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Weighted Columns

The weighted column is a type of calculated column that generates a grade based on the result of selected columns and categories, and their respective percentages. When creating a weighted column, you can include other calculated columns or other weighted columns.

A default weighted total column appears in new courses. You can rename it, change the settings, change which columns and categories are included, or delete this default column. The default weighted total column displays no results until you select the columns and categories to include in the calculation. This column is included in the Final Grade View smart view.

Weighted totals are calculated based on percentages. They are not based on grading schemas/letter grades. Columns included in the Weighted Total are not displayed using the same grading schema as the input grade values. Grading schemas simply map a range of percentages to a particular label for display purposes. They do not have an impact on the weighted total's underlying calculations, which are based on percentages or points/points possible.

Weighted Columns in Action

Example: Weighted Quarter Final Grade

You can create a weighted column that calculates a grade for one quarter of the year in which the Test category, the Assignment category, and the participation grade column are each given a certain percentage of the quarter's final grade for your course.

(Tests = 40%) + (Assignments = 40%) + (Participation = 20%) = (Quarter Final Grade)

Example: Weighted Final Grade for the Year

You can create any number of weighted columns, including weighted columns that include other weighted columns. You can create a weighted column that uses the quarters’ weighted columns and the final test grade columns to calculate the final grade for your course.

(Quarter 1 = 15%) + (Quarter 2 = 20%) + (Quarter 3 = 15%) + (Quarter 4 = 20%) + (2 Semester Tests = 30%) = (Year Final Grade*)

Columns with text as the grade display are not included in a weighted column’s calculation. For example, if you set a column to display text, such as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, you cannot use it in grade calculations.

*In a new course, the default total column is the default external grade column, but you can set any column as the external grade. The external grade is the grade reported to your institution. To learn more, see External Grade Column.

Weighted Column Combinations

When you create a weighted column, you can include the following items:

  • All grade columns: Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
  • Selected columns and categories: Include specific grade columns and categories (and the associated columns).
  • Selected columns from a grading period: If grading periods exist and you have chosen a category, include only the grade columns that have been associated with a specific grading period.

Example: Simple Weighted Column for First Quarter

You create a weighted column based on the following two columns and two categories:

  • Assignments Category = 25%
  • Chapter Quizzes Category = 25%
  • Midterm Test = 20%
  • Final Test = 30%

How to Create Weighted Columns

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Create Calculated Column on the action bar and click Weighted Column.
  2. On the Create Weighted Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages. If this name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, you can type a short, descriptive name in the Grade Center Name box.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. Point to the column heading to view its full name on the Grade Information Bar.

  3. Optionally, type a Description.
  4. Make a selection in the Primary Display drop-down list. To learn more, see the steps in How to Create Grade Columns.
  5. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list.
  6. If grading periods exist, you can associate the weighted column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  7. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the weighted column's calculation and assign percentages for each column or category.
    • Select the columns in the Columns to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a column, you can view information about the column in the Column Information area below the Columns to Select box.

      A column that is set to No for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations does not appear in the selection list.

      For Windows, to select multiple items in a list, press the Shift key and click the first and last items. To select items out of sequence, press the Ctrl key and click each item needed. For Macs, press the Command key instead of the Ctrl key.

    • Select the categories in the Categories to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a category, you can view which columns are included in the category in the Category Information area below the Categories to Select box. The following table lists the options that appear after you move a category to the Selected Columns box.
      Category Options
      Option Description
      Grading Period drop-down list If you selected a category for the calculation, you can limit the columns used by selecting a particular grading period.
      Weight Columns Select how to weigh columns within the category.
      • Click Equally to apply equal value to all columns within a category.
      • Click Proportionally to apply the appropriate value to a column based on its points compared to other columns in the category.
      Drop Grades Removes a number of either the highest or lowest grades for each category from the calculation. If you do not type numbers in the boxes, no grades are dropped.
      Use only the Lowest -OR- Highest Value to Calculate Removes all grades from the calculation except for the best or worst score.

      To delete a selection in the Selected Columns box, click the red X.

  8. Type a percentage for each selection. The percentages of all columns added together must equal 100 percent. After assigning the last percentage, click anywhere in the box to update the percentage below the Selected Columns box in the Total Weight field.

    Image illustrating associated text

  9. Calculate as Running Total: Click Yes to calculate as a running total. Running totals exempt cells that do not contain data. Click No to include all selected columns in the calculation, using a value of 0 if no grade exists. This can make grades appear artificially low.
  10. Select the Options:
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Click Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Click Yes to display the column to students on their My Grades pages.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Click Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.
  11. Click Submit.


The new weighted column appears in the Grade Center grid.

You can change the column's settings at any time and change which columns are included. Be sure the percentages total 100%. Once edited, the calculation updates automatically.

You are not allowed to type directly in a weighted column's cell to edit the calculated grade. Therefore, no contextual menu appears when you move your mouse pointer over an individual cell in a weighted column.

If you delete a column that is included in the calculation for a weighted column, the percentage assigned to the deleted column is removed. In the Selected Columns box, the Total Weight will no longer equal 100%. The calculation does balance itself, but it will not necessarily be based on the percentages you assigned because a column is missing. The system does not update percentages in the Selected Columns box, but the grade that appears in the weighted column in the Grade Center is based on 100%.

To keep a weighted column in view, despite the addition of other columns, move the column and freeze it on the Column Organization page. To learn more, see Organize Grade Center Data.

Difference Between Equal and Proportional Weighting

When the columns and categories selected for the weighted column have different point values, Equal weighting converts them to percentages. These percentages are averaged to obtain an equal value for each of the items included in the weighted column. Equal weighting gives each item equal weight when determining the composite grade.

Proportional weighting adds the raw scores of the included columns and categories, and then divides by the total points possible to obtain a percentage for each item in the weighted column. The resulting percentages retain the proportional weight of each item, so items with a larger point value have more effect on the composite grade.

Running Totals for Weighted Columns

When Calculate as Running Total is selected for a weighted column, columns and categories without grades are not included in the weighted column's total that displays in the Grade Center.

Example: Selecting the Calculate as Running Total option affects the score displayed for the weighted column in the Grade Center. In this example, there are no scores for Category C. This example uses categories, but the same principles apply if columns are selected instead of categories. 

Example Weighted Values

Category A

Weight 40%

Category B

Weight 40%

Category C

Weight 20%

Points Achieved 90 75 -
Points Possible 100 100 100
Weighted Value 90 pts * 40% = 36 75 pts * 40% = 30 -

Calculated as Running Total  = 82.5%

When calculated as a running total, the weighted column's total percentage is calculated by taking the sum of the weighted values of category A and B and multiplying by 100/80. The denominator of 80 is the summed weights of only the categories that contain scores (40 + 40 = 80).

(36 + 30) * 100/80 = 82.5%

NOT Calculated as Running Total = 66%

When not calculated as a running total, the weighted column's total percentage is calculated by summing the weighted values for categories A, B, and C and multiplying by 100/100. The denominator of 100 is the summed weights of all categories (which is always 100).

(36 + 30 + 0) * 100/100 = 66%