Grades Concepts

Important considerations when setting up your Grades tool in BOLT are:

  • What is Grades?
  • What grading system do you want to use?
  • What grade items will you use to assess students?
  • What categories will grade items be organized into?
  • How much will grade items be worth?
  • How do you want Gradebook to calculate final grades?
  • What type of Grade Scheme do you want to use?
  • How do you want grades to display to students?

What is Grades?

In Grades you define your grading system, items, scheme, and calculation, view, and display options.

The grading system determines how the grade items contribute to final grades. Grade items represent the work you want to evaluate students on. Grade schemes allow you to apply a custom grading scale to grades. Calculation options settings affect how the final grade is calculated, and display options affect how grades appear to students.

PRO TIP: The Grades tool in BOLT does not interface with MyHusky. If you need to enter grades there, it is a separate tool unrelated to BOLT.

What Type of Grading System Do You Want to Use?

The grading system determines how the grade items in your gradebook contribute to students’ final grades. There are three types of grading systems you can use in BOLT. The weighted system, the points system, or the formula system.

The Points Grading System totals the point values of grade items to calculate the final grade.

The Weighted Grading System uses grade categories to represent a percentage of the final grade. The points assigned to a grade item in the category contribute to the category percentage of the final grade.

Since every grade item’s points contribute to the category percentage of the final grade in the weighted system, the final grade is incomplete until all items in the category are graded.

It is important to also note that you can use points to “weight” certain categories and grade items without using the weighted system by making grade items worth a certain number of points out of the total points possible. This is visible in the example below:

Points Grading System

Weighted Grading System
Papers Category
     -Paper 1 (50 points)
     -Paper 2 (100 points)
     -Paper 3 (50 points)
Project Category
     -Project (180 points)
     -Contributions (10 points)
     -Peer Eval (10 points)
Final Grade: ____/400 points

Papers Category (50% of Final Grade)
     -Paper 1 (25% of Papers Category)
     -Paper 2 (50% of Papers Category)
     -Paper 3 (25% of Papers Category)
Project Category (45% of Final Grade)
     -Project (100% of Project Category)
Participation Category (5% of Final Grade)
     -Contribution (50% of Participation Category)
     -Peer Eval (50% of Participation Category)
Final Grade: ____/100%

The last system available in BOLT is the Formula Grading System. This system allows the instructor to develop a custom formula by setting conditions around grade items to determine the final grade. Formula systems can be complicated. We recommend you contact the IMDC at if you would like help setting up a formula system.

What Grade Items Will You Use?

When you designed your course you decided learning would be assessed in different ways. You might have chosen to assess student learning with quizzes or projects, discussions or presentations. Each of these assessments must be associated to a Grade Item in BOLT to be included in Grades.

What categories will grade items be organized into?

You will most likely have categories of assessments in your course. For example, you may have decided that you are going to assess students using three papers, a project, and two participation type grades.

In this case, you might organize Grades into three categories: Papers, Project, and Participation

How much will grade items be worth?

The assessments in your course are in place to evaluate student learning. Each one is a part of the calculation for the final grade. Some grade items may be worth more towards that grade than others.

Using our example, you might decide you want papers to be worth 200 points, the project 160 points, and the participation items 20 points each. Or you might decide you want to make each category worth a certain percentage of the final calculated grade. These considerations are an important part of planning how to set up Grades.

You might be thinking that this sounds a lot like what you put in your course syllabus. You’re right! Grades in BOLT should mirror assessment information in your syllabus.

Best Practice is that Grades should mirror assessment information in your syllabus. If you have existing grading information in your syllabus, it should be helpful to you when setting up Grades!

How Do You Want Grades to Calculate Final Grades?

The next consideration in planning Grades is deciding how students’ final grades will be calculated in your course. There are two different options available in BOLT.

Calculated Final Grade calculates a grade based on the points a student earns via grade items in BOLT. In this case, editing grade item scores is the only way to adjust final grades. The grades can’t be manually adjusted during the final calculation.

Adjusted Final Grade allows an instructor to modify or adjust grades before releasing them.

PRO TIP: If you have a policy of “rounding up” or modifying grades, use the Adjusted Final Grade.

What Type of Grade Scheme Do You Want to Use?

If you already have a grading system, you might be wondering what a grade scheme is. A grade scheme in BOLT is a way of organizing student achievement into levels. Each level has its range of grades and a symbol to represent it.

If, for example, you want to display the letter grades students achieved, you would set up a grade scheme with each letter grade and its associated percentage range. Another reason you might want to have a grade scheme is if you want to display a text description of the achievement such as Below Average, Average, Above Average, etc.

Here are some examples of grade schemes for you to get a better idea of what they can do:

Letter Grades
A, A-, B+, B, B-…
100%, 95%, 90%...
Numeric Grades
4.0, 3.7, 3.3, 3.0…
Text Description
Above Average, Average, Below Average…
Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze…

Grade Schemes are useful when setting up a non-traditional Gradebook in a course where skill assessment or mastery is key. For example, in a painting class, your default grade scheme could be based on traditional training roles: Master Painter, Journeyman, Apprentice; or famous painters: Da Vinci, Rembrandt, van Gogh. You could also create other label-based grade schemes for assessing specific grade items in the course.

How Do You Want Grades to Display to Students?

Finally, you also have a number of options for how grades display to students. Do you want to include the points grade or the scheme symbol? Do you want to display the final grade calculation? Do you want to automatically release final grades so that it updates automatically as you assess more items?