Why aren't my weighted columns calculating correctly?
There are a lot of potential small issues that can occur when weighted grades aren’t calculating properly and it is usually best to come in person to get help with it, but the following are the most common issues we encounter when troubleshooting weighted grade related issues:
If you used Categories (rather than the Columns themselves) to assign your weights, especially if you copied your course from a previous one using the Course Copy feature, a Blackboard bug will create duplicate categories. It is possible when you assigned your columns to a specific category, you selected one of the duplicates, while selecting the other when assigning your weighted column categories. This creates a disconnect and those assigned to the duplicate but not the weighted column won’t be included in the weights.
The first place to check would be the weighted total grade column you created to see if the categories you’ve selected have the columns you wanted to calculate. In order to make sure that the right category was selected; click on a particular category in the 'Categories to Select' box and see if there are any columns that appear in the Category Information area (refer to the following screenshot). For example, you should see all the columns (in the category information area) that you have assigned to a particular category.
To check if you have duplicate categories, go into your Full Grade Center, click on Manage and select “Categories” from the drop down menu. This will open a list of all of your categories and what has been assigned to each of them. There should only be ONE of each category name. If there are duplicates, check to see if you have any of your assignments split up in the duplicate and make note of that (write it all down exactly as you see it). If there are duplicate categories, but all the assignments are where they are supposed to be, delete the duplicates with nothing in them by clicking the checkboxes and deleting them. It is possible you used the empty duplicate category with the same name when assigning your weighted grade column. You will also need to reassign the category correctly by editing your weighted column again if this was the issue. Check all of the categories and do this same procedure for each one. Usually it’s just one assignment that’s either put under the incorrect category or the issue described above where they are all assigned to one category, but the category used in the weighted grades is the other duplicate one with the same name, which is an easy mistake to make. Don’t forget to go back into your weighted column and double check to make sure the correct category is assigned to the weighted column! If you deleted the duplicate that was assigned there, it will reduce your weighted percentage total by that category’s amount and you will need to reconnect it with the correct one that contains all of your assignments.
- Another thing that can cause incorrect weights when using categories is when an instructor forgets the name of the category they assigned a particular assignment to for the weighting. As the term progresses it’s easy to forget which categories you used, but it is very important that the same category name is used for a specific weight. A common example of what might happen: An instructor creates the first two week’s homework assignments and puts them under the category “Homework” and all homework assignments will eventually total to be worth 15% of the grade as set up in the weighted column for grade center. As the term progresses, the instructor accidentally assigns the last few homework assignments to the “Assignments” category instead of “Homework”. The weighted column total will only take into account whichever name has been used in that weighted column. So if the instructor set up their weighted column for “Homework” being worth 15%, then it will only be counting the first couple assignments called “Homework” but not the last ones that were assigned “Assignments”. The categories can be easily changed using Manage -> Column Organization in Full Grade Center or by editing the columns in question themselves.
- Another thing to check in your weighted column edit area: Look at the setup of the weighted column itself and check to make sure the “Grading Period” is set to none and that all of your weights in the weighted area have the “In grading period” set to “All”. Double check that your weights add up to 100%. Also check to make sure your settings in each of those areas are accurate for what you want to happen. For example: “Equally” versus “Proportionally”. If you have 3 HW assignments that you put under the category “Homework” to be worth 15% of the total grade, but one was worth more points than the other two and you wanted it to take that into account within that 15% weight, be sure you selected “Proportionally”. If you selected “Equally” it would disregard the varying points and treat each assignment as being worth an equal amount. Also if you are dropping the lowest grade, make sure you put the value in the lowest grade box and selected the correct radio button associated with it since that is easy to put it in the wrong one due to the poorly organized structure of those settings.
- Instructors often decide later that they don’t want to include a column in their grade center calculations, but forget to edit the options to say so. Make sure all of your columns are ones you want included. If you can, delete ones that will not be included. If there isn’t a delete option, you can go in to edit it clicking on the little downward facing arrow next to that column then “Edit Column Information” and scroll all the way to the bottom to see those options. Change the radio button to “No” for including in grade center calculations and Submit to save. Don’t just hide the column because it could still be counted in their total grade against them if it was originally specified to do so in the weights. #6 describes the hidden columns which often create problems with grade center calculations.
- Always check out your full column view that includes hidden information by going to Manage -> Column Organization from Full Grade Center (and scroll down toward the bottom until you see your column list). This will show you everything that is in your grade center including any hidden columns. Many instructors will hide a column they don’t want to use thinking it will somehow disconnect that from the grade center calculations as well. This is not the case. You have to specifically designate that column as “do not include in grade center calculations” within the column itself either when it was created, or after the fact, by going back in and editing column information. To be able to do that, you will have to unhide the column first to bring it back to the Full Grade Center view, then click on the little downward facing arrow next to that column then “Edit Column Information” and scroll all the way to the bottom to see those options. Change the radio button to “No” for including in grade center calculations and Submit to save.
- (Additionally, if your column is showing up as hidden in that view, it’s likely only hidden from you as the instructor, but not from your students. To hide it from your students, you have to follow the above instructions and that radio button option is in the same area as the one to not include it in grade center calculations. This is where you need to go to hide the column from students.)
- Another thing to try if all of the above didn’t work would be changing your running total where it says “Calculate as a running total” to the other option from what you have it set as and see if that fixes the issue. You do this again in the weighted column via the Edit Column Information process and it’s under #3: Select Columns, but at the end of it.
tags: grades, weight, weighing, calculated, columns, categories, duplication, weighted total, delete, calculating