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Course Grade Scale

  • The Grade Scale tab found in BYU Grades is the grade scale that will be used to determine students’ final letter grades in the course. It is recommended that the same grade scale is used throughout the entire semester because changes during the semester can cause grading discrepancies and/or student confusion.

    Note: Additional grade calculations can be created in the Final Grades tab. Click here for more information. Click here for more information about creating customized grade scales for individual assignments.

    1. To set the grade scale for the Learning Suite course, go to BYU Grades and select Grade Scale from the Grades navigation menu.

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    2. Select the desired grade scale option from the Scale drop down menu. Four grade scale options:

    • Percent
    • Points
    • Scaled Points
    • Distribution

    Note: There are two different point grade scales; Points and Scaled Points. Points is a true points grade scale that uses the total number of points possible in the course. Scaled Points, however, is a mix between points and percent that scales the total points possible to a maximum points possible entered in the grade scale.

    If deciding between Points and Scaled Points, it is recommended to use the Points grade scale. Scaled Points will eventually be phased out of Learning Suite.


    The percent grade scale allows the instructor to assign letter grades based on percentages. In the field next to each letter, enter the lowest percentage a student must earn to receive that letter grade.

    Note: Final grades will be truncated to two decimal points. For example, 93.556 will appear as 93.55.


    The points method displays the number of points possible in the course. It automatically calculates the total points possible from assignments and exams created in Learning Suite.
    In the field next to each letter, enter the lowest number of points a student must earn to receive that letter grade.

    Points cannot be used if the course is using weighted categories. The following warning message appears if points is selected as the grade scale and the course is currently using weighted categories. Select Use a different grade scale or Change to total points.

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    Scaled Points

    The scaled points method allows instructors to set a maximum points possible value for the course. This value does not need to be the same as the actual points possible in the course.

    For example, if the maximum points possible is 1000 and the actual points possible is 680, the course will be scaled accordingly. This means that students’ scores would be multiplied by 1.47 (1000/680). So, a student who earned 550 out of 680 actual points possible would get 808.5 out of 1000 maximum points possible (550 x 1.47 = 808.5).

    Enter the total number of points possible in the Maximum field to begin setting up this grade scale. In the field next to each letter, enter the minimum number of points a student must earn to receive that letter grade. The minimum values should be based off of the maximum score, not the actual points possible.


    A distribution grade scale could also be referred to as “grading on a curve.” In the field next to each letter, enter the percentage of students that will achieve each letter grade. For example, a distribution grade scale where A is reserved for 4% of students and A- is reserved for 5%, will give A’s to the top 4% of students with the highest score and then A-’s to the next 5% of students with the highest scores. The sum of the percentages must total 100%.

    Note: Because the distribution grade scale cannot be fully calculated until the end of the semester, the instructor should make students aware that the grade shown during the semester is not the grade they would receive if the class ended at the time it is viewed. It will change throughout the semester depending on how students do in contrast to other students in the class. If there are any ungraded assignments or missing scores, the distribution will not reflect the true impact of those scores.

    3. Select Save and Continue after the desired grade scale has been set up.

  • As the instructor sets up their course, they have two options for their grading method:

    • Weighted Categories
    • Total Points
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    Weighted Categories Method

    The weighted categories method means that each category will be given a certain percentage, or weight, of the students' grades. The assignments within a category will be averaged together to determine the score of that category. (The instructor can set the assignments in a category to have equal or variable weights when creating or editing a category.)

    Grades will be based on a series of short quizzes, four exams, and a writing assignment. The quizzes combined will be worth 20% of your grade (each quiz has equal value), a written assignment in two parts will be worth 20% of your grade (10% for each part), the two in-class music identification exams will be worth 20% of your grade (10% each), and the two Testing Center exams will be worth 40% (20% each).

    To calculate final grades according to the weighted categories method:

    1. At the bottom of the assignments page, mark the Use weighted categories box
      in Grades, under the Setup tab, select the Weighted categories option. 
    2. In Assignments (either in Grades or Course Home), assign each existing category the appropriate weight percentage. When creating a new category, the user must enter in a category weight.

    These percentages can be viewed in the % of total column on the assignments page. It works best if the category weight percentages add up to 100, but BYU Learning Suite will accommodate if they add up to be less or more than 100.

    Total Points Method

    The total points method means that the points assigned to each assignment will reflect the effect of that assignment on the students' final grades.

    Grades will be based on the following learning activities: In-class quizzes (2 points per lecture for a total of 60 points), homework (4 points per item for a total of 100 points) midterm exams (40 points each for a total of 160 points) and the final exam (100 points). To receive an A, the student must have 378 points, an A- requires 362 points, a B+ 349 points, and so on.

    To calculate grades according to the total points method:

    1. At the bottom of the assignments page, leave the “Use weighted categories” box blank
    2. in Grades under the Setup tab, select the Total Points option.

    When the instructor uses the total points method, in Assignments, the % of Total column will be hidden, and the option to assign a category weight percentage when creating or editing a category will also be hidden.