How categories and weighting affect grade calculation in points gradebooks

The way your gradebook calculates course grades depends on how you have set it up; see Using categories and weighted grades in Gradebook. The following examples illustrate how the different choices in Gradebook Setup will affect how students' course grades are calculated in a points gradebook.

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Displaying grades as points with no categories and no weighting

In this example, the instructor has set up the gradebook with no categories.

Gradebook table with points and no  categories

The course grade is calculated as follows:

TitleGrade (Points)Item value
Essay 1920
Exam 193100
Exam 275100
Final Exam165200
Homework 1910
Homework 2810
Homework 31010
Total379450

Total: 379 points

Course grade: 84.22% (379/450 * 100)

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Displaying grades as points with simple categories

In this example, the instructor has set up the gradebook with simple, unweighted categories.

Gradebook table with points and simple  categories

Notice that the percentage for each category is displayed. These percentages do not affect the grade calculation.

The course grade is calculated as follows:

CategoryTitleGrade (Points)Item value
EssaysEssay 1920
ExamsExam 193100
Exam 275100
Final Exam165200
HomeworkHomework 1910
Homework 2810
Homework 31010
Total379450

Total: 379 points

Course grade: 84.22% (379/450 * 100)

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Displaying grades as points with weighted categories

In this example, the instructor has set up the gradebook with weighted categories.

Gradebook table with points and  weighted categories

Category Essays (10% weight)

TitleGrade (Points)Item value
Essay 11920
Total1920

Total (Essays): 95% (19/20 * 100)

Category Exams (60% weight)

Note that in the Exams category, the items have different point values (proportional weighting). Items with a higher point value have a greater influence on the grade (e.g., the final exam is worth twice as much as Exam 1).

TitleGrade (Points)Item value
Exam 193100
Exam 275100
Final Exam165200
Total333400

Total (Exams): 83.25% (333/400 * 100)

Category Homework (30% weight)

Items in the Homework category all have the same point value (equal weighting) and influence the grade equally.

TitleGrade (Points)Item value
Homework 1910
Homework 2810
Homework 31010
Total2730

Total (Homework): 90% (27/30 * 100)

Category WeightContribution to grade
Essays 10 9.5% (10%*95%)
Exams 60 49.95% (60%*83.25%)
Homework 30 27% (30%*90%)
Total   86.45% (9.5%+49.95%+27%)

Course Grade: 86.45%

In the unweighted gradebook setup illustrated in the first two scenarios, the essay was worth 20 out of a total of 450 points, or about 4% of the final grade, the exams were worth 400 out of a total of 450 points, or about 89% of the final grade, and the homework was worth 30 out of 450 points, or about 7% of the final grade. However, in the scenario with weighted categories, the essay is set to 10% of the final grade, the exams to 60%, and the homework to 30%. Since this hypothetical student did better on the homework and essay than on the exams, the final grade is higher than it would be with the same scores and unweighted categories.

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