Hi BrighterBoy and EinsteinSchool,
The Weightings options let you break down the cumulative average into different groups. So, based on your example you could setup: Assignment(40%)+Essay(10%)+Midterm(20%)+Final Exam(30%) as four different types of weightings. You’ll see a sample calculation at the bottom of the weightings screen to see how it all adds up. When creating and editing a markbook column, you’ll be able to select from these weighted options in the Type field.
The difference between the ‘Cumulative Average’ and ‘Final Grade’ weighting is in when the calculation happens. By default, Cumulative Average will work as you’ve described above: you can add 40+10+20+30, all adding up to 100%.
Using a ‘Final Grade’ weighting is optional, and helps if you’d like to apply the final % calculation after the Cumulative Average has been calculated. For some schools this might look like: Assignments 40%, Projects 40%, Essay 20% = 100%. Then, at the end of the course, apply a Final Exam of 30% to the entire cumulative grade, calculated after everything else. If you select this, it’ll show you the sample calculation as well, separate from the cumulative one. This is optional though, you can opt not to use it this way and just set all your weightings as Cumulative Average.
As you’ve noticed, individual columns can have a Weight as well. This is calculated per-column, within the columns of the same type. The individual column weight is like a multiplier. By default, every column gets the same weight of 1. If you have 3 assignments, worth an overall weight of 40%, then each of those assignments will make up one third of that mark. As you’ve mentioned, sometimes you need to make a column worth more than others. In this case, if you set a column weight to 2, and the others to 1, then it will weight them individually as it is calculating that overall Assignments percentage. It’s a way to say “this column is worth double the other columns” (or half, if you set the weight to 0.5)
Hope this helps! Much of this markbook complexity didn’t exist until my school came along and I added it in for them, so I’m happy to help clarify what’s going on