VIU Campus

Grade Categories

Categories allow you to organize related grade items into groups. You may want to consider using a grade category in the following situations:

  • If you know you would like to offer the same sort of activity multiple times throughout the course (weekly quizzes, weekly discussions, etc), each of these activities will be worth the same amount of weight towards the final grade, and you know how much you would like those activities to be worth collectively towards the overall final grade of the course, but you are not sure exactly how many items you will be giving students. 

    Creating a category will allow you to easily add or remove activities from the category, as VIULearn can automatically adjust the weight of the grade items in that category when new items are added or removed. 

  • If you would like to automatically drop a learner's lowest mark from a group of similar activities (For example, 7 quizzes are offered throughout the course, but only the student's highest 5 will count towards their final grade).

Please Note: When creating a grade category with weighted grades, the weight of all items in that category must add up to 100%

For example, I have created a grade category worth 10% towards the final calculated grade. In that grade category, I have two items that I would like to be worth the same weight towards the final calculated grade (5%). In this case, I would want both of my grade items to be weighted at 50%. In this situation, each individual grade item would be worth 50% of the weight of the grade category. 

  1. Click on Assessment and Grades from the course navigation bar.

  2. From the manage grades screen, click New and choose Category.

  3. On the Properties tab:
    • Give your category a name (required). 
    • You can give your category a short name which will display for you on the enter grades screen instead of the category name.
    • You can also add a description if you want by clicking Show Description. If you want to make the description available to learners, select Allow users to view description. 
    • If you are using weighted grades, assign a weight for the category (required). 
    • Choose how to distribute the weight or points of the category. 
    • Choose what information learners can see for the category under Display Options. 
  4. On the Restrictions tab:
    • Choose whether users can see the category and the items underneath it. 
    • Add a Start Date and/or End Date for the category. If you add a start and end date, students will only be able to see the grade category, the grade items underneath that category, and the marks they achieved on that grade category between these availability dates. 
    • Set up Release Conditions which determine when a category is visible. 
  5. When you are done customizing your category, click the blue Save and Close button. 

Edit Grade Items and Categories

Once you have created all of the grade categories and items in your gradebook, you can edit many of the item and category settings using the Bulk Edit option in the manage grades area. You can also edit a single category or item to change settings such as the restrictions on who can view the item or the name of the grade item.

Please Note: Changing the maximum points for a grade item after entering any grades will result in calculation errors.

  1. Click Assessment and then Grades from the course navigation bar.

  2. Check the box next to the items and categories you want to edit (or check the top select box to select all items and categories).

  3. Click Bulk Edit.

  4. From this screen you can change the Name, Short Name, Max Points, Weight (if applicable), Bonus settings, Can Exceed settings, Grade Scheme, and Category of any grade items or categories selected. 

  5. Once you have finished making changes, click the blue Save button.

  1. Click Assessment and then Grades from the course navigation bar.

  2. Click the arrow to the right of the grade item or category you want to edit. Choose Edit from the dropdown menu.

  3. You will be taken to the editing screen. Make any necessary changes to the grade item or category. 

  4. Once you are ready, click the blue Save and Close button.

Please Note: Changing the points on a grade item or category after entering any grades can result in calculation errors.

Dropping Grade Items

You can drop grade items based on student performance using grade categories. For example, you may be giving students 8 quizzes throughout the course but you may only want their 5 highest performing quizzes to count towards their final calculated grade. This can be achieved and automatically managed by using a grade category. To use this feature, each grade item in the category must be worth the same weight (weighted grades) or points (if not using weights).

We recommend that your calculation settings be set to Treat Ungraded items as 0. You can find instructions on how to edit your settings in the Grade Tool Setup page. When students are viewing ungraded items, they will see that they have received 0s on activities that they have not yet completed. They will also see that grade items that they have not yet completed are being dropped from the grade category. These 0s are temporary and will be adjusted as they complete activities in the course. VIULearn will correctly drop the lowest preforming grade item(s) in that category once the student has had the opportunity to complete all the grade items in that category. 

Dropping the lowest grade items is the most common use of this setting. However, if desired, you can also drop highest scoring items using these same steps, except you will select Number of highest non-bonus items to drop for each user setting.

  1. Click on Assessment and then Grades from the course navigation bar.

  2. Click New and choose Category.

  3. Give your category a name.

  4. If you are using weights, assign a weight and click the Distribute weight evenly across all items checkbox.

    If you are using points only, click the Distribute points across all items checkbox and insert the number of points each item will be worth. 

  5. In the Number of lowest non-bonus items to drop for each user field, insert the number of grade items you wish to be dropped from this category. 

  6. Once you have finished editing, click the blue Save and Close button.

  7. Create and add your grade items to this category.