Note: The following applies to customers with an existing LMS integration with CompTIA. If you are interested in setting this up, please contact your Sales representative, who can get you in touch with our integration team. For more info on the configuration process, see our other articles on configuring integrations.
In an LMS integration, our LTI 1.3 tools utilize LTI Advantage Services – specifically, Deep Linking and Assignment and Grade Services (AGS) – to enable grades to pass from our learning platforms back to the LMS integration within seconds of activity completion. We have several platforms that use this service, and each has slightly different functionality.
Which activities pass grades back?
Items selected from the Practice Questions, Performance-based Questions, Assessments, and Labs categories of the content selector will return grades. Notably, grades will pass back to the LMS for any items completed that session that have a corresponding, published/available activity in the LMS gradebook.
Items from any other category are not graded, and therefore do not pass anything to the LMS on completion. This includes items added from the Study Tasks category of the content selector, even if the item is of one of the types listed above. (This is a known issue and is on our roadmap to fix, but for now, do not place any items from the Study Tasks category of the selector.)
All labs pass a grade back, though older labs function slightly differently.
Current Labs – Labs from all but one of our certifications return a grade from 0 to 100 based on how users perform in the Lab. These can be identified by their title, which will begin with either ‘Assisted Lab’, ‘Applied Lab’, or ‘Virtual Workbench Lab’, and by a default point value of 100 when placed into an LMS.
Older Labs – Labs from older certifications return a grade of complete/incomplete in the form of 1 or 0. These can be identified by their title, which will not begin with either ‘Assisted Lab’, ‘Applied Lab’, or ‘Virtual Workbench Lab’. By default, these will enter the LMS with a point value of 1. At the time of writing, the only non-retired content that includes these older labs are the ITF+ (FC0-U61) and CySA+ (CS0-002) lab series. The current version of CySA+ (CS0-003) was released in early 2023, and if your institution is still using the older 002 material, we recommend you upgrade immediately.
Virtual Workbench Labs – These labs in A+ Core 1 involve manipulating hardware in a virtual environment. Users must complete the required tasks in the virtual environment in the mode listed in the instructions in order to receive full credit, in addition to answering any quiz questions in the instruction panel.
Individual modules and practice exams will return a grade as long as a student enters through a direct integration link to that module or exam. If a student enters the content through a Learner Dashboard link and completes content there, grades will not return.
Additionally, due to the nature of CertMaster Practice modules, which ask users to answer questions repeatedly until they have ‘mastered’ them, a Practice module will never return a grade lower than 100%, since in order to complete the module, they must have answered each question correctly, even if they had to be presented with that question multiple times.
CertMaster Practice ‘Practice Tests’, on the other hand, are meant to mimic the actual certification exam, and will return a grade based on performance as expected.
The learner must have a stable internet connection. If they complete an activity, but are disconnected when they do so, our system will not register the completion or know to send the grade.
The student must have entered the CompTIA learning platform through an integration link in the LMS course where the grades are expected to land. If they get there through an integration link in a different LMS course (or log in to our platform another way) the grades will not arrive properly.
There cannot be multiple LMS assignments/activities associated with the same piece of graded content in a single LMS course.
The CompTIA activity must be gradeable. See Which activities pass grades back? above.
Your LMS must support LTI 1.3 with Advantage Services – specifically Deep Linking and AGS – and the tool configuration within the LMS must have this functionality enabled. The relevant settings look slightly different in each LMS – to learn what they are for your LMS, see our LMS-specific configuration article if one exists, or ask your CompTIA LMS Integration specialist to point you in the right direction.
What LMSes support this functionality?
The list grows regularly, but LMSes with known support for AGS include Canvas, Moodle, D2L Brightspace, Blackboard Learn/Ultra, and Populi. If you’re unsure if your LMS supports LTI 1.3 with Advantage Services, you can search 1EdTech's list of LTI 1.3 Complete certified platforms.
How long after completion do grades pass back?
Grades pass to the LMS within 20 seconds of seeing the review/scoring screen of any given activity, often faster.
How much configuration is required on my end to enable AGS?
The integration tool must be configured to accept grades when it is first set up, but in most LMSes, the gradebook column is created and the connection is established immediately and automatically when the link is placed into the LMS course from the tool.
Is there an option to pass the first/highest/most recent grade?
CertMaster products pass back a grade every time a gradeable item is completed (“most recent”). TestOut/LabSim products default to sending the Highest, but can also be configured to pass Most Recent.
That’s not great for me. Is there anything else I can do?
Some LMSes support filtering or limiting the grades that are returned from their end. For example, Canvas has an ‘Allowed Attempts’ Assignment setting that will lock in the grade in its gradebook after a certain number of grades are returned to that activity. It’s important to note that even if you use features like this, it will only affect what shows in the LMS – the student can still retake the activity in our platform, and the grade stored there will reflect the latest attempt, while the grade in the LMS will show whatever it has been configured to retain.
My course is live and grades aren’t passing back to my system. Help!
We deeply encourage testing grade passback for each CompTIA learning platform before a course has gone live. As of writing, the most common reason for failure is that the items were added from the Study Tasks category of the CertMaster Learn content selector. These items, even if they are of a gradeable type, will not return grades due to a known issue under investigation. You can check if this is the case by going into the LMS Activity or Assignment settings for a CertMaster Learn Practice Question set and looking at the configured Tool URL for the item. If it ends with ‘study_task/######’, you will need to delete your graded items and re-add them from their dedicated category of the content selector in order for grades to begin passing properly. For more info or confirmation, contact your CompTIA integration specialist.
If this does not seem to be the case, review the Technical Requirements section above. Items 1 and 2 are the other most common culprits. #2 is particularly possible in CertMaster Learn integrations, where students who are enrolled in multiple integrated courses enter the platform through one course, and then change which certification they’re working on using the dropdown at the top of the Learn platform.
If my activities were misconfigured at the beginning of my live course and didn’t pass grades, do students have to redo the activities for the grades to appear in the LMS gradebook?
Unfortunately, grades for activities that were completed while an item was not correctly configured cannot be resent. The missed grades will need to be entered manually into the LMS gradebook, or the students will need to retake the activities.