Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Technology > Desire2Learn > Tools > Discussions > Grading Discussions

Grading Discussions

Numeric scores and feedback can be provided on student participation in a discussion topic.  Unlike replies to posts, these scores are only available to the individual student.  Scores can be automatically transferred to the Grades area if associated with a grade item.

Note: Grade items can only be assigned to discussion topics, not forums.

Set up a Topic for Grading

  1. Select Discussions in the course navigation bar. 
  2. The "Discussions List" page will open. Select the dropdown arrow next to the discussion topic to be assessed.
  3. Select Edit Topic. 
  4. The "Edit Topic" page will open with the "Properties" tab displayed. Select Assessment.
  5. (Optional) To have the grade display in the Grades area of the course, select a grade item:
    • To link to a grade item that has already been created in the Grades area, select the item from the Grade Item dropdown list.
    • If the grade item does not exist, create a new grade item for the topic by selecting New Grade Item.
  6. Enter the maximum points students can earn for participation in the discussion in the Score Out Of field.
  7. (Optional) Add a Rubric. See Rubrics for more information.
  8. Select  Save and Close.

Assign Scores and Provide Feedback

  1. Select Discussions in the course navigation bar. 
  2. The "Discussions List" page will open. Select the dropdown arrow next to the topic to be graded.
  3. Select Assess Topic
  4. The "Assess Topic" page will open. Select Topic Score under the name of the student to be assessed. 
  5. A new page will open to show all of the posts and responses the student has made for this discussion. If a rubric was attached to this discussion,  the interactive rubric will appear in the evaluation panel with the "Overall Grade" and "Overall Feedback" fields. 

    Note: If using a rubric the earned points will be automatically entered into the "Overall Grade" field after scoring the rubric.

  6. (Optional) Enter qualitative feedback in the "Overall Feedback" box.
  7. Select Save Draft to delay the release of the grade and feedback.
  8. Select Publish to release the grade and feedback.  


Review the scores that students earned on a discussion topic in a spreadsheet format in the Grades area. Visit Grades to learn more.