The Percentage-Based System uses a 100% scale to grade student performance. Each assignment is assigned 100%; individual assignments are grouped into categories, which are then assigned a different percentage or weight to calculate the final course grade. The sum of all the categories is 100.

How to Create an Assessment Schema Using the Percentage-Based Grade System?

Create Individual Assignments

Create individual assignments for the entire course and assign the maximum value for each 100%. In other words, a student can get a maximum of 100% for each assignment.

Determine the Assessment Categories

Determine the assignment categories (e.g., homework, midterm, presentations, etc.) and group individual assignments into each category. For example, ten individual homework short paper assignments can be included in the homework category. Consider using the Backward Design framework in this step.

Align Categories With Learning Objectives

Align assessment categories with the course learning objectives to determine which assessment category will be assigned a higher point value (high-stakes) and which category will have a lower point value (low stakes). For example, a midterm assignment is usually considered high-stakes, and a discussion board post can be regarded as a low-stakes assignment.

Assign a Percentage to Each Category

In this step, we are calculating the final course grade using the Weighted Total System. Consider Bloom’s Taxonomy to determine assignment categories deserve a higher percentage in calculating the Weighted Total.

Create/Edit Bb Categories

Before you set up the Weighted Total calculations, make sure that individual assignments in Blackboard are categorized appropriately. Blackboard automatically creates the following categories by default – Assignment, Blog, Discussion, Journal, Self and Peer, Survey, Test Wiki. For example, if you created 3 homework assignments using the Assignment feature in Bb, they will be categorized as assignments by default. However, if you want to create your categories that better reflect your assessment schema, you can do so by selecting Manage from the Full Grade Center, clicking on Categories, and then on the Create Category button.

Categories from the manage tab in Bb Full Grade cetner

Assign Bb Categories to Individual Assignments

You may skip this step if you wish to use Bb generic categories or if you want to enter individual assignments into the final grade calculations. However, if we want to replace the generic assignment category from the previous example with the new category that we created called homework, we can easily do so. One of the easiest ways to assign or edit the category is by selecting Manage from the Full Grade Center, clicking on Column Organization where you can assign custom categories you’ve created in the previous step. Select all the assignments that belong to the same category and click on the Change Category to… button. Select one of the categories you created in the previous step from the list. Repeat the process assigning a different category to different groups of assessments.

Change Category in Blackboard Full Grade Center

Weight Bb Assignments & Categories

Once individual assessments are created and categorized, we can enter the calculations into the Weighted Total column. Click on the chevron next to the Weighted Total name and select Edit Column Information. If you wish, you may rename the column and set up the display of grades. Select a category from the box on the bottom left, and using the arrow, move it to the Selected Columns area on the right. You can also select individual columns from the top left and using the corresponding arrow, move them to the Selected Columns. Assign a percentage to the category/individual column out of 100%. Repeat the process until the sum of all categories and/or individual assignments reaches 100.

Set Weighted Total Column in Blackboard


Don’t forget to add 0’s

You must enter a 0 grade for all non-submissions when grading individual student work; otherwise, the Weighted Total column will not display the correct grade.

Which default categories are ‘good’?

If you plan on creating Discussion Forums as you go along, include the default discussion category in the Weighted Total calculations (even though you don’t have individual forums at the time you edit the Weighted Total column). Blackboard will automatically count individual forums if they are assigned the default discussion category. The same is true for Bb Journals and Blogs and their default categories.

Can percentage and point-based scales be used simultaneously?

By default, Blackboard will display both – Weighted Total column that calculates percentage and the Total column that sums up the points of individual assessments. If you plan on using only the Weighted Total column, disable the Total column by clicking on the chevron next to its title and selecting Edit Column Information. Under Options, select No next to both “Include this column in Grade Center calculations” and “Show this column to students.” Submit. Students may get confused if they can see very different values in the Weighted Total and the Total columns.

If you plan on using both columns to display the final grade breakdown, make sure that percentage weights and points are properly aligned. That is done by multiplying the percentage weight of each category by 1000 to determine how many points is each category worth. For more on aligning these two scales, see the ITT handout and the Blackboard Help page.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?