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A closer look at Gradesplus

30 March 2016 Posted in: Articles Tagged: , , By: Gill Ritchie

On March 22nd we released the first version of Gradesplus in two Schools, the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and the School of Mathematical Sciences. Students in these two Schools, or who are taking modules in these two schools, will now have access to grades and feedback in Gradesplus.

In this first release, we have focussed on the student view of grades and feedback, providing a single place for students to access grades and feedback across their modules on QMplus. This article outlines the features provided by this first release of Gradesplus:

Accessing Gradesplus

Gradesplus menuGradesplus is accessible through the My Dashboard menu in QMplus. The intention is that Gradeplus will eventually replace the “My Grades” item which currently only shows students their overall grade for each module.

Module listing

If a student is taking a module in one of the Schools piloting Gradesplus, they will see a listing of these modules on their Gradesplus page. Other students will not see any modules listed.

Clicking on a module will open the Gradesplus display for that module.

The structure of the Gradesplus display


The Gradeplus display for the module will list all of the graded items in the module. If an activity has not yet been graded or if the grade has been hidden from the student via the gradebook, the activity will not appear in Gradesplus.

The major components of the Gradesplus student view are:

  1. Activity – Each graded item in the associated QMplus module will have an entry in Gradesplus. If the activity has not yet been graded, or if the grade has been hidden from the student then the activity will not appear in Gradesplus.
  2. Grade – the grade assigned for the item will be displayed in the grade column. For Turnitin assignments, if the Turnitin similarity report has been made visible to the student they will be able to see their similarity score in this column too. Clicking on the link will take them directly to their similarity report in Turnitin.
  3. Feedback – any feedback on the activity is accessible through a button in the feedback column. What that feedback looks like depends on the type of activity and the method by which feedback has been provided. If no feedback has been provided online, no button will appear in this column.
  4. Grades histogram – the button in this column allows the student to see a graphical representation of their performance for this item compared with their peers.
  5. Gradebook structure – if the grades for the module have been organised into categories, this structure is honoured by Gradesplus. In this example grades have been organised into “Essays” and “Quizzes”.


Gradesplus provides a quick way for students to access any feedback that has been provided to them online without them having to click in and out of individual module areas to find the different activities. They can simply go to their Gradeplus page and click on the “View Feedback” button for the appropriate activity.

What the feedback looks like depends on the type of activity and how the feedback has been provided.


Clicking on the “View Feedback” button for a standard (non-Turnitin) assignment will pop up a window showing any feedback that has been provided online.

assignment feedback

In this case the feedback displayed is anything that has been entered into the assignment feedback comments field and any feedback files which have been attached to the assignment by the marker.

There are other ways in which feedback can be provided on assignments:

  • Rubrics and grading forms
  • Annotated PDFs

These types of feedback are currently not available through Gradeplus. We would like to incorporate them in future versions as only having access to a sub-set of feedback though Gradesplus is likely to be confusing.

Turnitin assignments

Turnitin provides a rich set of tools for online marking and feedback called Grademark. These tools allow markers to drag and drop comments on to student work, mark using rubrics and grading forms and to record audio feedback. If Grademark has been used to mark the student’s work, clicking on the “Turnitin Feedback” button will open the work in Grademark allowing the student instant access to the marked work.


Quizzes provide a slight challenge for Gradeplus where feedback is concerned. Every question in a quiz can potentially have feedback associated with it however Gradesplus does not display all of this feedback currently. At the moment, the only feedback that is displayed for a quiz is anything provided as “Overall feedback” for the quiz.

quiz overall feedback

To view feedback for each individual quiz question, the student must view the quiz itself.

Custom gradebook items

Some staff make use of the gradebook in their module areas to provide grades and feedback for items that have no related activity in QMplus. A good example is the “attendance” item shown in the Gradeplus view above. In this case, the grade and feedback are entered directly through the gradebook in the module area.

custom item feedback

These items are also displayed in Gradesplus.

Grades histogram

Clicking on the “View Histogram” button for any activity will provide the student with a graphical view of their performance for that activity with respect to their peers.


In this example, from the graph on the left, the student can see that they have performed slightly better than average. The graph on the right shows that 30% of those taking the module scored within the same range as them, 70-79.

There are other ways in which we might present performance information to students. We’d like feedback on what we have at the moment and whether there are other views that might be useful.

Further information on the project

For up to date information on the Gradesplus project, including details of how you can get involved in determining future developments, please go to the Gradesplus project page.

Image credit: Editing a Paper by Nic McPhee on Flickr

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