The Natural aggregation method (sum of points) adds all the values of the various graded items together. It works best for people who work on a point system to determine final grades.


By default, Natural weighting produces a sum of the grades. The Weights column displays the relative weights of the items as percentages, based on each item’s points. Using natural aggregation also makes it easier to flag grade items as extra credit, if that option is needed.

Step-by-step guide

  1. In the Course Menu along the top of your course, select the Grades link.

  2. Using the dropdown menu at the top left, select Gradebook setup.
    Using the grader report pulldown menu, select Gradebook setup

  3.  Within Gradebook setup, click the Edit > Settings link next to the course category.

    Use the top edit pulldown and select settings

  4. Toggle the Aggregation type to Natural.

    Use the aggregation dropdown menu to select natural

  5. Click Save changes at the bottom of the screen.

Exclude empty grades

Empty Grades simply indicates that a grade has not been entered in the gradebook. It may be empty because a student has not made a submission or that the teacher has not yet graded the item. Empty grades display as dashes in the Grader Report; they are different than scores of zero. Zeros are calculated, but dashes (empty grades) count towards the overall grade depending on what the teacher in the site has selected.

By clicking Exclude Empty Grades, the teacher is displaying a total that only reflects only the graded items in the course, and the overall grade does not include ungraded items.

Exclude Empty Grades

Extra Credit 

To set a grade item or assignment to extra credit follow these steps:

  • Open the Gradebook: Click Grades in the Course menu along the top of your course homepage.
  • Use the dropdown menu at the top left to select Gradebook Setup.
  • Find the grade item or assignment you would like to set as extra credit.
  • Click on the Edit link out to the right of the item. 
  • Select the Edit settings option.
  • Under Weight check the box for Extra Credit.
  • Save changes.
  • Once designated as Extra Credit the item total will display a + to the right of the number, indicating extra credit. 

Instructors can override grade items’ default weights and enter alternate weights by selecting the box next to any of the weights.

The natural weighting method is flexible and can be applied in different ways to produce different results. People who utilize sum or percentage grading could take advantage of this aggregation method. Flexibility can also sometimes create confusion, so if you have questions about gradebook setup, we encourage you to contact your college consultant.

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