Weighting Grades in Blackboard

Blackboard has worked to improve its gradebook over time, providing new features and more advanced functionality. Although the Grade Center still doesn't the same high degree of flexibility that keeping a gradebook in Excel might have (since Excel allows you to create your own custom formulas), it does have many time-saving features. One such feature is calculating your grades for you, based on the weights you set for the various items in your Grade Center.

If you are using Blackboard as your official grade book for your course, we strongly encourage you to download a copy (instructions open in new window) of your Gradebook to Excel at regular intervals, to provide a backup copy.

If you'll want Blackboard to calculate final averages for student grades, you need to indicate to Blackboard how each item in the Grade Center should count towards the final grade; in other words, you need to weight your grades. Blackboard provides two methods of weighting grades: Weight by Item and Weight by Category. When you weight grades by item, you provide a percentage value for each item in the Grade Center, with all the weights adding up to 100%. For that method, it's best to add all items to your Grade Center in advance - see these instructions (page opens in new window) about adding new columns to your Grade Center - and then assign weights to each one. Otherwise, you'll need to redo the weighting each time you add a new item that is supposed to count towards the final grade. Weighting grades by category is a more flexible approach, since you assign a total percentage weight to all items in that category. For example, if you are assigning three essays worth 30 percent of the total grade (combined), you could assign the category of "Essay" to each of those assignments, and set the category weight to 30%. If you decided to assign a fourth essay for the course, then Blackboard would recalculate the weight of each individual essay, so that the new total would remain 30%. Blackboard actually allows you to combine these two approaches (weighting some grades by category and others by specific item) when modifying the Weighted Total column to calculate grades. Because the thinking behind each method is different, we describe the two strategies separately:

Last revised March 15, 2011 .  Please send questions or comments to itec@bucknell.edu.