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  • How to Create A Total (point accrual) Column in the Grade Center
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The Total (points) column is a type of calculated column that adds the points earned, related to the total points. No further settings are required for the point accrual to work. No formulas are needed and the total points will calculate automatically and correctly at every point during the semester (when "Calculate as Running Total" is selected)

This solution is for a standard point-accrual style of calculation.  This is entirely different from the Weighted Column which uses percents and categories.

A Total column is created by default and appears in each new course. You can rename, change the settings, change which columns are included, or delete this default column.

1. In the full Grade Center select the default Total column to Edit Column Information. To create your own Total column, use the Create Calculated Column button and from the drop-down menu select Total Column.

OR if need to make a Total Column...

2. On the Create Total Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages unless you provide a different name in the Grade Center Display Name box. If you provide an alternative name, students need to understand it, as this is the name they see on their My Grades pages.

Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. If you point to the column heading, you can see its full name on the Grade Information Bar. The entire name appears on students' My Grades pages.

3. Optionally, type a Description. Information provided here appears to students when they click the Details function on My Grades.

4. Make a selection in the Primary Display drop-down list. The selection is the grade format shown in the Grade Center and to students on their My Grades pages.

Five default options appear:

  • Score: A numeric grade appears in the column (points). This is the default setting. If you do not make a selection, the score appears in the grid.
  • Letter: A letter grade appears in the column. The default grading schema is used to assign letter grades. For example, a score of 21/30 equals 70% and appears as a C.
  • Text: This default display option does not display text for a Total column or allow you to type directly in the column's cell to edit it. If you select Text, the numeric score appears in the column
  • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%.
  • Complete/Incomplete: When an item is submitted, a check mark ( ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.

5. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None. The same options appear in this drop-down list except for the option chosen as the Primary Display. In the Grade Center column, the secondary value appears in parentheses. The secondary value does not appear to students, and you cannot manually edit the secondary value from a column’s cell.

6. In the Select Columns section, two options are available. One is All Grade Columns and the other is Selected Columns and Categories. Click on Selected Columns and Categories. In the Categories to Select section, select what categories to include in the Total column's calculation. NOTE: The category selection is recommended rather than Columns To Select. The rationale is that if you select categories, and if each column added to the Grade Center is placed in a category, the Grade Center total will be correct. If Columns To Select is chosen, then you must return to the Total Points column and add the new column each time one is added to the Grade Center or the Total Points will be incorrect.

7. Check the Yes check box in Calculate as Running Total. Running totals exempt cells that do not contain data.

8. Select the Options:

Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Select Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns. Select NO if this column is not to be used elsewhere and review of submission will not be required.

Show this Column to Students: Select Yes to display the column to students on their My Grades pages.

Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades:

Select Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.

9. Click Submit.

If a column is deleted from the Grade Center that is included in a Total calculation, it is also removed from the calculation.

10. The result will be that a new Total column will appear at the end of the Grade Center. Go to the Manage/Column Organization to move the column to the front of the Grade Center or lock it into place next to the students’ names.


Due to the high importance of a correct Total for students, faculty are encouraged to contact the TLP (x-6167) if there are any questions or concerns about the validity of the calculation.