Course Setup
  • 11 Oct 2023
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Course Setup

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Article Summary

Course Setup Overview

The Courses form can be launched from the toolbar by selecting Courses. 

Note: SchoolWise comes pre loaded with default courses that should relate to your school type, these are a good start but you may need to edit or add courses, and you will need to set up the sections within each course.

Course – as course is defined as any Grade Level, Academic Class, Activity or List that a student can be enrolled into. To create a new Course – first select what type from the pull down menu - Launch the courses form, click the new icon (or right click the course list now J), enter the local id (Should be unique), long & short name of the course, set the required fields then click the Save icon. You can set the other fields as needed.

Grade Level (ADA) – grade levels are used for ADA calculation and every student must first be enrolled into a grade level before being enrolled into any classes or programs. SchoolWise often refers to the Grade Level class as the 0H class.

Academic Class - Classes such as Math, English, Science, History, and Social Studies etc. that you would normally associate with a class. Classes do require a CBEDS code & can be setup with their own marking system and attendance requirements.  Make sure to set Grad Requirements for Academic classes if you are planning to do Student Transcripts.

Activities and Lists – Activities and Lists are used for any other purpose where enrollment rosters are required.  Ie. Field trips, bus roster etc.

Section – Before any student can be enrolled into a course of any kind a section has to be created for that course. Click on the course that you wish to create a section for – from the list on the left.  Then click the Sections tab. To the bottom right of the form you will see the Section area. This is where you create the Section for the year.  

Setting Up Academic Courses and Sections

Grades should not be maintained in grade level ADA course sections – only in Academic classes.  ADA course sections are for maintaining all-day attendance and enrollment records and are not tied to specific academic subjects and should not be used for grades.

Click on the Courses button on the left side of the screen.  The courses form opens to the grade level ADA courses.








From the pull-down menu at top level choose Academic Classes.




A gradebook will be created for every academic course with a corresponding section. Even though elementary school students may stay in the same room all day with the same teacher, courses need to be established so that the teachers will have one gradebook for every subject. The basis for determining how many courses to establish is the number of gradebooks that teachers want to have. 

Default Course Names

All courses should have a unique local ID. Enter the Local ID and Course Name. The optional Course Short Name is used in a lot of UI displays and reports where space is limited.

For elementary and middle schools wanting to use A – F gradebooks and report cards, the example below is a good one to follow.  The subjects generally taught are Math, Science, English or Language Arts, History or Social Studies, PE, and maybe an elective.  All of the grade level courses will sort together if you preface the courses with a grade number as shown below.



























Credits and Course length fields

Credits, while not required for elementary and middle schools, are still used to calculate GPAs by weighted average.  For example, if you want the academic classes to weigh more than PE in the GPA, you would give them more credit. Make the credits a multiple of the type of marking period. Trimester credits should be a multiple of 3, and quarters a multiple of 4.  The reason for this is that each trimester divides the total credits by 3 (and quarters by 4) so each trimester or quarter receives one-third or one-fourth the total credits for the year.  If, for example, you want the academic classes to weigh twice as much as PE in the GPA, under a trimester system you would make the academic classes worth 6 credits and the PE classes 3 credits, or in a quarter system you might use 8 credits for academic and 4 credits for PE.  This becomes very important because parents and students often divide reported GPAs by the number of classes without understanding the underlying weighted calculations and then insist that the calculations are wrong.  They’re not. 

If you use some trimester- or quarter-length classes (as opposed to yearlong classes) such as electives, then those courses should only receive 1 credit since they only exist for one marking period.

In summary, yearlong classes should receive the total credits to be divided by the number of marking periods, and quarter or trimester classes should receive one-third or one-fourth the yearlong credits.  High schools generally have 10 credits per full year course and 5 per semester as specified by Ed Code and college entrance requirements.

Marking System

 Very Important: Marking System must be set to Letter to support letter-grade gradebooks, Skills for standards-based gradebooks, and NONE for ADA classes. If both letter-grade and standards-based gradebooks are being used, the Marking System should be set to Letter. 


Note: Grades should not be maintained in grade level ADA course sections - only in Academic classes. ADA course sections (Period 0 / Homeroom) are for maintaining all-day attendance and enrollment records and are not tied to specific academic subjects (there are some exceptions where schools link SBGB skills to ADA courses).

Department field

This field is mostly used for ADA calculations and can be ignored in most academic classes (except for IS courses). The department code can be used for report card academic course sorting purposes.

Report Card Sorting Tips

Courses are normally sorted based on the alphanumeric course name. If an alternate course sort order is desired, the course department code can be used for academic courses. This course sorting trick can’t be used with ADA day classes (the ADA department should always be used, otherwise it will mess up grouping on the ADA reports). 

To establish an alternate academic course sort order:

  • An alphanumeric department code pick list is required. The pick list can be created/edited in the desktop SIS (District Setup Pick-List Items Setup). Only the Main Text field is used for report card course sorting. 
  • Once the pick list has been established, the alphanumeric department code (01, 02, 03, etc.) needs to be assigned in the desktop SIS for every active course. Ex. Use 01 for ELA, 02 for Math, 03 for Other, etc.

SBGB Skill Sorting Tip: Skills linked to a course in a standards-based report card can be sorted using the Skill Group Code and Skill Code in the skill set. These codes can be left blank or you can use a Common Core code or just a number. If left blank, the sorting order is alphanumeric based on the skill text. However if there are skill codes, they control the sorting order, meaning that you can use these codes to set the sorting order of the skill group and the skills within their group. Click here for more information.

The Course State Code (CBEDS Code)

All K-6 ADA courses should be set to 1000. CALPADS expects only one class for grades K through 6, and that is the ADA self-contained class. 

All K-6 academic courses should be  set to 6012. Classes with a 6012 CBEDS Code are excluded by SchoolWise from CALPADS extracts because CALPADS does not require grades in K-6. This is very important and prevents needless CALPADS errors!

Normally, ADA 7 and ADA 8 would be set to 6012 and then applicable codes entered for grades 7 & 8 academic courses. If CBEDS codes are assigned to the 7 & 8 academic courses, you can use this basic list as a guide: 

  • 9100    English (Departmentalized K-8)
  • 9170    History-Social Science (Departmentalized K-6)
  • 9240    Math (Departmentalized K-8)
  • 9290    Music General/Classroom/Exploratory (Departmentalized K-8)
  • 9311    Physical Education (Departmentalized 6-8)
  • 9320    Science (Departmentalized K-6)
  • 9380    Media Arts (Departmentalized K-8)

CRS - Content Standards Alignment Code

This code defines the currency of the standards that were used to develop the content of a course. It's required for CALPADS CRSE export. 

  • If the Grade Range is set to 'Not Applicable', then the Content Standards Alignment Code must be set to '3 - Not Content Standards-Aligned or Not Applicable'.
  • If the Grade Range is not 'Not Applicable', then the Content Standards Alignment Code cannot be set to '3 - Not Content Standards-Aligned or Not Applicable'. Select 1 or 2 as appropriate.

NCLB Core Code

This code is no longer used as CALPADS dropped it from their file spec.

Creating Academic Course - Example


Right click on the list of courses and select Add New Course.

  At the top of the page type in the following (assuming this is a grade 6 math course):


 Local Id: 6Math

Short Name: Math 6

Long Name: Math 6


Credits: 3 for a trimester, 4 for a quarter, or 10 for a high school

Course Length:  Full Year

Marking System:   Letter

CBEDS Code:  The easiest way to set the CBEDS Code is to open the code list by selecting any code, 1000 being the first option for example, and then typing quickly 6012.   Scrolling down to find 6012 out of hundreds of codes is very time-consuming.  Simply highlight any code and then type 6012.

Creating Sections of Courses

Students are enrolled in sections of courses.  The difference is that a course like Math 6 will be taught year after year.  A section of Math 6 exists for only one year, taught in one particular room by a particular teacher to a particular set of students.   


Select a course for which you want to create section.  In the lower right-hand corner of the course form, click on the New button.

The section form opens.

Choose the teacher from the dropdown menu, set the period if desired, and then click OK.







Click here for Instructions to add or remove an additional teacher. 

Note: A course section co-teacher with 0% time also gets read-only access to that individual class section gradebook. 

Using a Split Term for a Section

If more than one teacher was the teacher of record during specific times throughout the year, you need to use the Split Term feature. You would click on the Split Term button and set the date that the new teacher is taking over as the teacher of record. You would then change the name to the new teacher and you are good to go.  This is important to accurately reflect who was the teacher of record and when for CALPADS.