Grading In Google Classroom: What Teachers Should Know


Google Classroom offers a wide variety of tools for teaching online. As a teacher, having a good understanding of the grading system in Google Classroom will enable you to mark your students effectively.

Google Classroom offers 3 types of overall Grading methods and they are :

  1. No overall grade
  2. Total points grading
  3. Weighted by category grading

Now let us dig into the steps you need to complete your grading and what other important information you much know about to grade in Google Classroom.

Introduction to Grading

For your grading system you can choose total points or weighted by category grading. In both the grades are calculated for you and you can let students see their overall grade.  If you don’t want to use a grading system you can choose no overall grade. Grades will not be calculated.  This means the students can’t see an overall grade because there isn’t one.

Adding grading systems and creating grade categories is only available in the web version of Google Classroom.  Each type of grading comes with its pros and cons. We’ll discuss all of them and suggest which one you should use.

In this article, we’ll discuss

  1. Basic Concepts of Grading Methods in Google Classroom
  2. Can Students know the grading system?
  3. How to set up grading Methods?
  4. Is the Grading method compatible with your institution?
  5. How to make grading useful for your class?
  6. Providing Grade Sheets to the administration

Basic Concepts of Grading Methods in Google Classroom

Google Classroom has the grading system planned for both individual assignments and the overall grades of the semester. The basic concept of the grading method is

  • Set a grading system of the overall semester
  • Grade individual assignments and tests as teaching continues
  • Provide an overall result when the semester is over

As Google Classroom evolved, they’ve added more and more features to make the online teaching environment better. Their most recent addition to this is the Weighted by category grading method. We’ll discuss them in two sections.

  1. Individual Grading
  2. Overall Grading

Individual Grading

Google Classroom offers Assignments and Quiz Assignments which can be graded. These are the two ways you can interact with individual students and evaluate them.

The three options you have to grade assignments are:

Ungraded

If you don’t want to assess the assignments, you can assign the option ungraded. This will not grade that assignment.

Total points

You can set total points separately for any particular assignment. This option will let you add the scores out of the total points directly for that assignment.

For example, you have an assignment on the topic: “The history of Native Americans”. Now you want to evaluate the assignment out of 100. Simply select 100 as the total points for this assignment.

Again you have another assignment on “The declaration of independence”. You want to score it out of 50. You can select the total points to 50 for this assignment.

Now you can put overall scores of the students directly with this option. For example, in the assignment “The declaration of independence”, you can enter directly as

  • John gets 44/50
  • Paul gets 38/50

Rubric

A rubric shows the feedback or grading criteria for an assignment. Criteria are the parts of an assignment your teacher wants you to focus on, such as grammar or spelling.

Adding a Rubric is the best way to evaluate the assignments with more in-depth scoring. There is still a total point for this assignment. But instead of directly putting the overall marks, the teacher will grade the individual criteria of the assignment. The overall score will be calculated automatically.

For example, let’s assume the previous assignment on “The declaration of independence” has 3 criteria.

  1. Story Telling
  2. Grammar
  3. References

The teacher will mark the assignment according to these criteria. The overall scores out of the total points 50 will be calculated from these markings.

Overall Grading

Google Classroom automatically calculates the overall grade as you continue your courses online. As you evaluate individual students throughout your course/semester, the overall grades get calculated as you’ve defined them. There are three methods to define the overall grade as mentioned earlier. Let’s discuss them with examples.

1. No overall grade

This is as the name suggests, having no grading in your class. This feature is set as default in your Class in Google Classroom. Having no overall grade can also be a feature for some certain situations such as

  • If you already have a semester running and you are using Google Classroom for just a portion of that semester
  • If you are taking a class where no overall grade is necessary.
  • If you have an overall Grading system ready and don’t want to adjust that with Google Classroom (We’ll discuss this topic later to see how you can adjust your semester easily with Google Classroom)

2.Total points grading

An overall grade is calculated for you by dividing the total points a student earns by the total points possible in the class. You can create grade categories and set point values for classwork in each category. For example:

Essay categoryTest categoryStudent points/Points possibleOverall grade
Essay 1: 90/100Test 1: 95/100185/20092.5%

The table shows that a student scored 90 points out of 100 on an essay, and 95 points out of 100 on a test. The student earned a total of 185 points out of 200 possible in the class. Divided, this gives an overall grade of 92.5%. [1]

Total points grading will have equal weight to each category you make. This is useful if you want to keep the grading system of your class simple and easy to manage.

However, in modern education systems, it is not suitable to give every test category equal priorities. For example, the quiz you took on chapter 1 and the test for chapter 2,3,4,5 are NOT the same. Treating them equally makes it unfair. Which brings us to the next category.

3.Weighted by category grading

You assign weights (percentages) to grade categories, and an overall grade is calculated for you. This system calculates as follows:

  1. Finds a student’s average for a category.
  2. Multiplies each category’s average by its weight (as a decimal), giving category scores.
  3. Adds the category scores for an overall grade out of 100%.
Essay category:  50% of gradeTest category: 50% of gradeOverall grade out of 100%
Essay 1: 70/100Test 1: 90/100 
Essay 2: 80/100Test 2: 100/100
(70 + 80) ÷ 2 = 75 avg. 75 x .5 = 37.5(90 + 100) ÷ 2 = 95 avg.95 x .5 = 47.5
Category score = 37.5%Category score = 47.5%Overall grade: 37.5 + 47.5 = 85%

The table shows weighted by category grading. In the Essay category, the student averaged 75. Multiplied by the category weight, .5, this gives 37.5% for Essays. In the Test category, the student averaged 95. Multiplied by the category weight, .5, this gives 47.5% for Tests. Adding the category scores (37.5 + 47.5) gives the student an overall grade of 85%. (sourced from https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/answer/9184995?hl=en)

Weighted by category is the best-suited grading option in Google Classroom. This is compatible with most of the educational systems. It is also the logical method.

Let’s look back at the example again, if you treat the quiz on chapter 1 as 25% of the total marks and the test on chapter 2,3,4,5 as 75%, then the grading will be justified.

Can Students know the grading system?

Short answer: Yes, if the teacher wants them to.

There is an option in the settings to make the overall grading system visible to students. If the course teacher wants to, then he/she can make it visible to them. By default, it is set to not visible for the students.

It is preferable to make the overall grading system visible to students. By this, the students can know how they are evaluated and prepare them accordingly.

The teacher can make the Rubric gradings visible to the students also. This will help students focus on the main criteria for their assignments.

How to set up Grading Methods

Individual Grading

This option is available whenever a new assignment is announced. When a teacher uploads a new assignment, he/she can set the grading methods.

Steps for Ungraded grading

  1. Go to your class from Google Classroom
  2. Go to Classwork
  3. Click Create
  4. Click Quiz Assignment

For Quizzes and MCQ exams

  1. Assignments

For written question answers or other types of exams

  1. In the points section of the assignment edit page, click the dropdown menu and select uncategorized.
  2. Publish or Schedule for later

Steps for Total points grading

  1. Go to your class from Google Classroom
  2. Go to Classwork
  3. Click Create
  4. Click
    1. Quiz Assignment

For Quizzes and MCQ exams

  1. Assignments

For written question answers or other types of exams

  1. In the points section of the assignment edit page insert the total points you want for the assignment.

For example, you have an assignment on the topic: “The history of Native Americans”. Now you want to evaluate the assignment out of 100. Simply insert 100 in the points field.

  1. Publish or Schedule for later

Steps for grading with Rubric

  1. Go to your class from Google Classroom
  2. Go to Classwork
  3. Click Create
  4. Click Quiz Assignment

OR, For Quizzes and Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) exams

  1. Click Assignments

OR, For written question answers or other types of exams

  1. In the points section of the assignment edit page insert the total points you want for the assignment.
  2. Click the +Rubric button
    1. Create a Rubric
      1. Create a Rubric for the assignment
      2. Add criteria for evaluating the assignment. (e.g. grammar, research, etc)
      3. Assign marks for criteria
    2. Reuse Rubric

OR, If you have a previously created Rubric, you can reuse it here

  1. Import from Sheets
  2. Publish or Schedule for later

Overall Grading

By default, the overall grading of your class in Google Classroom is set to No overall grade. You have to manually assign the grading system according to your needs. You can visit the Google Classroom support page to get a complete tutorial here Set up grading – Classroom Help

Here’s a summary for a quick setup

  •  Go to your class in Google Classroom. Then go to Class Settings > Grading
  •  Click the dropdown form Overall grade calculation
  •  Choose an option from
    • No overall grade
    • Total points grading
    • Weighted by category grading
  •  Click Add grade category and add your categories
    • For Total points grading you can add categories as Essays out of 100 marks
    • For Weighted by category you have to add categories as percentages. All the categories have to add up to 100 percent.

Here’s a video tutorial to help you out

Is the Grading method compatible with your institution?

Most traditional school systems include a letter grading system. The typical grades awarded for participation in a course are (from highest to lowest) A, B, C, D and F. Variations on the traditional five-grade system allow for awarding A+, A, & A−; B+, B, & B−; C+, C, & C−; D+, D, & D−, and F (E).

In addition to this, there are also GPA assigned to these grades. This Table will match the grading system of most institutions in K-12.

Letter GradePercentageGrade Point Average (GPA) (out of 4.0)
A90%–100%4.0
B80%–89%3.0
C70%–79%2.0
D60%–69%1.0
F< 60%0.0  

The grading system used by your institution might not be the same as the one available in Google Classroom. But Google Classroom supports the very basics of assessment.

In the Grades section of your class in Google Classroom, it shows the overall grades of each student. The overall grades are calculated according to the settings you’ve assigned.

You can also get individual grades sorted by assignments. You can export the grades (both individual and overall) in a Google Sheets or a CSV file. Once done, assigning letter grades is just two clicks away.

The grading methods are editable. You can manipulate the grading system in Google Classroom according to your needs. We’ll see how to edit grades in Google Classroom so that it meets your requirements in the next section.

How to Customize Grading according to your class

The edits for adjusting Google Classroom grading to match your institution setup varies a lot. Because not all the institutions and schools use the same grading tools.

For this discussion, suppose Mr. Anderson, a teacher of Sydney University wants to use Google Classroom to conduct his History classes online. Sydney University follows this structure for grading students:

  • The course is divided into semesters
  • Each Semester has different subjects assigned
  • Each subject is graded in 2 categories
    • Class assessment – 40% of total marking

Class assessment has 4 subcategories

  • Attendance – 10%
    • Assignments- 10%
    • Quizzes – 10%
    • Class Performance – 10%
    • Semester Finals – 60% of total marking

Semester Finals have 2 parts in exam

  • Part A – 50% marks
    • Part B – 50 % marks
  •  Each Subject has a credit.
    • The credit signifies the weight of the course
  • The overall result is calculated in CGPA
    • Total marks in each subject is calculated by their weight.

Now a teacher conducts his classes and grades only his subject. Grading for each subject is under the supervision of a teacher.  Calculating the overall result of the semester is handled by the Administrative Authority.

Grading For Each Subject

Mr Anderson wants to grade his History classes online. His course plan includes

  • A total of 15 sessions during the semester.
  • Semester Final Exam
    • Part A  out of 30 marks
    • Part B out of 70 marks

Now, he can edit grades of his class on Google Classroom like this:

Setup Overall Grading

  1. Select Overall Grading as Weighted by category
  2. Add Following categories with percentages
    1. Attendance – 10%
    2. Assignments- 10%
    3. Quizzes – 10%
    4. Class Performance – 10%
    5. Final Exam Part A- 30%
    6. Final Exam Part B- 30%

Instructions for Evaluation

For Class Assessments

  1. Create an assignment with the name of Attendance Assignment.
    1. Add the assignment with the Category Attendance
    2. Add 35 in total points to represent the total number of classes in the assignment
    3. Go to Grades page
    4. Increase the mark by +1 every day when you take classes
  2. When you create an assignment, add the Assignment category

You can mark individual assignments out of 100, 50, or whatever you like. The numbers will be converted automatically

Use Rubric for better evaluation.

  1. Add the Quizzes category for taking quiz assignments
  2. Create assignments to grade class performance.
    1. Add the Class Performance category

For Semester Finals

  1. For the Part A exam, add the Final Exam Part A category.
    1. Take the part A exam as an Assignment
    2. Add a total point of 30
  2. For the Part B exam, add the Final Exam Part B category.
    1. Take the part B exam as an Assignment
    2. Add a total point of 70

Note: You can take multiple exams as Assignments for each part. The numbers will be converted to 50% automatically

Above was an example of how Mr. Anderson can set up his class to grade according to Sydney University grading standards.

Calculating the overall result

This part is managed by the administrative authority. Each semester has different courses. Each course is handled by different teachers.

Following our example of Sydney University, now let’s see how they can make the Semester Final results.

Teachers can export the Grade Sheets of their classes from Google Classroom. It can be as a Google Sheets or a CSV format.

Like most other universities, Sydney University also has a grading system. Teachers provide the Grade Sheets of their courses and the system automatically provides semester final results. All the authority needs is a subject-wise result. So, the steps are easy:

  1. Collect subject-wise Grade Sheets from teachers
  2. Feed them into the previous system and the final result is already calculated

Note: This was a simplified example of a student assessment system. The one that you are using might vary in certain aspects. However, I hope this made-up example gives you the idea of how you can customize grading for your needs.

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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