Brightspace Support

Brightspace Support

Grading an Assignment

The Assignment tool provides instructors with a variety of tools to help grade assignments and to leave feedback. All of this is done on the Assignment evaluation page. You are also able to attach a rubric to the assignment, provided you have created one in Brightspace. Click here for our guide on creating rubrics.

The most convenient way to grade assignments, is on the Evaluation page . Another option is to download the assignments to your computer and grade them in Microsoft Word. You can also use TurnitIn, which is an application built into Brightspace. TurnitIn offers a “Similarity Check” to alert you of any possible plagiarism, and also offers annotation tools.

Access the Assignment Evaluation page

  • Download Assignment files
  • Use TurnitIn

Updated Spring 2022

how to grade assignments in brightspace

This takes you to the evaluation page. Here you have many options for assessment and providing feedback. Also see the image below.

  • By clicking on the document, you can use the built in Annotation Tool . Click here for more information on how to use annotations. 

On the right hand side you will see the feedback panel. This panel will allow you to privately communicate FERPA-sensitive grade information with your student. You can:

  • Attach and use a rubric . Click to expand the rubric and grade by criterion.
  • Assign a grade. Enter manually, or if you are using an rubric this is automatic entered.
  • Add text. Add images and other things with the insert stuff button in the feedback text box.
  • Upload a feedback file . This can be a graded copy of the submission, instructor notes, or another file. 
  • Add video or audio feedback. This feature is useful when you want to communicate more personally with your students or accurately convey tone. You can record one minute of audio or three minutes of video.

how to grade assignments in brightspace

After leaving feedback and assigning a grade, you can publish feedback immediately or save your feedback as a draft and release it at a later time. This enables you to revise and review evaluations and publish your feedback to multiple users at the same time. You also have the option to retract published feedback if you want to provide an update to past evaluations but only want learners to access your most recent feedback.   

Download assignment files

how to grade assignments in brightspace

It is also possible to download all user submissions in a .zip file, leave feedback within the files using the Word or PDF track changes and comment features, then upload the files back to the appropriate assignment submission folder so they appear as attachments.

how to grade assignments in brightspace

  • Open the Zip file that is downloaded to your computer. Enter feedback one by one, save and close the files. Do not rename the files.
  • To return feedback on all downloaded submissions at once, click Add Feedback Files . Upload your compressed .zip file using the same format that it was downloaded with, then click Add .

To add the file to students one at a time , go to the Evaluation page for that student. Use the File Upload button underneath the feedback text box

how to grade assignments in brightspace

Use Turnitin

Turnitin is an originality checker (sometimes also called a plagiarism detector, although that term stretches what the tool is actually capable of). However, it is possible NOT to use the originality tools, and instead use Turnitin’s robust grading and evaluation tools which include rubrics, Quickmarks, and an e-rater that assigns student essays with typical feedback for surface-level writing issues that is then fully editable by the instructor. Here are our guides for using Turnitin:

  • Video Introduction to TurnitIn’s Quickmarks
  • How do I enable TurnitIn on a new assignment?
  • How do I enable TurnitIn on an existing assignment?
  • An Overview of TurnitIn Feedback Studio
  • How to use the similarity report tools in TurnitIn
  • How to provide feedback using TurnitIn
  • How to manually enter grades using TurnitIn
  • How do I use a rubric in the TurnitIn Feedback Studio
  • Brightspace
  • Google Apps
  • Submit a Ticket

Stony Brook University

Division of Information Technology

Grading assignments in brightspace.

Audience: Faculty, Staff and Teaching Assistants

This article will show you how to grade your student's assignments via the Assignment tab in the Navbar. If you would like to learn how to grade via the Quick Eval tool, check out our these slides. 

  • Go to the  Assignment Menu  of your course

Image of the Assignment Menu highlighting an assignment

  • Once you are here, you can view your student's submissions. To view their submission, click on either:
  • The student's name
  • The student's file submission

Image of the student's name, the name of their paper, and an evaluate button to view the students submission

  • On the right of the screen, you can enter an  Overall Grade , type  Overall Feedback , and  Include Attachments  to the feedback.
  • Once you are finished, you can either  Publish  your evaluation, or  Save it as a Draft .

Image of the evaluation area to type in a grade, leave feedback, add attachments to your feedback, and publish or save your feedback as a draft.

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Getting Help

The Division of Information Technology provides support on all of our services. If you require assistance please submit a support ticket through the IT Service Management system.

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Academic technology services.

Brightspace Support via SUNY Helpdesk

  • Phone: 1-844-673-6786
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  • Learning Management System Support >
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  • Assessment and Grading in Brightspace >

Basics of Grading in Brightspace

Grading is used to provide feedback and evaluate student work. Instructors communicate to students about their performance, where they need more help to achieve the course's goals and highlight progress through grades on assignments and assessments. However, effective feedback and grading is not possible without a well thought-out grading scheme. This page provides information on how to use the Brightspace Grades Tool and Setup Wizard to ensure your course has a solid grading system in place. 

On this page:

Grading features.

The grade book in Brightspace shares many similar functions as the Grade Center in Blackboard. However, the biggest difference is in Brightspace you must first use the Grades Setup Wizard . This process is helpful to help align and plan how grades will be categorized and allocated in the system.

Create Your Grade Book: Grades Setup Wizard

The Setup Wizard is the feature that will guide you through the process of setting up your grade book in Brightspace. When you open the Grades Tool for the first time, you will click on the Setup Wizard tab to get started.

Step 1: Choose a Grading System

Weighted, points or formula system.

  • A weighted system will display percentage scores for a grade item based on how much it contributes to the final course grade (e.g., 20.0%).
  • A points system will display the number of points (e.g., 32 to represent 32/40 on an individual item and overall grade will be the total number of points earned).  
  • A custom formul a can also be used to calculate overall grades.

Step 2: Establish Final Grade Type and Release

Release calculated or adjusted final grades.

  • Brightspace will automatically calculate overall grade as grade items are submitted and scored.  
  • Adjusted grades allows instructors to override calculated scores without rescoring individual grade items.  
  • Note:  Depending on your course settings, not all grades may be released at the same. You can choose to withhold publishing grades until a specific time or publish grades at will at the individual graded item level.

Step 3: Grade Calculations

Ungraded items can be dropped or treated as 0.

  • If you select  drop ungraded items , the grade will be calculated only for those grade items that have been scored.  
  • If you select  treat ungraded items as 0 , unscored grade items will be included in the calculated score as 0’s.  

Treating ungraded items as 0’s will temporarily deflate overall grades until these items are scored.  You also have the option here to ensure that the final grade is adjusted each time a grade item is scored to allow for a running progress check.

Step 4: Choose Default Grade Scheme

  • UB automatically imposes letter grades, but there may some cases where instructors want to reflect scores as percentages of points earned or simply pass/fail.  
  • Note: For all schemes other than letter grades, the instructor must convert the resulting final grade to a format that is acceptable in HUB.  

Step 5: Managing View Display Options

Select the number of decimal places to display.

  • This feature allows the instructor to determine how many decimal places students see in the grade book.

Step 6: Student View Display Options

Select student view display options.

  • Points Grade : This setting determines whether or not the Points grade value associated with a grade item is displayed in the student view of grades.
  • Grade scheme symbol : This setting determines whether or not the grade scheme symbol associated with a grade item is displayed in the student view of grades. 
  • Grade scheme color : This setting determines whether or not the Grade scheme color associated with a grade item is displayed in the student view of grades. 
  • Note : Both the grade scheme symbol and color must be displayed at the same time. You cannot have a grade scheme color showing without having a grade scheme symbol established.
  • Decimals Displayed : This setting controls how many decimals will be displayed to a user grading a course. The value must be an integer between 0 and 5.
  • Characters Displayed : This setting determines how many characters of a Text grade item users can see in their view of the Grades tool. The value must be an integer between 0 and 50. If the text item is longer than the characters displayed, the text will be truncated.
  • Final Grade Calculation : This setting determines whether users can see how their final grade was calculated in the student view of Grades.

Step 7: Grades Setup Summary

Review this summary to ensure the grades for your course are configured correctly.

Grades Tool – Setup Wizard (Video)

Grade Assignments with the Grades Tool

The Grades Tool in Brightspace is equivalent to the Grade Center in Blackboard.  You will use the Grades Tool in Course Admin to set up your grade book with assignments, tests and other graded activities, and to evaluate your students' work when submitted. 

Grade items can also be created for activities that do not include a submission, such as class attendance, in-class presentations, group discussions, etc. To create assessments that utilize submissions, please visit Creating Activities and Assessments . 

Grade Scheme

The Grade Scheme is how a student’s achievement is represented on individual grade items and holistically for overall performance.  This can be represented as a percentage score (e.g., 85.0%), pass/fail, complete/incomplete, as a letter grade (e.g., B) or other such formats.  The university uses a standard grade scheme, which will be the default in Brightspace just as it has been in Blackboard, however you and your department will need to decide the criteria to meet the desired schema. The schema can be allocated to specific items or the course overall if your course, depending on the grade scheme selected.

For more information about fair and equitable grading practices at UB, see Explanation of Grades .

Grades Category

Assessments can be grouped into categories of like requirements. For example, grade items that require submitted written work can be grouped into a Grade Category called Assignments. Discrete quizzes can be grouped into a category called Quizzes. This functionality is helpful when using a weighted grading system. It also allows total weight or points for a grade category to be easily distributed across all grade items in that category.  To create grade categories:

  • On the navbar, click Grades . 
  • Click Manage Grades .
  • Click on  New  and select Category .
  • Give your category a name and select the options that are relevant for the category.
  • Click Save and Close .

Grade Items

Grade items are activities you are using to measure your students’ progress in your class (known as assessments in Blackboard). These include assignments, quizzes and discussions, as well as those activities that do not require a submission such as attendance, participation, in-class exams, etc. 

For more detailed information about creating grade items, please see Quizzes in Brightspace or Assignments in Brightspace .

Brightspace categorizes grade items by the way that a grade or score is assigned. Grade Item Types represent the six approaches to scoring grade items in Brightspace.

Grade Item Types

Extra credit and bonus grade items.

At times, you may want to provide extra credit work for students that will provide bonus points on top of the points they earn from regular grade items, allowing a grade to exceed 100%. These grade items must be given a numeric score. In this case, when you are creating a new grade item in the Manage Grades tab, you can choose from two checkboxes:  Can Exceed or  Bonus . There are some cautions when using these grade items:

  • These can only be scored as numeric items.
  • These items do not update the final grade until all other grade items have been compiled.
  • To allow extra credit on a standard assignment, select Can Exceed .
  • An item specifically given as an extra credit assignment is called a  Bonus Grade Item  –  all  points given are treated as extra credit. Using a Bonus Item will allow students to earn extra points without changing the final calculated grade. Bonus items will have a star next to their name in the grade book.

How to Add Bonus or Can Exceed Option to a New Assignment

  • Create an assessment or class activity
  • After naming your new item and putting in its point value, select  Can Exceed or Bonus .
  • Add any additional rubric or display options.

How to Add Bonus or Can Exceed Option to an Existing Assignment

  • Select Grades   in the navbar.
  • Select Manage Grades .
  • On the item you wish to add a Bonus or Can Exceed option to, click on the chevron and select Edit .
  • Under Grading , click on the checkbox for Can Exceed  or Bonus .
  • Select Save and Close .

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Brightspace Bites: Tips for Setting up and Using Grades

  • Discussions

This article is part of a series of tips, tricks, and helpful bits of information on various Brightspace tools.

Follow these tips to set up and use Grades effectively in your courses.

      1. The default view in Grades is the Standard View , which shows instructors a summary of student grades.  If a student has missed an assessment or a grade needs to be manually entered, select the Switch to Spreadsheet View button to enter the grade into the appropriate box.  Press the Save button when done.

Image displays the standard view in grades.

Grades Standard View

Image displays the spreadsheet view in grades.

Grades Spreadsheet View

      2. “Drop ungraded items” and “Treat ungraded items as 0” are the two options available in the Grade Calculations  section within the gradebook’s Settings .  If using “Drop ungraded items”, instructors should manually enter zeros if a student did not complete an assessment.   If using “Treat ungraded items as 0”, however, grades for all assessments will be preassigned a zero by default until the assessments are completed.  To check if your course is set to “Drop ungraded items” or “Treat ungraded items as zero”, select Grades from the Navbar and select Settings on the right of the screen.   Under the Calculation Options tab, check the appropriate option under Grade Calculations , and press the Save button.

Image displays where to choose grade calculations.

Grade Calculations

      3. To change the Grade Scheme for a grade column (to switch from Algonquin College Letter Grade to percentage or vice versa, for example), select Grades from the Navbar and ensure you are on the Enter Grades screen.  Click on the chevron to the right of the grade column’s name and select Edit from the drop down menu.  On the Edit page, in the drop down menu below Grade Scheme, select the appropriate Grade Scheme , then press the Save and Close button.

Image displays where to change grade scheme display.

Change Grade Scheme Display

      4. When creating a grade Item , ensure that Max. Points and Weight are correct.  The item’s  Max. Points refers to the number of points the assessment is worth, such as an assignment that is 18 / 20, (where 20 represents the  Max. Points ). An item’s  Weight , however, refers to the percentage that item is worth with respect to the course total, such as an assignment worth 10% of the course’s final grade. 

Note : Max. Points and Weight do not need to be the same number.  

Image displays max points versus weight for a grade item.

Grade Item Max Points vs Weight

      5.  If an activity (such as an Assignment, Quiz, or Discussion topic) is attached to the gradebook, ensure that the Max. Points value for the grade item (in the gradebook) matches the total number of points listed in the activity itself.  Verify by selecting Grades in the Navbar, and checking the Max. Points under the Manage Grades tab.  Compare the Max. Points value for the grade item to its associated activity by viewing the setup of the specific activity you are assessing; ensure that the values match. 

In the example below, Assignment #3 is worth 40 points ( Max. Points) in the gradebook.  You would then go to Activities > Assignments and check the setup for Assignment #3 to ensure that it is also being graded out of 40 points.

Image displays where to verify max grades value.

Match Assessment Value and Grade Item Max. Points

      6.  To preview Grades from the student perspective, select Grades from the Navbar, and on the Enter Grades screen, click on the chevron to the right of a student’s name then select Preview from the drop down menu.   

Note :  The  Preview will appear in a pop up window.

Image displays how to preview grades as a student.

Preview Grades as a Student

Related Articles

  • How Students can Sign up for Activities using Self Enrolment Groups
  • DLE Weekly Update: Quiz Accomodations
  • The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Tool
  • Using the New Templates in Brightspace
  • DLE Weekly Update: How to Hide All Grades and Manually Publish Quiz Grades

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  • Brightspace

Brightspace – Grading

Grading in brightspace.

Grading in Brightspace is different from what we were accustomed to in Blackboard. There are 3 ways to approach grading in Brightspace:

  • Individual tool areas
  • The Grade Book

Quick Eval is found by clicking “Grades & Feedback” in the green nav bar. (You can also access this on the Brightspace home page and it will display items to grade for all of your courses.) This is a great place to go for grading student work because you can immediately see all submissions that need to be graded, and as you go, the graded items drop off the list. When you open Quick Eval, you’ll see two tabs (see image):

Submissions: The Submission view shows both what needs grading and also places a symbol next what you’ve graded but not yet published. You can sort by activity name and then click on a student’s name to begin the grading. (After grading one student, you can navigate to the next, using the arrows at top right of grading window.)

Activities: The Activities view of does a great job of condensing everything into bite-sized pieces of information – how many student submissions there are in total, how many are evaluated, how many grades are published, as shown below.

Group assignments are not listed in Quick Eval.

Quick Eval

Tool Areas – Assignments, Quizzes, Discussion

If you click on one of the above-mentioned tools, you can target exactly what you want to grade. Each tool has a slightly different set of steps:


  • Click on the number that appears in the “New Submissions” column
  • Or click the arrow button next to assignment title, and choose “View Submissions”

Quizzes: Click the arrow next to the quiz title and choose “Grade”

Discussions: Click on the number of unread posts (threads)

Most grading in Blackboard happened in the Grade Center, but in Brightspace, the Grade Book is not the most convenient place to start. Everything can be accessed for grading there, but it usually takes more clicks and is not as direct as Quick Eval.

To try this, go to Grades & Feedback > Grades. You’ll want to “Switch to Spreadsheet View” (the button toggles back and forth between “Standard View” and “Spreadsheet View.” The spreadsheet allows you to enter or modify grade cells. Or, you can click the top of the column and choose “Grade.” In other cases you can see that work has been submitted by an icon that appears in students’ cells and you can click the icon to view the item to be graded.

Sometimes you might want to narrow down your view to make your work in the Grade Book easier. You can view a single grade column or you can view an individual student. To show only one column, click on More Actions > Hide/Show Columns. To show a single student, search for their name and to go back to the full class list, click Clear Search.

Related Grade Articles

  • Brightspace – Grades: Set Up Your Grade Book
  • Brightspace – Grades: Display Cumulative Course Grades to Students
  • Brightspace – Grades: Export the Gradebook
  • Brightspace – Grading Schemes
  • Brightspace – Grading: Granting Exemptions
  • Brightspace – Grading: Manually Enter into the Gradebook
  • Brightspace – Grading: Publishing Options

Related Articles

  • Brightspace – Replace Strings
  • Brightspace – Surveys
  • Brightspace: Attendance Tool
  • Brightspace – Course Level Accommodations
  • Brightspace: Add Gradescope
  • Brightspace – TurnItIn


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