How do I create a Grade item which deducts points?

You will learn how to create a grade item which deducts points from a given category which will affect the Course total for the students. For example, some instructors like to deduct points for attendance or tardiness or a late submission.

Follow these steps to add a Grade item which deducts points rather than adding points to a student's score. Read this guide to learn how to create a basic gradebook.

Note: This is a rather complex process, so you may want to consult with the Online Education and Training department for assistance or to verify that you have set up your gradebook correctly.

1. View your syllabus.

In this sample syllabus there is a substantial possible deduction for attendance/tardiness.

Sample syllabus

2. Click on Grades.

Grades link is selected.

3. The Grader report page displays all of the Grade items and student names.

The Grader report page displays as the default entry point into the gradebook for instructors. The Grader report page is similar to a spreadsheet showing all of the student names and the Grade items for your course. Students will only see the User report page which shows only their own grades.

Read this article to learn how to create a basic gradebook.

Read this article to learn how to input student grades in the Grader report.

4. Click on Setup.

The Setup link is under Grade administration. Expand the Setup category by clicking on it.

Setup link is selected.

5. Click on Categories and items.

 Categories and items link is selected.

6. The Categories and items page will display.

The Categories and items page is where you add and organize Grade items and Categories (folders of Grade items). You can also create custom calculations and choose various methods of aggregating Grade items.

There are some requirements involved in creating a grade item that can deduct points:

  • That grade item must be in a category within the gradebook which uses a customized sum formula (for example: =sum([[1]],[[2]],[[3]],[[4]]) ) to add the grade items
  • The chosen category must have no more than 8 grade items
  • The chosen category must have at least an equal number of points as the grade item which can deduct points
  • The chosen category cannot have any special conditions, like extra credit, drop the lowest, etc.
Categories and items page

7. Organize the gradebook into sub-categories.

7.1. Click on Add category.

Add category button is selected.

7.2. Type a name for the category.

Since an extra credit grade item cannot be in the same category as a grade item which will deduct points, you need to create a category for the extra credit grade item.

Category name field is selected.

7.3. Click on Save changes.

Save changes button is selected.

7.4. Click on Edit.

7.5. Click on Edit settings.

7.6. Expand the Parent category section.

Parent category

7.7. Tick the Extra credit check box.

 Extra credit check box is ticked.

7.8. Click on Save changes.

Save changes button

7.9. Click on the up down arrow to move the Extra Credit Chapter Summary Quick Review sheet grade item.

The Extra Credit grade item needs to be moved into the Extra Credit category.

7.10. Click on the dashed rectangle under the Extra Credit category.

dashed rectangle is selected.

7.11. The extra credit grade item is now in the Extra Credit category.

Note: that the extra credit symbol has been removed from the grade item but is now applied to the category instead of the grade item.

7.12. Click on Add category.

Add category button is selected.

7.13. Type a name for the category.

Category name field is selected.

7.14. Click on Save changes.

Save changes button is selected.

7.15. Tick the check boxes for the remaining grade items.

7.16. Use the drop down menu to select a category to move them to.

Category is selected

7.17. There are now two categories of grade items.

7.18. Click on Add grade item.

Add grade item button is selected.

7.19. Type a name for the new grade item.

Item name is Attendance.

7.20. Type 0 for the Maximum grade.

 Maximum grade is set for 0.

7.21. Type -200 for the Minimum grade.

Minimum grade is set for -200.

7.22. Use the drop down menu to select the name of the category to place it in.

Grade category is set for Category

7.23. Click on Save changes.

Save changes button is selected.

7.24. The categories are now organized.

8. The custom formula/calculation needs to be written.

8.1. Click on Edit for the category total.

8.2. Click on Edit calculation.

8.3. Type ID numbers for the grade items in this category.

You only need to add ID number to the grade items and categories which are to be included in a formula.

ID numbers are entered.

8.4. Click on Add ID numbers.

Add ID numbers button is selected.

8.5. Note the ID numbers all have double brackets.

 ID numbers display.

8.6. Add each of the ID numbers to the formula.

Calculation field is selected.

8.7. Click on Save changes.

Save changes button is selected.

8.8. Note that the category now has a calculation icon.

9. Enter the grades in the Grader report.

9.1. Click on Grader report.

Grader report link is selected.

9.2. The Grader report now displays as it was reorganized.

9.3. Click on the cell in the Attendance/Tardiness column to enter a grade.

Remember: The grade value is between -200 and 0, so you must enter a negative number (if other than 0) or you will receive an error message stating that the entered value is higher than the maximum grade allowed.

the grade cell is selected.

9.4. Note that the category total and the Course totals are both affected by the grade entered.

Note that the Attendance/Tardiness grade column numbers are in red on this spreadsheet indicating that they are negative.

Article Summary

You have now learned how to create a grade item which can deduct points.