Best practices for digital grading

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We at DLINQ are sometimes asked about options and best practices for electronically sharing grades with students. While a range of options exist in the digital ecosphere, it’s important to keep data privacy and security in mind, including FERPA rules, when you consider those options.

The ITS-supported platforms below offer the best way to record and share student grades. These platforms have built-in gradebooks tied to your student roster, provide you and students secure access using Middlebury credentials, offer the best security for student data, and offer the least risk that you might accidentally share student grades with the wrong person.

For sharing grades throughout the semester

For sharing final grades:

  • Banner

We strongly discourage grade sharing via platforms such as email, third-party digital gradebooks, and online spreadsheets for the following reasons:

  • Email is not a secure platform. It’s easily re-routed, and it’s easy to make a mistake and send an email to the wrong person. This video from the United States Department of Education explains these risks in more detail.
  • Third-party digital gradebooks are not supported by Middlebury ITS, may charge fees, and may have dangerous privacy and data-security policies that put you and your students’ data at risk and potentially be a violation of FERPA regulations.
  • Shared online spreadsheets carry privacy risks (it’s easy to make a mistake and share with the wrong person or with the world at large), are time-intensive to maintain, and may not be accessible to students outside the country.

If you are looking for alternative ideas for grade keeping and sharing, we invite you to schedule a consultation with a DLINQ team member.

Where do I start?

Before you get started creating your digital gradebook, we recommend you make note of the following items:

  1. Your grading math
    1. How much is each assignment worth?
    2. Will grade values be displayed as points, a percentage, or a letter grade?
    3. Do you divide your grades into categories (e.g., participation, exams, concept application, modal skills, etc.)?
    4. Are your grade categories weighted (e.g., exams are worth 25% of overall grade, participation is worth 15%, concept application is worth 35%, and modal skills are worth 25%)?
      1. If yes, make a list of the categories and their corresponding percentages.
      2. If no, are all the assignments weighted the same? (If they are – how many points do you use to grade them?)
      3. If all assignments are not weighted the same, and you do not use assignment categories, you will need to assign grade values based on the weight of the assignment. For example, you might decide that small assignments/homework are worth 20 points each, while larger exams, papers, and projects are worth 100 points each.
  2. Do you already use Canvas, MS Teams, or Google Classroom for your course? If yes, that might make your choice for a digital gradebook easier, as long as the platform otherwise meets your requirements.
  3. Do you assign grades for items with no submissions (e.g., participation)? If so, how do you typically share that with students?
  4. Do you have students from multiple countries in your course and are they accessing your course remotely? If so, keep in mind that Google tools are not accessible in all countries. You may wish to schedule a consultation with a DLINQ staff member to discuss further.


Canvas is a learning management system that allows you to share resources with students, collect assignments, and assess and provide feedback on their work. If you plan to use the gradebook in Canvas, you will need to create assignments, discussions, or quizzes for each item that you grade in your class.

  1. If you will be using Grade Categories to weight your grades you will need to set these up first. To do so, create your assignment groups and set your assignment group weights. If you do not have assignment groups, you can jump right to step 2.
  2. Once your assignment groups are set up, you should create your assignments, graded discussions, and quizzes and link these to your assignment groups during the setup process. If you do not know all of your assignments yet, you can add them as the course progresses too, just be sure to link them to the appropriate assignment group. Also be sure to select the appropriate grading scheme for your assignment. We find that the points option is usually the most popular.
  3. Next you will want to adjust your general gradebook settings. The default selection is for all grades to post automatically when you are finished assessing them. This can sometimes cause a problem because the students whose work is assessed later might think that there is a problem as other students mention that they have gotten their grades. To avoid this, you can select to manually post grades or hide grades for an individual assignment until they are ready for student viewing. Some other items that you can adjust include:
    1. Grade policy for missing submissions
    2. Grade policy for late submissions
    3. Whether or not you allow a final grade override

This video is a great overview of the functionality available in the Canvas Gradebook:



If you are having trouble seeing assignments in the gradebook:

  • Do you have a filter activated?
  • Due dates impact where assignments display in your gradebook. Assignments without a due date will appear at the end of the gradebook.
  • Are your unpublished assignments displaying?

Microsoft Teams

The MS Teams application offers another digital gradebook option for faculty. Similar to Canvas, faculty will need to set up an assignment in Teams for each item that they wish to grade. Each assignment can be assigned a number of points and be linked to a rubric. You can categorize your grades, however the category is informational only and does not impact the calculation of a grade.

  1. In order to use the gradebook in Teams you will need to create a “Class” type team. Assignments are only available in this type of team. You will be prompted with this selection option when you first create your team.
  2. To begin, list all of the assignments that you will grade in your course, along with the corresponding point value. You will also want to know the due date for each assignment and whether it is assigned to all students, or a portion of students.

Important note: All weighting will need to be managed through the point value on the assignment. For example, if a paper is worth twice as much as a homework assignment you might assign a point value of 200 to papers vs. 100 for homework assignments. Microsoft Teams does not offer automated grade weighting like Canvas does.

  1. In Teams, go to the General channel and click on the Assignment tab to create your assignments. 
  2. As student work is turned in, you can assess, respond to, and return their work. In addition, Teams utilizes a feedback loop to allow students to review, return and turn in assignments. Learn more.


  • Teachers cannot create assignments until students are added to the class.

Google Classroom

Middlebury users have access to Google Classroom through their Middlebury accounts. Faculty can set up a Google Classroom and associated grading system; however, they should be aware that Google apps are not accessible in all countries. If you have students who will need to access your course remotely, you may wish to schedule a consultation with a DLINQ staff member to discuss this scenario and your options further.

  1. To begin, decide if you want to use Total Points Grading (divides total points earned by total points possible) or Weighted by Category Grading (adds the scores across categories). Then you will want to follow these instructions to set up Grading in Google Classroom.
  2. Next you will want to create an assignment for each item that you will grade. You will be able to link the assignment to a grade category, assign a point value, due date, and link a rubric to the assignment.
  3. When you are ready you can grade and return the assignments, view or update your gradebook, as well as view all of your students’ work via Google classroom.

Comparison chart

Use categories to weight grades Yes No Yes
Students can view their overall grade Yes Yes Yes
Teacher can hide overall grade from students Yes No Yes
Teacher can attach a rubric to an assignment Yes Yes Yes
Allows resubmissions Yes Yes Yes
Graded quizzing Yes Yes (uses Microsoft Forms integration) Yes
Facilitates peer review Yes No No

Using Banner to enter final grades

For help with using Banner to enter final grades, please contact the Registrar’s office.

See Also: Grades & Transcripts from the Middlebury Handbook