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Let a ‘Weighted Total’ column do your Grade Centre maths

As we approach the peak grading period for another semester, it’s time to let the LMS do the work of calculating final grades for you, by setting up your ‘Weighted Total’ column in the Grade Centre.

What is a Weighted Total column?

A ‘Weighted Total’ column calculates a grade based on several other columns in your Grade Centre, where each column contributes a percentage value towards the ‘Weighted Total’ grade. The Weighted Total column does the weighting maths for you!

How do I set up my Weighted Total column?

  • If you don’t already see a Weighted Total column in your Grade Centre, simply click on the ‘Create Calculated column’ button and select ‘Weighted column’.
  • If you do already have a Weighted Total column, simply click the drop-down arrow next to the title, and choose ‘Edit column information’.
  • Once the column is created, you will need to decide how it should work and which columns it should use to calculate a grade.
    • First, give the column a name, for example “Weighted total”.
    • Choose how you wish grades to appear. The ‘Primary display’ setting dictates what type of grade the students can see – either a percentage or UniMelb letter grades such as H1, H2A etc. Of course, you don’t *have* to show the column to students; you can keep it hidden and used for staff purposes only. The ‘secondary display’ is the grade that will be visible only to staff. Please note: due to how the Weighted Total is calculated, it is not recommended you select ‘score’ as a display option.
    • Choose which of the columns/assessment tasks you wish to contribute to the grade, and what percentage they should contribute. From the left panel, select an assessment, and use the arrow to move it to the right panel, where you can specify what percentage it should contribute. The screenshot below shows this process, where you can see five assessment tasks contributing various weightings to the total grade. Note that not all columns need to contribute to the final grade – in the example provided, there is a sixth assessment task (Quiz 2) which has been used for formative assessment only and does not contribute to the ‘Weighted Total’ grade.
weighted total
Weighted total

Calculate as Running Total?

Part of setting up a ‘Weighted Total’ column is making a decision on whether the grade should be calculated as a running total.

  • Calculate as Running total = ‘Yes’ – Choosing this setting means that the Weighted Total grade is calculated based on the submissions that have been made. i.e. If the student has not submitted one of the assessment pieces, this piece will not be used in the calculation.
  • Calculate as Running total = ‘No’ – Choosing this setting means that the Weighted Total grade is be calculated based on all the assessment pieces regardless of whether a student as submitted yet. i.e. If a student has not submitted one of the assessment pieces, this piece will be counted as a ‘0’ (zero) in the calculation. We recommend this latter setting so that grades are not artificially inflated when students have yet to submit work.

Weighted Totals and Statistics

Setting up a Weighted total column is the Grade Centre is not only a useful way to calculate final grades and give feedback to students, it can also provide useful statistics. Every column in the Grade Centre (including your Weighted Total column) automatically calculates the column statistics, immediately providing the mean, median, deviance, maximum and minimum grades, as well as the grade distribution. To access this information, click the drop-down arrow next to any column title, then select ‘Column Statistics’ from the drop-down menu. Doing this on your Weighted Total column gives you a quick statistical analysis on the final grades for your subject.

For more information on this subject, please see our guide on setting up your weighted total.

For more information on how to use the Grade Centre, see https://lms.unimelb.edu.au/teaching/assessment/grade-centre

We also run LMS workshops on the Grade Centre that we’d love to see you at. To view this workshop and others, and register, see: https://lms.unimelb.edu.au/support/workshops

As always, feel free to submit a support request we can provide further assistance in this, or other, matters.

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Written by
Fiona Broussard


Learning Environments support centre