D2L - Gradebook formulas not recommended (UW-Madison)
UW-Madison is adopting Canvas as the single, centrally supported learning management system, and discontinuing support for Desire2Learn (D2L) and Moodle. Access to D2L and Moodle will permanently end June 1, 2018. For information about retaining materials from D2L or Moodle, please refer to this document.
The Desire2Learn formula gradebook functionality, while powerful, is not recommended for use at UW-Madison except under very specific circumstances. Formula calculations can be used for providing information, but are difficult to use in the calculation of final grades.
There are two areas where formulas can be used: as a formula item (informational) and grade system (under calculation options).
- Formula item
A formula gradebook item can be created to do complex calculations on studen grades (including averaging, MIN/MAX functions, and boolean conditional statements). However, unless a formula grading system is used, a formula grade item cannot count towards a final grade (meaning: a formula item can only count towards a final grade if a formula grading system is used).
For more information, please see "Gradebook Formula Editor".
- Grade system
A formula grading system can accommodate nearly any means of calculating student grades. However, a formula for the final grade must be created. This essentially requires recreating the formulas for each grade item while adding them all together.
We have found that a number of alternatives to gradebook formulas work for the majority of instructors.
The options for creating weighted grade items and categories accommodate the majority of instructors needs. For example, assignments can be weighed by percentage categories, assignments can be dropped from categories, and categories can accommodate assignments that are added as the semester progresses.
For more information, see "Grade Items and Categories in the Weighted System."
- Calculated column
A calculated column can be used to easily sum the total points from selected grade items.
For more information, see "Calculating a mid-semester grade."
- Text field (export to excel)
For instructors who wish to do advanced calculations while still providing students information on their grades, a text item can be used to enter non-calculating data (text or numbers). While text columns do not factor into the grade calculation, they can be used to enter data that can be exported to an Excel-compatible file, and then re-imported into D2L.
For more information, see "Importing and Exporting the Gradebook."
Talk to a consultant
Consultants are available to assist with using the D2L gradebook for your grading system.
For more information, see "Get Help."