Bb Mailbag: Overall Grades


Welcome to the Blackboard Mailbag, where we feature a commonly asked question that has been hitting our mailbox recently: Check out our Bb Mailbag archive of previous Blackboard questions and answers or visit for additional resources.

Note:  Features may change with future updates.  

Q:  How can I set up the overall grade in the Gradebook?

1. In the gradebook, click on the ”Set it up” button:

setting up the weighted grade button

2. Select how you want the grade to be calculated. You will be able to select from the following three options. 

  • Points. A points-based grade calculation may aid transparency as it makes clear to students what’s worth more in a course and what’s worth less. You can select which categories and items you want to include in the calculation. The max total points available in the course will be decided by the items and categories you include in the calculation.
  • Weighted. The weighted overall calculates grade items as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%. You can assign percentage values to any course items and categories you prefer. Note that any weighting applied to a category applies to the category as a whole. The items within the category will be proportionally weighted based on their underlying max points values. If you want the assessments within the category to be equally weighted, they need to have the same max points value.
  • Advanced. Use a custom formula to calculate the overall grade.

3. Adjust categories

Categories containing items are listed first and ordered by the number of items contained. 

Expand the category to see its items. From here you can:

  • Unlink an item from its category. This is useful if you want to include the item in the calculation separately from the rest of the category. 
  • Unlock (for weighted option only) an item or category to edit its weighting. The calculation will automatically balance all unlocked items to ensure the overall calculation equals 100%. 
  • Exclude an item within a category from the overall grade calculation. This removes the item points from the total number of points available in the course. The item or category turns gray to indicate that it’s not included in the calculation. Select the icon again to include the item or category in the calculation again. 

4. Choose how you want the overall grade to display in Overall Grade Settings.

You can display the overall grade as a letter grade, percentage, points or any grading schema created in the course. With the points display option, instructors and students see the overall grade as a fraction of the total points earned, divided by the total points available in the course. For example, 745/800.

screenshot of weighing a grade

For additional FAQs and resources about Blackboard, visit, attend one of our workshops, or reach out to us ( with your availability and we will accommodate small groups and one-on-one sessions.

Have feedback or suggestions on features?  Blackboard’s parent company Anthology hosts The Idea Exchange.  This is a place specifically for Blackboard to track and manage enhancement requests. It allows for things like upvoting ideas and sharing development plans and statuses. You will need to create an account to access the Idea Exchange.

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