The Overall Grade column in the Blackboard Ultra gradebook is used to combine and weight all individual graded items into a single overall score. This guides gives an overview of the settings options available for calculating and weighting overall grades, and for displaying the overall grade to students.
Creating an Overall Grade Column
There must be at least one graded item in your Blackboard course before the overall grade column can be created. This can be done either by creating an assignment or test in the course content area, or by creating a manual entry column in the Gradebook by clicking → "Add Item."
Once your course contains at least one graded item column, you will see a pop-out panel appear on the right side the next time you open your gradebook titled "Set up the overall grade!" If you dismiss this pop-up or do not see it, you can also open the gradebook settings by clicking the gear icon in the upper right, then scroll down to find a button labeled "Set up overall grade."
Once the overall grade column has been created, it will always appear at the top in list view, or on the left in grid view.
Calculating the Overall Grade
The first time you open the overall grade settings in your course, you will be asked to choose the method of calculation. The three options are Points, Weighted, or Advanced. This choice can be changed at any later time, but most courses will either use Points or Weighted.
Points will calculate an overall grade based on the combined points value of all graded items. For example, in a course with ten 10-point homework assignments and two 50-point exams, the overall grade will be calculated based on points earned out of 200 (–--/200).
Weighted will calculate an overall grade based on percentage weights assigned by grade category. For example, in a course where homework assignments are weighted 20%, lab reports are weighted 30%, and tests are weighted 50%, the grade for each category will be calculated proportionally based on total points earned, then the overall grade will be calculated according to these category percentage weights, regardless of the total points value of each category/assessment.
Advanced allows you to create a custom calculated column for the overall grade. See the Answers page on Gradebook Calculations for more information.
Individual items or categories can be disconnected from the overall grade calculation by clicking the 'cancel' iconnext to the item name - the icon will highlight purple to indicate that an item is disconnected. For example, in a course where pre-class reading quizzes are used to check comprehension but are not meant to count towards the final course grade, the Quizzes category could be disconnected from overall grade, and quiz scores will not be added/weighted into the calculation.
Individual items can be scored/weighted independently of their category by clicking the 'unlink' iconnext to the item name - the icon will highlight purple to indicate that an item is unlinked. For example, instead of having all tests weighted together proportionally at 50%, a final exam could be unlinked from the Tests category to assign an independent weight of 25%, while the other tests combined account for the remaining 25%.
Special grading rules such as dropping the lowest score(s) in a category can be applied by clicking the button labeled " Edit calculation rules" next to the category name.
Displaying the Overall Grade
To determine how students see their overall grade, find the panel titled "Overall Grade Settings" on the right side of the overall grade editing screen.
The upper checkbox, "Base calculation on points earned out of total graded points," sets the overall grade display as a running total based on the points value of only assignments that have been graded so far. Unchecking this box will change the display to an absolute total of all points, including assignments that have not been submitted/graded yet.
Displaying the overall grade as an absolute total will make students' grades during the semester appear lower than their running total. For example, in a course where all assignments total 100 points, a student at midterm who has scored 45/50 on assignments up to that point will see their grade as 45/50 with this box checked, or as 45/100 if this box is unchecked.
The dropdown menu "Select how the overall grade is displayed" allows you to choose a grading schema. The default schemas included in all Ultra courses are:
- Points - displays points earned out of total points possible, i.e. (45/50)
- Percentage - displays the percentage of points earned out of total points possible, i.e. (90%)
- SU Letter - displays a letter grade based on percentage of points earned, i.e. (A-)
- Complete/Incomplete - displays a check mark for items that have a grade, and a gray circle for items that do not have a grade (not recommended for Overall Grade display)
You can also create your own custom grading schemas under gradebook settings by clicking the gear icon in the upper right of the main gradebook screen (you will have to close the overall grade editor to do this). See the Answers page on Grade Schemas for more information.
The lower checkbox, "Show to students," controls whether the overall grade column is visible to students or not.