Following are some useful tips and reminders for using the Grade Center in Blackboard Learn to correctly calculate and display final grades to students.

Total Column

This is the default column in the Grade Center for generating a grade based on the cumulative points earned, related to the total points possible. By default all grade columns are included in the total. Here are other useful settings and modifications affecting the Total column:

Excluding Columns from the Total

You may have some Grade Center columns that you do not want to count towards the total score, such as practice quizzes or draft assignments. You can exclude them from the total by clicking on the action link (the double downward pointing arrows) next to the grade column name. From the drop-down menu that appears, click on Edit Column Information. Then select No for the Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations option and click Submit.

Note: If you manually add grade columns to the Grade Center and want those grades to be included in the total grade, make sure that Yes is selected for the Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations option.

Calculate as Running Total

By default, the Total column is set to calculate as a running total. Running totals exempt columns that do not yet contain a grade. If a student has missed an assignment or test, you should enter a grade of “0” so that the Total column will include the score and the points possible for that assignment or test in the running total. If a student is excused from completing a gradable item, you can exempt that grade for the student.

Instructions: Giving a zero grade

Instructions: Exempting a grade

You can change this by editing the column information and selecting No for the Calculate as Running Total option. This option will include all selected columns in the calculation. This can make grades appear artificially low because it will use a “0” score for all grade columns that do not yet have a score entered (to include those with future due dates).

You can change this by editing the column information and selecting No for the Calculate as Running Total option. This option will include all columns in the calculation. This can make grades appear artificially low because it will use a “0” score for all grade columns that do not yet have a score entered (to include those with future due dates).

Show the Letter Grade in the Total Column

Initially, the Total column is set to show only the total earned score (points) for your students. Since course grades are reported as letter grades to the university, you may also want to view the letter grade equivalents in the Total column. Edit the column information for the Total column and select a grading schema (default is “Letter”) from the Secondary Display drop-down list and click Submit. The secondary display is only available to the instructor and not to students. To show the letter grade to students, just reverse the selections for the Primary Display and the Secondary Display.

Note on Grading Schemas: The default grading schema, Letter, is set to these percentages: A+ = 97-100%, A = 94-96%, A- = 90-03%, B+ = 87-89%, B = 84-86%, and so on. If you are using a different grading scale for your course, you can either modify the default grading schema or add a new grading schema. Letter grades are always based on percentages, not points. The percentage is calculated as: Total Points Earned divided by Total Points Possible. For example a student who has earned a total of 640 points out of 750 possible points will have a percentage grade of 85% for which the letter grade equivalent is a “B,” based on the default Letter grading schema.

Instructions: Editing the default grading schema or adding a new grading schema

Creating Your Own Calculated Columns

You may want to create your own calculated columns in the Grade Center to give you specific views of course performance such as a total score for all of the graded discussion forums that address a specific topic, or to display an average score of all the weekly quizzes in your course.

Custom Categories for Grade Columns

When you create gradable activities in your course, Blackboard automatically places them in one of several default categories such as Assignment, Test, or Discussion. You can create your own categories and apply them to any of the gradable items in your course. This can enable you to easily customize and manage the Grade Center for your course.

Instructions: Creating and managing custom categories

Custom Total Column

You can create your own calculated Total columns to accumulate the scores of gradable items that you select. There are many ways that total columns can be used in your Grade Center. For example, you could show the total points of only the graded discussion boards that you assigned one of your custom categories such as “Controversial Topics.” You should name your newly created Total column appropriately to easily identify it in the Grade Center.

Instructions: Creating a Total column

Average Column

The average column is a type of calculated column that displays the average for a selected number of columns. For example, you can display the average for all quizzes or display the average grade for each student for a Grading Period. You can even have each student’s lowest or highest score automatically dropped from the averaging calculation, as long as you select column categories.

Instructions: Creating an Average column

 

Step 1: Within the course, select “Grade Center” in the Course Management Panel

Step 2: Select “Full Grade Center”

Step 3: Hover over the title of the grade column and click on the action link item (circle) that appears directly to the right

Step 4: Select “Show/Hide to Users”

Action Link Item menu showing the selection of "Show/Hide to Users" at the end of the third section.

Note: When grades are hidden to students (users), a dark circle with a red line through it will appear to the left of the column title

Practice Quiz shown with symbol of grey circle with red line through it so its hidden to students