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.) Very Important: You MUST type a zero in if a student did not earn points for an assignment! Otherwise, their Current Grade will NOT be correct. Blackboard will treat assignments with a dash as exempt and their grade will appear higher than it actually is.

With the settings chosen above, our sample gradebook displays the correct results. Weighted Category Method

This method is much more involved than the previous method. Again, let’s understand the math behind what we want to happen. For our sample gradebook, we will assume that Homework is worth 20% and Exams are worth 80% of the student’s final grade. When using this method, it is helpful for both the student and the instructor to know the category averages, so we will include those when we set up our gradebook. (For example, it is evident that the student below doesn’t do very well on homework but performs well on the exams.)

Some tips when putting your grades in the gradebook:
• You should have at least one graded assignment in each of the categories in order for the grade to calculate correctly.
• As you are putting in a new gradebook column for each graded assignment, make sure to assign it the appropriate category (in this case, we would categorize as either “Assignment” or “Exam”).
• It is VERY IMPORTANT that you type a zero in if a student did not earn points for an assignment! Otherwise, their Current Grade will NOT be correct. Blackboard will treat assignments with a dash as exempt and the student’s grade will appear higher than it actually is.
• For some types of assignments, such as a TurnItIn assignment or a graded discussion board, you may have to edit the assignment type. This can be done in the “Column Organization” area of Blackboard. Once in there, select the assignment and choose Change Category to … to choose the desired category. (See screenshots below.)
• It is also a good idea to keep all assignments of the same type together and in the order they were assigned. This makes more sense to the student as they are looking at their grades, rather than having randomly placed columns. You can use the “Column Organization” area to move your columns around. Let’s get started on our formulas. First, create a “Total Column” to calculate the Total Homework Points. Under “Create Calculated Column” choose Total Column. Then assign a descriptive column name, such as Total HW Points. Under the “Select Columns” section, choose Selected Columns and Categories. Then under “Categories to Select” choose Assignment. (Again, every assignment that you want to count as an “assignment” must be labeled as such in your gradebook.) Next, create a “Weighted Column” to calculate the Homework Average. Under “Create Calculated Column” choose Weighted Column. Then assign a descriptive column name, such as Homework Average. Scroll down to the “Select Columns” section. Under “Columns to Select” choose Total HW Points and click the arrow to move it over to the “Selected Columns” area to the right. Then, enter 100 in the “% Column: Total HW Points” box as shown below. With the settings chosen above, our sample gradebook displays the correct results: Repeat the above procedure to create “Total Exam Points” and “Exam Average” columns. The sample gradebook should display the correct results: Now you are ready to calculate the actual grade in the course using weighted categories. 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. (Note: You MUST have at least one grade in each category in order for this formula to work correctly.) Scroll down to the “Select Columns” section. Under “Columns to Select” choose Exam Average and Homework Average. Click the arrow to move them over to the “Selected Columns” area to the right. Then, enter their category weights in the “% Column: ” boxes as shown below. With the settings chosen above, our sample gradebook displays the correct results: Note: The “Total” column shows by default but shows students the total points they have earned for the course. If you are using category weights, this total is confusing for the students. There is no way to delete this column, but you can hide it from students so they don’t see it.

Go to Edit Column Information and select No to “Show this Column to Students”. 