Blackboard 9 - Weighted Grades

This document describes how instructors and teaching assistants can use Blackboard's Grade Center to weight grades according to category to calculate semester grades. Here are the basic steps:

  • Create your grade Categories
  • Create grade columns
  • Edit the Weighted Total column to enter your weights

For this page, we will us a sample syllabus which uses the following weights:

  • 35% for four Readings
  • 15% for five Quizzes, drop the lowest 2
  • 20% for Midterm
  • 30% for Final Exam

Create Categories

The first step is to create a category for anything that has multiple grades. In our example, since there are four Readings and five Quizzes, we will create a "Readings" category and a "Quiz" category. Go to Control Panel / Evaluation / Grade Center.

Categories

Under the Manage menu, choose Categories, then click Create Category. Type a name, then click Submit. Repeat the process for as many categories as you need. Use whatever names will be useful to you. Students will not see these names.

Create Columns

Next, create a column for each assignment or grade in the course. Use the blue Create Column button. See Creating Columns for more detailed instructions. You will notice that the categories you created are now available as choices in the Category option.

Weight Grades

The Grade Center has a special column called Weighted Total. To weight your grades, edit that column by pulling down the menu next to the name and choosing Edit Column Information.

Edit Column Information

Scroll down to Section 3, the Select Columns section. Click on the individual grade items or categories that will make up your total grade. Move them from the left to the right by first selecting them then clicking on the little arrow icon. Then type in percentages for each item. The total should be 100%

Weighted Percents

For individual items, you just need a percentage. For Categories, you have several options about how to combine multiple scores into the single category. For example, in the Quiz category shown above, if you chose to weight the columns within a category "Equally," then each Quiz will be worth the same amount. If you choose "Proportionally," then a Quiz worth 20 points will count twice as much as a Quiz worth 10 points. If all of your Quiz columns are worth the same points, it makes no difference which you chose. You can also drop scores or use only the highest or lowest scores.

The Calculate as Running Total option determines what to do with blank scores.

Calculate Running

Near the beginning of the term, you may want to choose Yes, so students don't have artificially low scores just because they haven't turned in work for the whole semester. However, by the end of the semester, you will need to change this to No in order to accurately count missing blank grades as zero.

In order to avoid any confusion, we recommend not leaving any grade blank after it's due. Enter a zero for a missing assignment.

Copying Letter Grades

At the end of the semester, you may want Blackboard to calculate letter grades. To do this, edit the Weighted Total column and choose the Primary Display to be Letter, and leave the Secondary Display as None.

Primary Display

Then the Weighted Total column will appear as a letter grade. You can then use the Work Offline button to dowload grades to Excel:

Download Grades

Choose Full Grade Center, then click Submit, and on the next screen click the Download button. This will save a file on your computer in a tab separated format which most spreadsheet programs (like Microsoft Excel) can open.

If you are copying grades to Biola's E-Grading system, open this file in Excel, delete all the columns except the Biola student ID and the letter grade. Make it so that the ID number and letter grade are adjacent (you can also do this by copying these two columns to a new spreadsheet. Then copy and paste those two columns directly into the E-Grading system on Portal.

Copy Portal

EGrading works through Summer 2010, Session 2. Staring Fall 2010, there will be a new way to enter grades through my.Biola.