Gradebook is a tool that allows instructors to securely and privately record and distribute course grades. It can be used to calculate and store grade information and distribute it to students online. Click here to see the video tutorial.

For detailed instructions about using Excel formulas to calculate grades, please see our Excel Formulas page.

For detailed instructions about using specific Excel functions to manage grades, please see our Excel Macros page.

For detailed instructions about submitting final grades, please see the Course Grade Submission documentation page.

Basic Use of the Gradebook

Accessing and Navigating the Gradebook

The Gradebook is not enabled by default. You can enable the Gradebook for your course or project site by going to Edit Tools in Site Info for the project/course site in which you are working.

Gradebook Views

There are three different views for the Gradebook:

  1. By default, you see the "Gradebook Items" view. This view lists all of your assignments, assessments, exams, and other gradable items.
    • It includes information such as the class average for each item and whether or not grades have been released to students.
  2. You can switch to the "All Grades" view by clicking the corresponding link in the horizontal menu bar. This view displays the Gradebook as a table with students listed in rows and Gradebook items listed in columns.
    • Here you can view every grade for every item for every student.
    • This is the view most similar to WebCT's Gradebook.
  3. You can also switch to the "Course Grades" view by clicking the corresponding link. This view is very similar to the "All Grades" view, except it only displays each student's final grade.
    • Here you can enter (or manually override) final course grades for each student.

In any of the three views, you can sort the Gradebook by clicking on a column's name.

Adding a Gradebook Item

Some Gradebook items are generated automatically (e.g. in-OWL quizzes), but you may wish to manually create Gradebook items (e.g. for essays submitted physically). To add a new Gradebook item:

  1. Ensure that you are in the default Gradebook view ("Gradebook Items" view).
  2. Click Add Gradebook Item(s). Gradebook1-a.png
  3. Enter a title and a point value (e.g. out of 100). Entering a due date and/or a category is optional.
  4. Decide whether or not to release the grade to students and/or to include the item in course grade calculations (for more information, see "Course Grades" below).
  5. Click Add Item(s). Gradebook2-a.png
  6. To make changes to the item, return to "Gradebook Items" (the default Gradebook view) and click Edit next to the item's name.
  7. To remove the item, return to "Gradebook Items" and click the item's name. Click Remove gradebook item from gradebook and follow the on-screen instructions.Gradebook3-a.png

Entering Grades

As mentioned above, some Gradebook items are automatically generated by other tools in OWL. Grades can only be entered for these items in the corresponding tools (e.g. by grading a discussion in the "Forums" tool). You can manually enter grades for items that you have manually created, however. To enter grades for a standard Gradebook item:

  1. Make sure you are in the default Gradebook view ("Gradebook Items" view).
  2. Click on the title of the Gradebook item you for which would like to enter grades.
  3. Enter values for one or more students in the "Points" column. You can change the number of total possible points by editing the Gradebook item.Gradebook4-a.png
  4. Click Save Changes. You should see a notification that says "New scores saved"

Hiding/Releasing Grades

When you create a new Gradebook item, you'll notice that in order to include it in course grade calculations, it must be released to students. You may wish to calculate a course grade without releasing anything to your students, however. There are two solutions to this issue:

Option 1: Hide the Gradebook Items.

  1. In the Gradebook, click Gradebook Setup in the horizontal menu bar.
  2. Uncheck Display released Gradebook Items to Student.Gradebook5-a.png
  3. Click Save Changes.

Option 2: Hide the Course Grades.

  1. In the Gradebook, click Course Grade Options in the horizontal menu bar.
  2. Uncheck Display Course Grade to students now.Gradebook6-a.png
  3. Click Save.

Option 3: Hide the Gradebook

  1. In Site Info, click Page Order.
  2. Click the lightbulb icon next to "Gradebook".Gradebook7-a.png
  3. You should see a notification that says "Gradebook is now hidden from normal user view".

Now the entire Gradebook tool will be hidden from students, so even if you have released grades to students, they will not be able to access them. This includes both individual Gradebook items and overall course grades.

Neither of these options affects other tools. If you have released assessment grades to students, for example, they will still be visible via TESTS & QUIZZES

Advanced Use of the Gradebook

Importing/Exporting Grades

It is possible to import either the entire Gradebook or a single Gradebook item (column). The entire Gradebook can be imported as a spreadsheet in CSV or XLS format. A single Gradebook item can be imported in CSV, XLS, or ScanExam's DPC format.

DPC files are used by ScanExam to record results. They contain student numbers as well as corresponding grades. ScanExam CSV files are not supported

In the case of CSV or XLS files, it is highly recommended that you export a template spreadsheet from OWL before trying to upload a file with new grades. Using a template will ensure that the new grades will import successfully.

Formulas will NOT import correctly in OWL. Only columns with values will import.

Exporting the Entire Gradebook

  1. In the Gradebook, click Import Grades.
  2. Download the spreadsheet template in either XLS or CSV format (both are compatible with Excel and LibreOffice). The template includes all existing students, gradebook items, and student grades.Gradebook8-a.png
  3. If you require help with using Excel to manage your grades, please see the page on Excel Calculations.

When exported, some column titles will end with "_X". These titles should not be modified, as they denote columns that cannot be re-imported back into OWL.

Exporting one Specific Section or Group from the Gradebook

If your OWL site has students assigned to different groups or sections, it is possible to export one section at a time as a CSV or an excel file.

  1. In the Gradebook, click Course Grades.
  2. Under the "View" dropdown menu, select the desired group or section of the OWL site.
  3. When the section is done loading, select the desired format using the dropdown menu under the student list. Once you have selected the file type, press Download to retrieve your file.



Importing New Grades

  1. Using the template downloaded from OWL, input student grades in Excel (or other spreadsheet software). If you add new columns, make sure the maximum point value of the column is included in the title between square brackets.
  2. Save the spreadsheet in the same format you downloaded it as (either XLS or CSV).
  3. In the Gradebook, click Import Grades and then Choose File.
  4. Click Browse and select your XLS or CSV file.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Click Import Spreadsheet.
  7. Confirm the imported grades are correct, then click OK. You will receive a notification telling you that either the spreadsheet has successfully been added to the Loading Dock or that there were errors. If your spreadsheet does not import correctly, follow the instructions on screen and try again.

When importing a spreadsheet, column titles that end with "_X" will be ignored. You can use this naming convention to mark columns in your spreadsheet that you don't want to appear in OWL. When importing a Gradebook file, you cannot use "Course Grade" as the name of a column/gradebook item. This is a reserved name within OWL, and grades found under this column will not be imported.

Importing a Single Gradebook Item (e.g. ScanExam grades)

When working with the Gradebook, OWL allows users to upload a single Gradebook item from an existing file. This feature will likely be used most often by instructors who work with ScanExam grades. If you plan on importing a single Gradebook item, it is first necessary to upload the file to the OWL Loading Dock, then import the file from the Loading Dock into your Gradebook.

  1. In the Gradebook, on the Gradebook Items page, click Import gradebook item from spreadsheet.Gradebook11-a.png
  2. Click Upload a spreadsheet… to Loading Dock. Gradebook12-a.png
  3. Give the file a title and click Choose File. Gradebook13-a.png
    1. Click Choose File to browse your local machine; select your XLS or CSV file and click Continue.
    2. Alternatively, you can browse your Resources folder, Attach a copy of an existing file, and click Continue.CSV files produced by ScanExam are not supported. Use DPC format instead. Gradebook14-a.png
  4. Click Save.
  5. You will then encounter a "Verify Upload" screen in which any errors or missing entries should appear.
    1. If your spreadsheet does not import correctly, follow the instructions on screen and try again.
    2. To view any missing entries click on the Grey bar that reads "# Missing Entries Found".
    3. Confirm the imported grades are correct, then click OK.Gradebook15-a.png
  6. Locate the file in the Loading Dock and click Import. Gradebook16-a.png
  7. Select the column(s) you wish to import and click Import Selected. Gradebook17-a.png
  8. You may be prompted to create a new Gradebook item (see Adding a Gradebook Item above). Once you have entered a title etc., click Submit.
  9. You should receive a notification telling you that item has been successfully added to the Gradebook. Gradebook18-a.png

Course Grades

A "course grade" (final grade) is automatically generated for every student in the Gradebook. To exclude a Gradebook item from the course grade calculation, uncheck Include this item in course grade calculations in the item's settings. Grades that do not count towards the course grade will appear in parentheses. It should be noted that under Grade Entry within the Gradebook Setup page, the grades should always be checked off as Points. The registrar is unable to receive any grades that are graded as Percentages.

Using Categories

By default, every item in the Gradebook is weighted equally towards a student's course grade. To assign specific weighting to items in the Gradebook:

  1. In the Gradebook, click Gradebook Setup.
  2. Under "Categories & Weighting", select Categories & Weighting.
  3. Create as many categories as you require, each with a title and a weight out of 100. The total weight from all of the categories should add up to 100.
  4. Click Save Changes. You should see a notification that says "Your changes have been saved".



When you return to the "Gradebook Items" view. You will see your categories listed above your Gradebook items. To add an item to a category:

  1. Click Edit next to the item's title.
  2. Select the appropriate category from the drop-down "category" menu and ensure "Include this item in course grade calculations" is selected.Gradebook21-a.png
  3. Click Save Changes.

Now the course grade will be calculated using the weighted values from each category. Gradebook items that are not in a category will not count towards the course grade, even if "Include this item in course grade calculations" is enabled.

Placing Gradebook items with different point values in the same category might result in undesirable Course Grade calculations.Avoid placing Gradebook Items with different point values under the same categoryInstead, place all Gradebook items with different point values in separate categories

Enabling Drop Highest/Lowest

The OWL Gradebook allows users to drop the highest or lowest mark in a given category. To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Gradebook, click Gradebook Setup.
  2. Under "Categories & Weighting", select Categories & Weighting.
  3. Select the option that best suits your needs.
  4. Enter the number of items you would like to drop in the provided field.Gradebook22-a.png
  5. Click Save Changes.

Hiding/Releasing Course Grades

To show or hide course grades from students, click Course Grade Options and check/uncheck Display course grade to students now, then click Save.This is not necessary if you have completely hidden the Gradebook from students (see "Option 2 above).

Grade Type

Grade Type determines the format in which your final, calculated Course Grades can be overridden and submitted. Please note that only values under the "Course Grade" column can be overridden (Please refer to the section titled "Grade Override" for more information on how to override course grades).

Official Registrar Grades is the default and most recommended Grade Type in OWL. This is the ONLY grade type that allows you to submit grade to the Registrar.


To change your Grade Type navigate to your Gradebook and click on Course Grade Options in the horizontal menu bar. Select from the drop down menu under "Grade Conversion" the Grade Type you would like to use and click Change grade type. You must also click the Save button at the bottom of the page. These options are typically used for sites where grades do not need to be uploaded to the registrar.

There are four different options from which to choose: Please note that "Official Registrar Grades" is the ONLY option where you will be able to submit grades to the registrar office. The other three options are not able for submission to the registrar office. These options are typically for courses or project sites where no grades are being submitted.

  1. "Letter Grades": provides basic options for inputting letter grades.
  2. "Letter Grades with +/-": provides more extensive options for inputting letter grades (A+, A-, B+, etc.)
  3. "Official Registrar Grades": provides the option for inputting numerical grades. When grades are submitted to the Registrar Office, it is either the mark under the Course Grade column (With rounding) or the Grade Override column; both of which are found under the heading Course Grades.
  4. "Pass / Not Pass": provides options for inputting Pass/Fail grades.


Changing the Grade Type will also change how the Average Course Grade is displayed. For example, if the Grade Type is changed to Letter Grades, the Average Course Grade will display as a letter grade as well as illustrated above.

The minimum % mappings for Letter Grades can be changed if necessary. For example, to get a letter grade of A the student must achieve a score of 90% or more.

  1. To change the minimum values, type in the minimum % value for each letter grade as shown.
  2. Once you are done, click Save at the bottom.Gradebook25-a.png

Grade Code Definitions

The following table outlines the definitions for the available special course grade codes:

Grade CodeDefinition
DEFDeferred Exam
DNWDid Not Write
DRPDropped (Penalty)
FAIFail, for course designated pass/fail
FTWFailed Term Work
IPRIn Progress
NCNo Credit
NGRNo Grade Reported
PASPass, for course designated as pass/fail
PWDPass with distinction, for courses designated as pwd/pass/fail in faculties that offer this designation
SPCSpecial exam
SUPSupplemental exam, in faculties that offer supplemental privileges
WDNWithdrawn, if withdrawal is without academic penalty

Grade Override

The grade override option allows you to override students' course grades. It provides a fast and easy way to change students' overall course grades if it is necessary. Grade override is located in the Course Grades section of the Gradebook tool, it is the last column on the right hand side.


  1. To override a student's Course Grade enter a new value in the space provided under the Grade Override column. Grade overrides can be numerical values or one of the approved registrar codes found above
  2. Once all the new values have been entered click Save Changes at the bottom of the page otherwise the grade(s) will not be overridden.

In order to see the grade changes click on All Grades in the horizontal Gradebook menu.

Submitting Grades

Please see the Course Grade Submission documentation page for detailed information.



external link: Gradebook Video Tutorial (Please be patient as the video downloads)