  • Set the number of users to display per page to a low value.
  • Sort the User List by user instead of grades.
  • View the User List by group or section if possible.
  • Do not show decimal places in the grade book.
  • Do not repeat user details or grade item details in the grade book.
  • Do not repeat the calculated final grade or the adjusted final grade at the start of the grade book.
  • Do not select the Automatically keep final grade updated option.
  • Only display one user detail (i.e. Email, Username, First Name, Last Name) in the grade book.
  • Only display one grade detail (i.e. Points grade, Weighted grade, Grade scheme symbol, Grade scheme color) in the grade book.
  • Only display grade items and categories that you want to edit in Spreadsheet View in the grade book.
  • Do not create unnecessary grade items or categories.
  • Do not create unnecessary Calculated or Formula grade items.
  • Avoid making changes to grade schemes, the grading system, or the final grade calculation type once grades are assigned to users.
  • Only import users and grade items when data has changed.

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