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Total Points Column

The Total Points Column is an optional column in the gradebook that automatically calculates and displays the total number of points a student has achieved for the course's entire marking period.

This gradebook setting is useful for courses that use total points instead of a traditional grade scale, or any gamified class or course.

Enabling the Total Points Column in Grade Setup

As a Course Administrator, the Total Points Column can be enabled from the Final Grade Settings area of Grade Setup directly within a course.

  1. Click Grade Setup from the left menu within the course.
  2. Under Control Grading Columns in Gradebook, click Total points column.


    The Total Points column was created with the intent that an instructor would use the total points achieved to give a grade to a student, rather than the calculated Overall score. The Overall grade includes other factors in the calculation such as categories, weights, exceptions, and individually assigned items, while the Total Points Column calculation is strictly points achieved/points possible. Therefore, displaying both grades may cause confusion for students and parents. As a best practice, if the grading process for your course uses the total points column, it is recommended to also enable the Hide overall grades in student grade report option.

  3. Recommended: Check the Hide overall grade in student grade report option under Visibility Settings.

  4. Click Save Changes.
  5. The Total Points column is added to the gradebook and displayed to the right of the calculated Overall grade column.

The admin view of the gradebook will continue to display the Overall calculated grade, even if it is hidden from the student grade report.

Total Points Column Calculation

The Total Points column displays each student's total points earned for the course's entire marking period. The total points possible for the course displays in the column header and cannot be customized for each student in the gradebook.

Therefore, the Total Points displayed in the header ignores grading categories, weighted categories or grading periods, individually assigned items, and exceptions.

Based on the grade data in the screenshot above, Herbert has earned 431.35 out of a total of 460 possible points.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why doesn't the Total Points score in the gradebook match my student's grade?

The points displayed in the Total Points column header reflects the total points possible for the course, which is the sum of the total points possible all graded materials in the course. The column disregards any grading categories, weights or exceptions.

If you have excused a student from a course material, the Total Points column does not update to reflect the new number of points possible. Therefore, a custom grade is not displayed in this column and will not reflect the same score shown in the Overall column.

For example, if a course has 200 points available, and you've entered the excused exception for a student from one 50 point assignment, the total points listed in the Gradebook and student's grade summary is still 200, not 150.

However, the student's percentage does update to reflect the excused assignment; in this case, the student is graded on a scale of 150 possible points, not 200.

  1. In the above example, it appears that Susan Perez has received 280 out of a possible 400 points for a score of 70 percent.
  2. However, Susan's posted score is 93.33 percent
  3. Since she's been excused from a 100 point assignment, meaning the actual percentage score is 280/300.

The same apparent discrepancy also displays in the grade summaries available to students and their parents:

This is why we recommend that you also check the Hide overall grades in student grade report option, which will remove the Course Grade field from the student grade report

  • Are there other gradebook settings I need to know about or best practices when using the Total Points column?

We recommend the following best practices when using the Total Points column:

  • Turn off weighted grading in Grade Setup since the Total Points column disregards grading category weights.
  • Hide overall grades in student grade report in Grade Setup to avoid any confusion with conflicting with the Total Points column if there's any exceptions, extra credit or
  • Unpublish ungraded/unsubmitted assignments. This ensures the total points column is accurate at that given time and avoids confusion for students or parents (e.g. Student A has 120/140 points in week 5 of school, as opposed to 120/800 points)
  • Be mindful of any individually assigned items as the total points column header still displays the total points possible for all graded items. This means if Student A is assigned an item, the total points column header will display those points possible for all students.
  • If you're giving extra credit by adding a Grade Column in the gradebook, note that this means the total points column header will reflect the total points possible for all graded items and grade columns for all students. If you assign extra credit by using the Course override column, the grade will not be displayed to students since we recommend hiding overall grades in the student grade report. If you wish to give extra credit, it is recommended to assign the extra points to an existing graded item directly in the gradebook. You can also create a new assignment worth 0 maximum points within one of your existing grading categories, and assign the number of extra credit points to each student who completes the item accordingly.
  • How does the Total Points Column work with individually assigned course materials?

If you have Individually Assigned a course material to a student or grading group, the Total Points column displays the total points possible for all graded items in the course. Students who were not assigned the material will still see Total Points reflect the possible points for the individually assigned material:

In this example, only one student has been assigned the above assignment. The Total Points column still displays the same amount of possible points (1,730 pts) for all students.

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