Most instructors calculate grades in one of two ways:
  • Total Points (Total Points divided by Points Possible)
  • Weighted Categories (i.e. Homework is worth 20%, Exams are worth 80%)
This guide will explain how to set Blackboard up to calculate grades using these methods.
To understand and explain the math behind what Blackboard is doing, a sample student gradebook has been set up below.

Points Possible 20 15 10 50 30 25 30 100 100 100 200
    HW1 HW2 HW3 HW4 HW5 HW6 HW7 Exam1 Exam2 Exam3 Final Exam
Exam Student 10 10 5 35 23 15 15 90 90 95 180

Total Point Method

First, let’s understand the math behind what we want to happen. A simple division formula (568/680) yields a final grade of 83.53% for the student. Unfortunately, Blackboard does not calculate this way by default, so you have to set your gradebook up to do this.

568 Student's Total Points
680 Total Points Possible
83.53% Final Grade

You should already have a column in your gradebook called “Total” that adds up all of the student’s points. We will make use of that in our formula. You should also have a column called “Weighted Total” that may or may not have a value in it. We will convert this column into the student’s grade for the course.

In your gradebook, right click on the Weighted Total column and choose Edit Column Information.


Change the column name to Current Grade because once your formula is set correctly, the student’s current grade should always appear in this column in the gradebook. This way the student will always know where they stand in your class.


Scroll down to the “Select Columns” section. Under “Columns to Select” choose Total and click the arrow to move it over to the “Selected Columns” area to the right. Then, enter 100 in the “% Column: Total” box as shown below.


Directly below this area, choose Yes to calculate as a running total. (This is necessary for the student’s current grade to always show.)