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D2L: Create Grade Category


Grade Categories are used to organize and group related grade items. When grade items are grouped together, points and/or weights can be distributed among the items of the category. Distributions can be equal among all grade items in the category or the distribution can be uneven. Highest and lowest scores in the group can also be dropped. For example, suppose for a given course there are 5 quizzes that equate to 25% of the final grade in the course. Assume there is a grade category called quizzes and all five grade items for the quizzes are located in this category. Depending on the type of gradebook created, the quizzes could each be worth 20% within this category (5 * 20 = 100) or each quiz could be worth 20 points or 100 points total which is 25% of the points possible in the course.  Additional information on creating grade categories can be found at Creating grade book categories in the Desire2Learn Online Resource Center.  Following this link will direct you away from the UW-Platteville Knowledgebase.

  • Instructor access to a Desire2Learn Course
  1. Log into Desire2Learn.
  2. Select a course.
  3. Click Grades from the main menu.
  4. Choose Manage Grades from the Grades menu.
Manage Grades Main Menu
  1. Click New.
  2. Choose Category.
General Grade Category Information
  1. Type a Name for the category in the Name box.
  2. The Short Name field is optional.  
  3. The Description of the category is optional.  Note: This field may be hidden.  To show description, click the link Show Description.
  4. The Allow users to view description checkbox is optional. Note: Description and Allow users to view description is used to further document the gradebook.
Note: The Grading section of the Grade Category Add screen varies depending on the type of Gradebook used.

Weighted Grade Category Information
  • If a weighted gradebook is used, enter the weight that the category represents of the final grade.  Note: When each grade item in the category is added, the weights assigned to grade items within a category should total to 100%. For example, if there are 4 quizzes, the weight of the category may be 10% of the final grade but quiz 1 is 40%, quiz 2 is 30%, quiz 3 is 20% and quiz 4 is 10% of the weight of the category.
  • If the grade category is to be excluded from the Final Grade calculation, set the weight to 0%.
  • If student items in this category can total to more than the maximum value of the category, check Allow category grade to exceed category weight.
  • Click the Distribution option. The distribution of weights and points within a category are controlled as follows:
    • Manually assign weight to items in the category. As this name implies the instructor assigned a percentage to each grade item within the category. The percentages must total to 100%. If the gradebook is points-based, then the points assigned to each grade item is entered.
    • Distribute weights by points across all items in the category. If this option is chosen, the points of individual, non-bonus grade items are used to determine the relative weight of each item out of 100%.
    • Distribute weight evenly across all items. Each grade item is given an equal weight within the category. For example, if there are 3 items, then each item will be 33.33%. If there are 4 items, then each is worth 25% of the weight of the category. For points-based gradebooks, enter the number of points per item once. The amount will be assigned to each item in the category.
  • If weight is distributed evenly across all items in a category, instructors can choose the number of high non-bonus scores to drop and the number of low non-bonus scores to drop for each user.
Points Grade Category Information
  • If a points gradebook is used, there is no weight assigned.  
  • If items in this category can total to more than the maximum value of the category, check Can Exceed.
  • If the category is not to be included in the final grade calculation, check Exclude from Final Grade Calculation.
  • Unique point values may be assigned to each item within the category.  If all grade items within the category are the same value, check Distribute points across all items.
    • Enter Points per item
    • If points are distributed evenly across all items in a category, instructors can choose the number of high non-bonus scores to drop and the number of low non-bonus scores to drop for each user.
  • The formula gradebook is identical to the Points Gradebook except there is no option to exclude a category from Final Grade Calculations.

The final part of the New Category screen is setting Display Options.

New Category Display Options
  1. If Display Options are not shown, click the link Show Display Options.
  2. To allow students to see the class average for the category, check Display class average to users.
  3. To allow students to see a graph showing the category grade distribution, check Display grade distribution to users.
  4. Display options for the category can be overridden.  To do that, check Override display options for this item.  Then select or deselect the display options.

When all information has been added, click Save and Close. To create a new category, click Save and New.

If you have questions, please contact the DLC Help Desk at 608.342.1303, or 877.854.3083. You can also visit the DLC Help Desk's web page for information on hours of availability.