Integration with LMS

Using a Spreadsheet

It is pretty easy to use a spreadsheet to maintain your SBG gradebook. One way is to create a individual shared Google sheets that can be shared separately with each student or student team. This provides students with real time feedback in terms of their standing for each objective. It also allows students to see any individual comments or notes you have for them, as shown below.

It is up to you how you want to display performance on each objectives. One option is to display a letter grade for each objective. Hidden columns can be used to translate that letter score into a numerical value. The numerical values can then be summed up according to their weighting in order to determine their current overall grade. An example of this is shown below.

Integration with Canvas

If your institution uses Canvas as a course management system, capabilities exist to use Standards Based Grading as an alternative to the traditional gradebook. Canvas organizes this approach around the “Learning Mastery Gradebook” in collaboration with “Outcomes” and “Rubrics.” The Learning Mastery Gradebook is a color-coded depiction of student mastery of specific Outcomes the instructor creates. These Outcomes are mapped to individual assignments through the creation of a Rubric that includes one or more added Outcomes.

This Canvas structure mimics SBG best practices to first create the course-level outcomes and sub-outcomes, then develop detailed rubrics for assessing those outcomes, and finally map those outcomes and rubrics to individual assignments at multiple time-points throughout the semester. (Note: Once outcomes are used to assess student work, they CANNOT be edited.)

In Canvas, you can set the number of levels of mastery of each Outcome (ie, Exceeds, Meets, Does not Meet Expectations). You can also choose how student performance is graded: entirely on the latest assignment, on the best x number of submissions, or as a decaying average where, for example, 65% of the grade is on the latest submission, with the remaining 35% on all prior submissions. These options are selected when the Outcome is created.

Some desirable features do not yet exist in Canvas. For example, you cannot currently assign a Grading Scheme to the Learning Mastery Gradebook. So you cannot automatically relate an A, A-, B+, etc to mastery of a certain number of objectives, or to a minimum level of mastery of all Outcomes. In addition, at this time you cannot weigh the Outcomes differently or nest sub-outcomes. Potential work-arounds include the use of the traditional Gradebook simultaneously beside the Learning Mastery Gradebook, with numeric manipulation of point values and assignment weights. Sub-outcomes could also be included at the Rubric level rather than the Outcome level.

One advantage to using Canvas’s Learning Mastery Gradebook is its potential for assessment. The course Outcomes can be mapped to  ABET Outcomes; summary information for the class performance as a whole is straightforward and well presented.

Integration with Blackboard

It’s quite possible to use Blackboard as a course management system that implements standards-based grading as an alternative to the traditional gradebook; however, Blackboard is not currently designed for such a grading system forcing you to utilize what is available to your advantage.


  1. Create an assignment.
  2. Add a Rubric and enable students to see the rubric.
  3. Breakdown your rubric by individual learning objective scores. Students will see a raw total. Graders can utilize the comment boxes to provide feedback.
  4. Create a series of hidden columns within the gradebook that breaks down the assignment by learning objectives. Manually type in the individual learning objective scores into these hidden columns.
  5. Create Average and Weighted calculated columns to allow for manipulation of scores within projects and across projects. These calculated columns allow you to choose multiple other columns to perform some calculations. Calculations should be done on the hidden individual learning objective columns and not the raw score columns that students see broken down by the rubric.

Calculated columns can then be used to view how well student did on a given learning objective which can be mapped to ABET Learning Outcomes.