Each course section can be associated with one or more grading periods. Grading periods give each section a start and end-date, which allows for auto-archiving of past courses, as well as for preparation of future courses.
Courses associated with current grading periods will appear in the Courses drop-down menu. Courses associated with past grading periods will appear in the Archived area.
Grading periods may also help organize the Gradebook Settings in the course. The way in which you set up your Grading Periods should be determined by when and how frequently you need to report grades.
The Schoology Gradebook will automatically calculate an overall score for all materials in your course that combines each of the grading periods associated with your course.
That means if you teach a year-long course, you do not need to create a grading period that encompasses the whole year, like "2015-2016." Instead, create grading periods that correspond to any incremental dates when you need to report grades throughout the year. If your school or organization uses a four-quarter/two-semester calendar, you could simply create four grading periods - one for each quarter of the school year. In the screenshot above, the instructor has followed this practice, and as a result will be able to report a grading period grade for each student at the end of each quarter, as well as an overall grade that acts as a year-long grade and is a combination of the quarter grades.