How to Display Letter Grades

Before deciding to enter letter grades in your course, consider how you will evaluate final grades. If you plan to numerically calculate final grades in the Course total column, you may find it preferable to use percentages or a point system for assessments. Keep in mind that if you enter letter grades in the course gradebook, you will not be able to numerically calculate the final grade without doing some Excel magic.

If you prefer to grade using letter grades or using a scale (e.g. Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, Outstanding), it will be difficult to include these types of grades in a calculated course total. If you won't be calculating the course total, then it would be best to hide the course total to avoid confusion. Entering a letter grade instead of numerical number will cause the Course total to display inaccurate numbers. As the letter grade indicates a range of marks, it will try to convert the letter grade into a number in a non-intuitive way.  For example a B on a 9 point grading scale is 6/9. Even though the student earned a B, the grade will show up as a C+ because the system thinks the student received 66.66% (6/9).  

We recommend that you enter numerical marks in your gradebook and chose to display equivalent Letter grade, than entering Letter grade directly in your gradebook.


  • If you are planning to import letter grades, you must create the Grade item first. It is only possible to import letter grades from a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel) into an existing Letter grade column, unlike with importing numerical marks, which allows for creating a new grade item at the time of import.
  • Numerical grades will appear as letters if imported into a numeric grade item set to display letter.
  • There can be online on points to grade scheme in your course. Individual grade items cannot have different conversion schemes. Once this scheme is set, it will be used for all items set to display as letter grades.

Editing Grade Letter Boundaries

Different grading systems and grading regulations apply at York University. The regulation for the undergraduate programs may be different from the graduate programs. Even within the graduate programs, differentiation may exist in the grading scheme for the Schulich School of Business and the Graduate Program in Environmental Studies than other graduate programs. This might necessitate to customize the numeric-to-letter conversion scheme in your course, especially if you are entering numeric grades.

You can only adjust the Grade Letter Boundaries in your course gradebook, only if you have not added any Letter grades in the gradebook. Therefore, be sure to set the grading scheme before adding any Letter grades.

To adjust the Grade Letter Boundaries:

  1. Go to your course and in the left navigation select Grades. This will open the Grader report page.

  2. Select Letters in the top level navigation. The Gradebook letters page will open showing the values currently being used to convert numerical grades to letter grades.

  3. Click Edit grade letters at the top of grade letter summary to open the Edit grade letters.

  4. To edit the grade boundary values, enable the checkbox for Override site defaults. The fields for Grade letters and Letter grades will unlock and become editable.

  5. Make changes to the grade letter and/or boundaries as required. Note that the letter A or A+ and F must correspond to maximum and minimum grades respectively. Also note that any numerical values you enter will display as rounded to the second decimal place but letter grade boundaries can have up to 5 decimal places.

  6. To save your changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.

Display Letter Grades for Numerical Marks

You can enter numerical scores and allow them to display as letter grades.

  1. Go to your course and in the left navigation select Grades. This will open the Grader report page.

  2. Select Setup in the top level navigation. The Gradebook setup page will open.

  3. In the Gradebook setup page, under the Actions menu, in the row for the grade item or the category title, select Edit to display a menu. From the drop-down menu select Edit settings. The Edit settings page for this grade item will open.

  4. Depending on the item you selected, click either the Grade item or Category total to expand the section.
  5. Click on Show more... to display more options.

  6. Scroll down and find Grade display type.

  7. In the Grade display type drop-down menu, select Letter or a combination of Letter (percentage) or Letter (real). If you select Letter (real), the grade will display as A (85). If you select, Letter (percentage), the grade will display as a percentage score, for example: A (85%).

  8. To save your changes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.

In the Grader report, when editing is turned on, you can enter and see numeric grades for the assessment. When editing is turned off, you will see the letter grade (this reflects what students see).

Adding a Grade Item to Display Letter Grade

When you add a graded activity to your course such as a Journal, Assignment, Quiz etc., a corresponding column is added to the course gradebook. You can also add grade items to your gradebook for offline activities, such as for class participation, presentation etc. Once you have added a grade item, you can follow the steps in the above section to display letter grades for numerical marks.

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