Grades: Grading System Options

As an instructor, you can determine how to set up your grade book to best reflect your approach to evaluation, including the grading system and grade scheme that is most appropriate for your course.

Grading Systems

Selecting a grading system is the first step in setting up your grade book. To setup a grading system, either use the grades setup wizard or go to Grades / Settings / Calculation Options.


The weighted system calculates grade items as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%. The maximum points you assign to individual grade items can be any value, but their contribution towards the category they belong to and the final grade is the percentage value (weight) assigned to them.

Grade items in a category count as a percentage of that category, not of the final grade. Therefore, grade items in a category should combine to a weight of 100%.

For example, if you have a category worth 10% of the final grade with two equally weighted grade items, the weight of each grade item is 50%, (its contribution to the category), not 5% (its contribution to the final grade).

Since it's a category’s weight and not an individual grade item’s weight that counts toward the final grade, the final grade is inaccurate until all the items in the category are graded. If you want to release final grades to users before all the items are graded, you can drop ungraded items from the calculation until the end of the course when you want all grade items to be considered. Otherwise, the final grades might be misleading.

If your grade items do not add up to 100%, you will receive a warning message. You can ignore this message if you choose; a balanced grade book is not required. If the weights assigned to grade items do not sum to 100%, the tool adjusts the weight of each item. For example, if you have three grade items with a weight of 25% each, each item is actually calculated as 33%. This is true for categories and the final grade.


Use the points system when you want the maximum 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 maximum points values. The sum of the maximum points values for all grade items does not need to equal 100.

With the points system you do not specify a category’s weight or total points. It is the maximum points assigned to an individual grade item that counts toward the final grade.

Make sure the maximum points assigned to grade items reflect how much you want them to be worth. For example, don’t grade each of your 20 homework assignments out of 50 points and then your final exam out of 80 points.

Another option in the point system is to exclude an item from the final grade calculation. This enables you to evaluate a grade category, numeric grade item, selectbox grade item, or pass/fail grade item without including the grade in users’ calculated or adjusted final grades. The New/Edit Item page and the New/Edit Category page both include an Exclude from Final Grade Calculation check box.

You can achieve similar functionality in the weighted system by setting the grade item or category’s weight to 0%.


Use the formula system when you want to calculate final grades using a custom formula that allows for conditions. The formula system is based on the points system, but allows you to set conditions around grade items to determine the final grade. For example, you could require that users receive at least 50% on their midterm and final exam to pass a course.

The formula system might not be available at your organization. If you do not have this option, you can release the adjusted final grade and calculate your custom formula manually, or you can contact your site administration about getting access to this functionality.

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Article ID: 65116
Thu 10/11/18 4:57 PM
Tue 7/11/23 11:33 AM

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