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Center for Teaching & Learning: Blackboard - Grade Center

Supporting the MCPHS faculty and staff in their commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching and learning

What is the Grade Center?

The Grade Center can be used to manage and record student grades throughout the semester. The columns shown in the Full Grade Center are composed of UserCalculated, and Graded columns.

  1. User columns are columns automatically created by the system and include the student's Last NameFirst Name,Username, Student ID, Last Access, and Availability.
  2. Calculated columns are columns whose information is pulled from graded or other calculated columns. The most common example of calculated columns are the total and weighted total column.
  3. Graded columns are used to record student grades for graded assignments, exams, discussion boards, and any other activity that is graded. Blackboard automatically creates a grade column for any of these content items in your course.

Note: While the Grade Center can be used to record grades and calculate final grades, these are not the official grade of record. Instructors will still need to record their final grades in either Web Advisor or through FUGU. More information on the Final Grading policy.

Grade Center Micro-Learning Opportunities

Create a New Total Column

By default the Grade Center in your Blackboard course comes with a total column that sums up the points of all other graded columns in your grade center, but did you know it's possible to create your own customized total column that only includes the columns you wish to sum? Possible uses for this column could be to quickly add up the total points of the individual discussion board grades, or to add extra credit columns to existing assessment scores.

  1. Go to your Blackboard course and navigate to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  2. Click Create Calculated Column and select Total Column.
  3. Add a short, but descriptive name in the Name field. You do not need to a separate Grade Center name or a description.
  4. Under Select Columns, click the option Selected Columns and Categories.
  5. Use the Columns to Select and Categories to Select boxes to click the desired Grade Center items, and then click the arrows to the right to bring them to the Selected Columns box.
  6. Select Yes to Calculate as Running Total.
  7. Include the new calculated columns in grade center calculations only if you plan on incorporating it into another total or weighted total column. If this is just a means of quickly summing the grades, there is no need to have it count in the calculations.
  8. Select No to Show this Column to Students. Students should already be able to see the individual gradable items so there is no need to show them this column as well. Choosing to show students the new column may result in their confusion.
  9. Press Submit.

Screenshot of step 2: Create Calculated Column - Total Column

Weighted Total Columns

Weighted total columns are similar to total columns in that they are used to sum graded columns together, but while the total columns treat every point equally, weighted total columns go the extra mile and allow you to assign a percentage value each graded column is worth towards the sum. In other words, you can use weighted total columns to create a grade that reflects the grading breakdown you should have listed in your syllabus.

By default, every course comes with an empty weighted total column in the Grade Center, so the only thing you need to do is edit the existing weighted total and add the graded columns / categories so they reflect your syllabus schema.

  1. Go to your Blackboard course and navigate to Control Panel > Grade Center > Full Grade Center.
  2. Locate the Weighted Total column and click the arrow to the right of the name.
  3. Select Edit Column Information.
  4. Use the Columns to Select and Categories to Select boxes to click the desired Grade Center items, and then click the arrows to the right to bring them to the Selected Columns box.
  5. After bringing the desired columns over, use the % Column field to enter a number between 1 - 100. This will assign the particular column's weight on the total grade.
  6. Continue step 5 until the total weight is equal to 100%. Note that the final weight must be exactly 100%, otherwise the grades will not be calculated correctly.
  7. Select Yes to Calculate as Running Total.
  8. Select Yes to Show this Column to Students only after all the grades are entered and the column is set up correctly. Select No for this option if you are still working on the column or if you still need to enter grades.
  9. Press Submit.

Screenshot of Step 4: select columns

Needs Grading

If you have a heavy grading workload, the Needs Grading page can help you determine what needs attention first. You can view all items ready for grading or review.

For courses with many enrolled students and gradable items, you can use the Needs Grading page to organize your grading workload. You can review and grade these gradable items:

  • Individual assignment attempts
  • Group assignment attempts
  • Test attempts
  • Blog and journal entries
  • Wiki page saves
  • Discussion posts

You can customize the view of items with a Needs Grading status. You can sort, filter, hide, and grade the most urgent items first. For example, you can sort by due date to ensure you grade your final tests by the Registrar's deadline at the end of a term. 

When you allow multiple attempts, you may not need to grade some of the attempts. You can hide the attempts that don't need grading to further organize your grading workload.

If students submitted work after the due date, the items appear with a Late label in the Date Submitted column.

Access Needs Grading

  1. Go to your Blackboard course and navigate to Control Panel > Grade Center > Needs Grading.
  2. Displayed submissions can be organized by clicking one of the following:
    • Category: Sorts submissions by item type (e.g. test, discussion, assignment, etc)
    • Item Name:  Sorts submissions by item (e.g. all submissions for assignment 1 will be listed together, followed by all submissions for assignment 2)
    • User Attempt: Sorts the submissions by users
    • Date Submitted: Sort the submissions by when they were turned in
  3. Click a User Attempt to begin grading.

Override a grade on the Grade Details page

We recommend that you assign an override grade from the Manual Override tab on the Grade Details page. You can add feedback for the user and notes for yourself about the grade change. You will have a record of why you chose to override any future attempts.

Screenshot of step 3: Grade Center Manual Override

The only way to assign on override grade for gradable journal and blog entries, wiki page saves, and discussion posts is on the Manual Override tab. However, you can edit an override grade from an interactive tool's grading panel and disallow its precedence.

  1. In the Grade Center, locate the cell with the student's graded test or assignment grade to override and access its menu.
  2. Select View Grade Details.
  3. On the Grade Details page, select the Manual Override tab and type a new grade in the Override Grade box.
  4. Optionally, type Feedback to User and Grading Notes for yourself. Use the functions in the content editor to format the text and upload files, images, and multimedia.
  5. Select Save.
  6. Select Return to Grade Center to go back to the main Grade Center page.

More on attaching files

Revert an override grade

You can use the Revert function to clear an override grade and display the previously assigned grade, if one exists. Otherwise, the Needs Grading icon appears.

Screenshot of Step 3: Select Revert
  1. In the Grade Center, locate the cell with the student's override grade to revert and access its menu.
  2. Select View Grade Details.
  3. On the Grade Details page, select Revert in the Current Grade section. Confirm the action.
  4. Select OK. The override grade is cleared. The action is recorded on the Grade History tab on this page.
  5. Select Return to the Grade Center to go back to the main Grade Center page.

Create extra credit columns

You can create an extra credit column in the Grade Center with a maximum score of 0 that is included in the default Total column computation. Then, you can assign extra credit points as needed.

This method works for only one individual extra credit column where grades aren't weighted.

  1. In the Grade Center, select Create Column
  2. On the Create Grade Column page, provide the appropriate information
  3. Select Score from the Primary Display menu
  4. Select Percentage from the Secondary Display menu
  5. For Points Possible, type 0
  6. Select Yes for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations
  7. Select Submit

The extra credit column appears in the Grade Center. After you add points in an extra credit column, a student's total points can equal more than 100 percent. If a student receives full credit for all gradable items (100 points) and also receives 6 extra credit points, the result is 106 out or 100 or 106%.

Screenshot of total column with extra credit built in

Grade Details

On the Grade Details page, you can view a student's attempts and grade history, assign and edit a grade, and clear and exempt grades.

On the Attempts and Grade History tabs, you can view the rubric used for grading.

In the rubric's List View, if you didn't select an option for a criterion and then typed feedback, the feedback wasn't saved when you saved the rubric.

This page also serves as the main location for users with assistive technology such as screen readers. All of the information associated with an item appears on the Grade Details page.

At the top of the Grade Details page, the Current Grade section displays the current score or an icon such as Needs Grading.

Screenshot of Grade Details page

If you select Exempt, this grade is excluded from a student's Grade Center calculations. The Exempt icon appears in the cell in the grid.

Select View Attempts to access all the attempts associated with this item.

The Attempts tab lists all submitted attempts. You can view each attempt's submission date, feedback, and grading notes to yourself.

For each attempt, you can grade, clear, or edit the grade. You can also ignore an attempt to keep it but omit the score from Grade Center calculations. The attempt isn't counted toward the number of allowed attempts.

Use the Delete menu to select one or all attempts to delete.

If a student submits the maximum number of attempts, Allow Additional Attempt appears so that you can permit another submission.

On the Manual Override tab, you can assign a new grade for an item. Type a new grade in the Override Grade box. You can also provide Feedback to User and Grading Notes, and attach files in the editor.

More on overriding grades

The Column Details tab presents information about a Grade Center column such as name, description, primary display, and average score.

On the Grade History tab, the two most recent actions appear by default. Select View Complete History to see more.

Screenshot of Grade History tab

On the Attempts and Grade History tabs, you can view the rubric used for grading. In the rubric's List View, if you didn't select an option for a criterion and then typed feedback, the feedback wasn't saved when you saved the rubric.

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