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

Grading Discussions in D2L

In D2L, you can enter a numeric score and provide feedback on a student's participation in a discussion topic, and this information is only available to the student (unlike replies to posts, which can be seen by all students in the class or small group.) Scores are automatically transferred to the Grades area if you have associated the discussion topic with a grade item.

Please note that grade items can only be assigned to discussion topics, not forums, which means that you'll need to create separate grade items for each group discussion topic and restrict the grade items to their corresponding groups.

Set up a Topic for Grading

  1. Click Discussions in the course navigation bar. The Discussions List page will open.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow next to the discussion topic you want to assess, then select Edit Topic. The Edit Topic page will open with the Properties tab displayed.
  3. Click the Assessment tab at the top of the page.
  4. Select a grade item (optional):
    • If you want the topic to be linked to a grade item you have already created in the Grades area, select the item from the Grade Item dropdown list.
    • If you want to create a new grade item for the topic, click the New Grade Item link.
  5. Enter the maximum points students can earn for participation in the discussion in the Score Out Of field.
  6. Click the Save and Close button at the bottom of the page.

Assign Scores and Provide Feedback

  1. Click Discussions in the course navigation bar. The Discussions List page will open.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow next to the topic you want to grade, then select Assess Topic. The Assess Topic page will open.
  3. Click Topic Score under the name of the student whose posts you want to assess. A pop-up window will open; if you scroll to the bottom of it, you will be able to view all of the posts the student has made. If you have associated a rubric with the discussion topic, the interactive rubric will appear at the top of pop-up window.

  4. Enter the number of points you want to assign to the student’s posts in the Topic Score field.
  5. Select the Publish score on save checkbox if you want the score to transfer to the grades area right away (optional; see the note on publishing discussion grades below). This checkbox will only appear if the topic is linked to a grade item.
  6. Enter qualitative feedback on the student’s post  in the General Feedback textbox (optional). Only the student will be able to see this text.
  7. Click the Save and Close button. You will return to the Assess Topic page.
    Follow the steps 4-7
  • NOTE: Publishing discussion topic grades

    If your discussion topic is linked to a grade item, the student list on the Assess Topic page will include an additional column, (A) Publish to Grades, and the (B) Publish All Scores to Grades button will appear at the top of the page. You can click the Publish All Scores to Grades button to publish all students' scores at once. Or if you want to publish the scores of just one or a few students, select the checkboxes in this Publish to Grades column next to their names before clicking the Save button.


You can review the scores that students earned on a discussion topic in a spreadsheet format in the Grades area. Visit the Grades section to learn more.​​

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