How do I set up a Gradebook with categories for organization and/or dropping grades?

In this scenario, you are setting up a gradebook with categories but no weighting. It provides a straightforward calculation of total points earned in the course. However, the addition of categories allows you to use the Group by Category option to organize the visual layout of your Gradebook items. In addition, you have the option to drop grades within categories if desired.  

Go to Gradebook.

Click the Settings tab.

Click to expand the Categories and Weighting section.

Select the Categories only radio button.

Additional options display once you select categories only.

Enter categories.

  1. Click the Add a category button to add more categories.
  2. For this example, enter each category as follows: Homework, Projects, Exams.

Enable drop highest, drop lowest, and/or keep highest. (Optional)

If you would like to be able to drop or keep a subset of scores within categories, check the box next to Drop highest, Drop lowest, and/or Keep highest.

Note: In order to drop items within a category, all items in that category must be worth the same point value. Additionally, there is the option to check the Equal Weight box. This will reconfigure all items in that category to be weighted on a points scale of 100.

Indicate the number of items to be dropped or kept within each category.

Click Save Changes.

Click the Grades tab.

Click Add Gradebook Item to create items and associate them with the appropriate categories.

  1. Add the following Gradebook items for this example: Homework 1, Homework 2, Homework 3, Homework 4, Project 1, Project 2, Project 3, Project 4, Midterm, and Final. The title for the first item is shown in the image above.
  2. Assign 100 points for every item.
  3. Make sure to assign each Gradebook item to the appropriate category. All Homework items should be assigned to the Homework category, Project items should be assigned to the Projects category, the Midterm and the Final to the Exam category.
  4. Be sure to check the boxes next to Release item to students? and Include item in course grade calculations? for each item.  
  5. Click Create to save the item.

Note: You may also assign items from other tools, such as Assignments or Tests & Quizzes, to specific categories when you create them.

To test our scenario:

Let’s say demostudent01 has earned the following points:

  • Homework 1 - 89 out of 100
  • Homework 2 - 94 out of 100
  • Homework 3 - 78 out of 100
  • Homework 4 - 83 out of 100
  • Project 1 - 83 out of 100
  • Project 2 - 88 out of 100
  • Project 3 - 95 out of 100
  • Project 4 - 91 out of 100
  • Midterm - 90 out of a 100
  • Final - 95 out of a 100

The Gradebook will automatically add up all of the scores and divide by the total points possible.

If no grades are dropped, then the grade calculation is (89+94+78+82+83+88+95+91+90+95)/1000 points. The student's overall grade average = 88.5%.

If the lowest 1 score is dropped in the Homework category, and the highest two scores are kept in the Projects category, the grade calculation would be (89+94+82+95+91+90+95)/700 points. The student's overall grade average = 90.86%.

If you try this example and don’t get the same results, you might want to go back and make sure that:

  • The categories and dropped scores within categories are set up correctly.
  • Each gradebook item is worth 100 points.
  • Each gradebook item is assigned to the correct category.
  • Each gradebook item is released to students and included in gradebook calculations (two checkboxes).
  • The student grades were entered correctly.