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Introduction to Brightspace Grades

Introduction to Brightspace Grades

Brightspace Grades (Gradebook) is available in most Brightspace Courses and can be used to communicate grades for, for example, assignments, exams, projects and participation. It is important to set this up properly. In a learning system such as Brightspace, we know that students spend between 7% and 22% of their time on the Gradebook page. On this page, we will briefly explain the features.

It is not permitted to place a document (spreadsheet or PDF) of student grades in a course. Even a document with only student numbers and grades is not allowed. According to the new privacy regulation from May 2018, this is strictly prohibited, and large fines will be levied on institutions that violate these regulations.

Using the Gradebook

There are some terms you must understand in Brightspace to help with the gradebook.


At its simplest, anything that receives a grade is an Item. For example a quiz, an assignment, a project, or even each question in the final exam. These are all examples of items. Students will see a grade for each item in their view.

And that’s all the terminology you need for courses where there are only a few items that are used to calculate the final grade.


However, you might have several items that naturally go together. For example: 4 quiz items, 7 questions in the final exam, or 3 assignments. You can group these items together in what Brightspace calls a Category.

Brightspace let’s you do interesting things with Categories.

Firstly, you can make a Category count a certain amount of weight. Each of those categories, when added up, gives a 100% to the overall weight. This provides a great way for the students to see their grade breakdown. (see image below)

Within a category the items should add up to 100% and within the whole gradebook all the categories should add up to 100%.

The second feature of categories is that it allows you to do interesting things with the items within each category. For example, you might have a grading policy where you have 6 assignments, but only the best 5 assignments count towards the assignments in the overall grade. In other words, you drop the lowest assignment.

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When setting up your course in Brightspace one of the steps is to set up the Gradebook of the course. Do this before adding other activities such as assignments, quizzes and/or discussion because you might want to link these activities to the Gradebook. Before you set-up your Gradebook it is good to have an overview of what grades will be given and how they relate to the final grade.

If you are using the grade book for the first time, the most ideal way to set it up is to use the Grades Setup Wizard.

To get more familiar with the Grades module in Brightspace you might consider to do the exercise for working with the gradebook.

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After you have set up the gradebook you might want to change/add/delete items or categories this can be done in the Manage grades-tab. On the left side of the image below is what you see as instructor in the Manage Grades tab. As you can see on the right side of the image, this is very much in line with what students see when they click on the Grade-menu.

In the Manage grades-tab you can also find an Event Log, which tracks actions in the Gradebook. This is useful in large courses where multiple people are entering and changing grades.

You can enter grades directly into the gradebook in the same way as you would in Excel. To learn how to enter grades click here.

Once you enter grades, students are automatically notified; however, you can release the grades at a later date if you prefer.

Filtering Rows

In the Enter Grades-Tab you can filter and hide/show certain rows or sort by any column to make grade entry easy. The colour coding helps identify which students are falling behind in your course or those who have not submitted any work.

You or the teaching assistant can also provide corresponding feedback for students and also for the entire class. If you are working with a team of graders, then you can create comments that only that team can see internally using Private Feedback.
Read more about how to provide feedback Through grading

There is an Export function, to export your gradebook to Excel. You might be more comfortable using Excel, or for a complex grade calculation. Once completed, you can re-import your grades with the Import function. You will discover that Brightspace is capable of handling some fairly complex grading systems.
Read how to Import and Export Grades

Lastly, at the end of the course you can export your gradebook, and upload the final grade for all students into Osiris.
More about Osiris

To practise how to use Gradebook, go to this page. Here you can follow exercises that will help you improve your skills within the Gradebook.

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