Setting up a ‘Weighted Total’ column in your Grade Centre
As we approach the height of “grading season” for another semester, it’s time to let the LMS do the work of calculating final grades by setting up your ‘Weighted Total’ column in the Grade Centre.
What does the Weighted Total column do?
The ‘Weighted Total’ column calculates a grade based on several other columns in your Grade Centre, where each column contributes a specified 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 what maths it should do. First, give the column a name and choose how you wish grades to appear. The ‘primary display’ grade setting dictates what type of grade the students can see if you choose to display the column to students; either as a percentage or as the UniMelb letter grades, based on your preference. The ‘secondary display’ is only visible to staff. Please note: due to how the Weighted Total is calculated it is not recommended you select ‘score’ as a display option for the weighted total column.
Then it’s time to decide which of the columns/assessment tasks you wish to contribute to the total, and what percentage they should contribute. From the left panel, select a column, 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 weighted grades to the total grade. Note that not all columns need to contribute to the final grade – in the example provided, there’s a sixth assessment task (Quiz 2) which has been used for formative assessment only and does not contribute to the ‘Weighted Total’ grade.
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 -‘yes’ or ‘no’. Which one you choose will have an impact on the student experience as the grade is calculated throughout the semester, if the column is shown to students.
- ‘Yes’ will display the student grade as where they are sitting as a grade with the submissions so far. i.e. For assessment 1 student got 60%, for assessment 2 student got 70%, assessment 3 has not yet been submitted. At this point in the subject the student grade will be displayed as 65% as an average of how they have gone across those 2 assessment pieces.
- ‘No’ will display the grade as a percentage based on the assessment pieces received to date and their weighting. i.e. For assessment 1 student got 60% and is worth 25% of final mark (=15 marks), for assessment 2 student got 70% and is worth 25% of the final mark (=17.5 marks), assessment 3 is worth 50% of the final mark and has not yet been submitted. Student grade at this point in the subject will be 32.5%.
One further thing to consider with respect to the running total setting is that if running total is set to ‘yes’, any column without a grade is ignored. In this case, if a student does not submit an assessment and the instructor enters a grade of ‘zero’ for that assessment piece, no problem – even a ‘zero’ grade is a grade. However, if the student fails to submit an assessment and the grade is left blank the Weighted Total column will ignore that column in the calculations, thereby inflating the student’s result.
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 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 the column title, then select ‘Column Statistics’ from the pull down menu. This gives you a quick statistical analysis on the final grades for the 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 lodge a support request we can provide further assistance in this, or other, matters.