Best practices for using Grade book Mastery View

How do I know if I've configured everything required to use Mastery View?

When you are first aligning outcomes to assessment activities and enrolling learners into the course, it may take up to 5 minutes for the initial Mastery View to be prepared. There may also be a delay when you make other changes, such as adding new learners, adding a new assessment activity, or aligning a rubric to an outcome.

If you have waited a reasonable amount of time, and the Mastery View still does not appear as expected, here are some best practices for determining what information is missing:

  • If you have an existing course with learners already enrolled, nothing displays in the mastery view until at least one outcome has been aligned to an assessment activity (either directly or indirectly via a rubric).
  • If learning outcomes have been added to the course intent list but have not yet been aligned to any assessment activities, an image and message displays indicating that outcomes need to be aligned in the course to use this view. A prompt message to identify that a prerequisite step is not complete.
    Figure: A prompt message to identify that a prerequisite step is not complete.


  • If there are aligned outcomes, but no learners have been enrolled into the course as yet, the column titles of the aligned outcomes display with a message that there are no learners enrolled in the course.Message indicating that no learners are enrolled in a course
    Figure: Message indicating that no learners are enrolled in a course.

What is the benefit of using both Outcomes and Grades?

The Grades View and Mastery View are intended to provide different, complementary information about learner assessment:

  • The Grade View provides one valuable measure of learner achievement, but it is one holistic evaluation for the overall assessment activity.
  • The Mastery View provides visibility into additional details of learner performance beyond what is available through the traditional grade associated with an activity.

By using outcomes associated with various elements of the assessment, such as quiz questions or rubric criterion rows, it is possible to investigate additional dimensions of performance. A learner might have an overall acceptable score on an assessment activity; however, when looking at the level of achievement for associated learning outcomes, you may discover that there might be an area of deficit in the learner’s knowledge and comprehension of the subject matter being evaluated. Any deficits are more readily identified when the instructor reviews the evaluations of assessments related to each individual outcome in the course.

How can I effectively use both a grade scheme and achievement scale?

While these two measures might appear to be similar, there are some substantial differences when comparing them.
The grade measure is a holistic evaluation of the entirety of the assessment activity, whereas learning outcome evaluations are more granular measures of knowledge, comprehension, and ability. Therefore, the associated scale measure for grades (the grade scheme) is also going to be a more holistic evaluation of course performance. The achievement scale, by comparison, can provide a more granular representation as it is reflective of individual elements of learning.

Understanding the difference between scheme color and achievement scale color

For instructor convenience, it is possible to align the colors between the grade scheme and the achievement scale, but it is not required. In similar displays, the traditional Grades View and the Mastery View are (or can be) both colorized displays based upon the associated scheme or scale.

Note: If you intend to select colors for achievement scales to match the grade scheme, use a dark version of each color. The achievement scale colors set at 10% opacity as a background color in the Mastery View. The data collected for both displays is gathered from the same workflow and generally track together if suggested levels of achievement are being calculated based upon the rubric or quiz score; however, the two measurements are separate.

Should I be using directly or indirectly aligned Outcomes?

In Rubrics, you can align outcomes to the rubric criterion rows. For any assignment or discussion where that rubric is used for evaluation, those associated outcomes are automatically evaluated. These are indirectly aligned outcomes. They are implied to the assignment or to the discussion because they came with the use of the rubric.

It is also possible to add learning outcomes directly to an assignment, discussion or portfolio artifact for evaluation. These are directly aligned outcomes because they are explicitly aligned to this individual activity and not carried forward automatically to any other activity automatically.

When you have enabled the d2l.Tools.LearningOutcomes.LoaSuggestions configuration variable, outcomes aligned to rubric criterion rows (indirectly aligned to the assessment activity) are automatically calculated for the suggested level of achievement according to the default achievement scale. Automatic suggestions for the outcomes that are explicitly aligned (directly aligned to the assessment activities or Brightspace Portfolio artifacts) are not currently generated and must be manually selected by the evaluator.

How to determine if you need to use a Percentage or a Non-Percentage-based achievement scale

When you are creating an achievement scale, you have the option to define percentage threshold levels between the levels of your achievement scale. This decision has impacts in two areas: Rubrics and Quizzes.

Using Rubrics with a Non-Percentage-based achievement scale

When you use a non-percentage-based achievement scale, achievement scale markers appear automatically on every rubric that you create with outcomes aligned to rubric criterion. You are then required to confirm or manually set the markers. The achievement scale markers determine how rubric evaluation levels are mapped to the achievement scale levels.

Note: The mapping between the rubric and the achievement scale happens automatically for points-based rubrics and percentage-based achievement scales.

Using Quizzes with a Non-Percentage based achievement scale

When you use a non-percentage-based achievement scale, the level of achievement for every outcome aligned to a quiz must be manually determined by an evaluator. If you define the achievement scale with percentages for the levels of the scale, then the level of achievement can be suggested based upon the point score of the correct questions related to the outcome alignment on the quiz.

When should I override activity level Achievement Suggestions?

You can perform manual overrides for achievement level suggestions in any assessment activity which is aligned to a learning outcome. In an assignment, discussion, quiz submission, or Brightspace Portfolio artifact, anyone with permission to evaluate the activity and evaluate outcomes can manually override the level of achievement for the aligned outcomes.