A Basic Gradebook Example

The first time that you set up a CourseSpaces gradebook, it can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. We highly recommend that you first work through our grades support area, to learn the ins and outs and details of CourseSpaces's grades area. After you know the basics, it can often also be helpful to see an example. That is the goal with this page - to show you a basic example of a gradebook set up that will hopefully assist you in setting up your own grades area.

To start off, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • With the gradebook, it is always best to keep it as simple as possible.
  • We recommend using the Weighted mean of grades aggregation method, as it is the simplest and most comprehensive.
  • If you create assignments using the Add an activity or resource link on your course page (such as an Assignment, Quiz, etc) these will automatically be added as columns in the gradebook.
  • If you plan to use the gradebook and reveal it to students, you will need to check your settings. There is a "master switch" for the gradebook that determines whether it is visible to students. Check the Quicksets block in the left hand column of your course. Students can see their grades needs to be set to Yes for the gradebook to be visible (you can change this at any time and click Update settings).
  • The CourseSpaces grades area is not intended to be your primary gradebook. The CourseSpaces gradebook allows you to reveal grades to your students, but you should always verify that these grades reflect those in your primary gradebook. We also recommend that you frequently export your CourseSpaces gradebook to your computer to ensure that you have a back-up.
Basic Assignments Example

The Premise for this Example


Let's get to our example! In this particular example, the gradebook will be set up using weighted mean of grades. This allows us to enter a weight for each item and category. There are three other aggregation methods that you may also wish to explore. This example is also assuming that the assignments and tests are completed outside of CourseSpaces, and therefore we must manually add them to the gradebook. If the assignments are created/submitted within CourseSpaces, these would automatically be added to the gradebook and we would only need to move them to the correct category.
Note: the weighted mean of grades aggregation method does not allow for extra credit.
I wish to set up a gradebook for my Math 100 course. Students are graded as followed:
Assignments: 40%
Assignment 1: 10% (marked out of 9)
Assignment 2: 10% (marked out of 9)
Assignment 3: 10% (marked out of 15)
Assignment 4: 10% (marked out of 15)
Tests: 60%
Midterm: 20% (marked out of 50)
Final Exam: 40% (marked out of 80)
So ... how do I do this?

Step 1. Create Categories

The first step is to create categories in my gradebook and assign weights. I will create two categories: one for Assignments, and one for Tests.

Note: if you have a small number of grade items, you may not need to create categories.

  1. Enter the gradebook by clicking on the Grades link in the Administration block (left column of your course page).
  2. Click on the Setup tab near the top of the screen. Tab Selection
  3. Find the "Edit" button opposite the first category (same name as the course). Click on it and select "Edit Settings". Under the aggregation option, select Weighted Means of Grades. Click Save changes at the bottom of the screen.Naming a category
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the Add category button.
  5. Fill in the Category name. In this example, I will type Assignments.
  6. Change Aggregation to Weighted mean of grades.
  7. Leave Aggregate only non-empty grades as checked.
    Note: if you do not see this setting, click on the Show more link.
  8. Leave all other settings at the defaults.
  9. Click Save changes at the bottom of the screen.
  10. The category (folder) will be created.
  11. Continue to create other categories by repeating Steps #4-10 above. I will create a second category called Tests.

Step 2. Add Grade Items

Now that we have created our categories, we will create our grade items. Remember: if you have created activities through the Add an activity or resourse link on your course page (e.g. Quiz, Assignment, etc) these will have been automatically added to your CourseSpaces gradebook. In this case, you will just need to move them to the correct category.

In this case, I have not created Assignments through CourseSpaces. In my Math 100 class, these are submitted in class, and I just want to display the grades for students through CourseSpaces.
Adding a grade item

To add a Grade item:

  1. Within the Categories and items tab, click the Add grade item button (at the bottom).
  2. Fill in the Item name. In this case, I will type Assignment 1.
  3. Typically, you can leave most other settings at the default.
  4. Ensure that Grade type is set as Value.
  5. Enter the Maximum grade for the item. In this case, Assignment 1 is marked out of 9.
  6. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen to find Parent category. Select the correct category, under Grade category.
  7. Click Save changes.
  8. The grade item will be created within the category that you selected.
  9. Continue to create other grade items by repeating Steps #1-8 above. In this case I will create five more grade items: Assignments 2, 3, and 4, Midterm, and Final Exam.
  10. Back on the main Setup page, click Save changes at the bottom.

Step 3. Assign Weights

Now it is time to assign weights to determine how much everything will be worth.
  1. Assignments are worth 40% of this course, so under the column titled Weight, I will type in 40 beside the Assignments category/folder.
  2. Each assignment (1-4) is worth 10%, so I will type in 10 beside each assignment, under the Weight column.
  3. Tests are worth 60%, so I will enter this beside the Tests category/folder, under the Weight column.
  4. The Midterm is worth 20%, so I enter 20 beside this item, under the Weight column.
  5. The Final Exam is worth 40%, so I enter 40 beside this item, under the Weight column.
  6. Don't forget to click Save changes at the bottom of the page!!!

Note: All weights must add up to 100.

I will leave the Category totals and Course total as 100. This way CourseSpaces will display a total out of 100 (instead of a total out of the maximum number of points).

My gradebook now looks like this:

Gradable items with weights assigned

Step 4. Enter marks and test calculations

It's time to go to the View tab, and see how the gradebook is looking. Here, we will see a list of students in the course, and the grade items that I added will appear as columns. Here, I can manually enter grades for my students - if I was using assignment submission within CourseSpaces (e.g. the Assignment activity), it would be best to grade the assignments through the individual assignment activities in CourseSpaces.

To manually enter grades for a student:
  1. From the View tab of the gradebook, click the Turn editing on button (top right corner). You will notice that boxes appear for each student under the various grade item columns.
    Note: this Turn editing on button is not associated with the button on the main course page that allows you to edit course content.
  2. To simply enter a numerical grade for a student, type the grade into the box. After entering a few grades, press enter on your keyboard to ensure that you do not lose any changes!
  3. Pressing enter will save the grades and CourseSpaces will calculate the Category totals and Course total. We strongly recommend that you check and ensure that the grades that CourseSpaces is calculating are what you expect (before you reveal any grades to your students! You may wish to keep the grades hidden at first!) Verify CourseSpaces' calculations against your primary gradebook.
  4. It can often be helpful to enter sample grades for a demo student, and then check CourseSpaces's calculations against your own.

Entering grades

Step 5. Check what your students see

It is always a good idea to check that what your students see is what you expect them to see. You may have hidden certain grades/assignments/totals from students - you can check their view using the User Report.

Click on the View tab within the grades area. The View tab in CourseSpaces allows you to switch back and forth between the instructor view (Grader report) and student view (User report).

View Tab

Just below the tabs at the top, click on User report (see the above image). Only you, as the instructor, have this view and can switch between instructor and student view. Students access their grades by clicking on the Grades link in their course Administration menu. They only see their own grades and not those of other students (and only if you have made grades accessible to your students).

You will see the Select all or one user drop-down menu at the right of the screen. Choose a student from your class.

The User Report will display the grades that this particular students sees for the course.
User Report