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. By default, the "Grade out of" field is ungraded. To change this, select Ungraded [A].
    screenshot of the discussion creation interface
  5. Enter in a point value.

    Note: Entering a point value will change the Submission folder from "Ungraded" to "In Grade Book." This will automatically create a new grade item in the grade book, and users will need to manually select a different option in step 9 if a grade item should not be created.

  6. Select In Grade Book and choose from the following options using the dropdown menu that opens:
    • Edit or Link to Existing: Link the discussion to an existing or new item in Grades.
      • If the grade item was not created, select the option Create and link to a new grade item. Choose the type of grade item to create and the grade scheme to use. If using categories, select a category. When finished select OK.
      • If the grade item was already created, select the option to Link to an existing grade item. Choose the item from the dropdown list and select OK.
    • Not in Grade Book: Attach a score to the discussion that will not be included in Grades.
    • Reset to Ungraded: Resets the score to the default setting of "Ungraded."
  7. (Optional) To add a rubric, select the Evaluation & Feedback tab. Then, select Add 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.