When a member of staff suspects academic misconduct the University policy is that the student’s grade is exempted (or suspended) pending the outcome of the investigation. During this time the student should not be able to access their provisional grade. Prior to Submitting and Grading Electronically (SaGE) students whose grades were suspended due to suspected misconduct were allocated a ZZ Grade.






The Exempt Grade tool in NILE is the electronic equivalent of the ZZ Grade, and if you are considering using it for the first time we have already produced a useful guide, accessible via the NILE Help tab.

However, since writing the original guidance, a member of the teaching staff has helped identify a bug which is not detailed in the guide, but this bug is significant only if staff use the Exempt Grade tool where a rubric has been used to grade a student paper.

If the Exempt Grade feature has been applied to a paper marked with a rubric then once the Post Date passes, although the grade appears to be hidden from the student, they can still access the associated rubric via the Feedback and Grades link in their NILE module. This means a student can potentially access their provisional numeric grade from the rubric, and convert the numeric to a letter grade.

This bug has been reported to Blackboard, but it won’t be fixed for the 14-15 academic year so we have developed a technical workaround we can offer staff who need to exempt a student’s grade which has been marked using a rubric.

If you would like help relating to the Exempt Grade tool, or any other part of the Grade Centre, then please get in touch with learntech@northampton.ac.uk and we will be happy to offer support and training.

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