Grades: Exempt Grades

Instructors can now use an exemption as a reason why a student has not completed a grade item. Previously, a blank grade could mean the student hasn’t submitted the item, and a zero (0) could mean either exempt, ungraded (when Grades settings are selected to treat ungraded items as 0), or failure. Having a specific exemption setting supports the differentiation for students. Instructors can now exempt numeric, selectbox, pass/fail, calculated, formula, and text item types; however, instructors cannot exempt a student from a final calculated grade or a final adjusted grade.

When an instructor exempts a grade item for a student, the following pages are affected:

  • Instructor pages: Enter Grades, Grade User, Grade Category, Grade Item, Import Preview.
  • Student pages: My Grades.
  • User Progress: Summary and Grades tabs.

How Exempt Status Works

The exempt grade tool allows faculty members to exempt grades for students in accordance with their policies. Depending on the grade book set up using the exempt feature will have different outcomes.


In the points set-up using the exempt feature will change the total points a student can earn, and calculate their final grade based upon the new total.


Before Exemption: Total 100 points
Points Before Exemption

After Exemption: Total 75 points
Points After Exemption


In the weighted set-up the exempt feature will redistribute the exempted weight for the final grade calculation or within a grade category (depending on set-up an item/category exempted). The redistribution will be proportional to the remaining items/categories weight.

We are providing an example of what is happening, however you will not see this visually in your gradebook unless you have only one student enrolled. 

Example: Gradebook set-up: Exam 01: 25%, Exam 02: 25%, Final Exam: 50%Weighted Gradebook Setup

Before Exemption: Exams 01 and Exams 02 are worth 25 percentage points each and the Final is worth the remaining 50 percentage points.
Weighted Before Exemption

After Exemption: The 25 percentage points of Exam 02 is distributed proportionally amongst Exam 01 and the Final Exam. The weight changed on Exam 01 from 25 to 33.33 (8.33 point change) and changed on the Final Exam from 50 to 66.67 (16.67 point change).
Weighted After Exemption

Again, you will only see the redistribution of the weighting when a grade is set as Exempt only at the Final Calculated Grade and the Category Subtotal.

Set a Grade Item as Exempt for a student

  1. Go to your course and select Grades, then Enter Grades.
  2. Select the context menu next to the assignment you want to grade, then select Grade All.
    Exempt Grade All
  3. Select the checkbox next to the student name you need to set as Exempt, then click the Exempt link.
    Set as Exempt - Select Student
  4. From the Grade All page:  Any students you have set as Exempt will have the word Exempt appear in the Scheme column and the grade field will not be editable.
    Grade All Exempt Status

Exempt a student from multiple grade items

The grade exemption workflow in Grades has been updated to allow instructors to exempt learners from multiple grade items at one time, through the use of multi-select check boxes.

  1. Once inside your course in TCU Online, click on Grades and navigate to the Enter Grades area.
  2. Click on the student name you wish to preview.
  3. Click on the context menu next to the students name and select Bulk Edit Exemptions.
    Bulk Edit Exemption Menu
  4. Check the boxes in the Exempt column for each Grade Item or click Select All for each grade category.
    Select Bulk Exempt
  5. Click Save and Close.

TCU-specific Documentation Tags

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