Skip to main content
pdf?stylesheet=default
Blackboard Help

Grade Columns

When you create gradable items in your course, grade columns are created automatically in the Grade Center. You can edit a grade column to rename it, associate it with a different category, associate it with a rubric and grading period, determine if students will see the results in My Grades, and include or exclude the column in calculations.

The Grade Center displays two decimal places for each grade. This occurs even if the grade has no values for the decimal places or if your assigned grade is set to a maximum of four decimal places. Grades set to three or four decimal places are rounded up. For example, 45.4357 is rounded up to 45.44. Calculated columns also display to a maximum of two decimal places.

Automatically Created Grade Columns

  • Assignments: You can deliver assignments to individuals or groups. When an assignment is ready to grade, the needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—appears in a student’s cell in the Grade Center, and you must grade the attempt manually.
  • Surveys: Surveys are scored automatically by the system. When a student completes a survey, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the student’s cell in the Grade Center. To view survey results, access the column’s contextual menu and click Attempts Statistics. On the Survey Statistics page, you can view the percentage of students who selected each answer. You cannot view individual results as student responses are anonymous.
  • Tests: Most test questions are scored automatically by the system. If you create a test that is comprised only of questions scored automatically, the grades appear in the students' cells in the Grade Center. If you create a test that contains questions that you need to score manually, such as Essay or Short Answer questions, the needs grading icon appears in students' cells for completed tests. You must grade those questions before the test results appear in the students' cells.
  • Discussion board: If you enabled grading for forums or threads, you must manually grade submitted posts. After a student submits the required number of posts, the needs grading icon appears in the student’s cell in the Grade Center.

    When a group member submits a post in a graded group discussion board, the grade you assign is only for the individual member.

  • Blogs, journals, and wikis: If you enabled grading, you must manually grade submitted entries and wiki contributions. After a student submits work, the needs grading icon appears in the student’s cell in the Grade Center.

Manually Created Grade Columns in Action

If a grade column is not created automatically, you can create grade columns for any student work you want to grade. For example, you can create a column to record participation grades.

Example:

Image illustrating associated text

In the preceding image, two grade columns are shown:

  • Participation: Created manually by an instructor to record participation grades.
  • Chapter 1 Test: Created automatically by the system when an instructor created and deployed the test.

The data in the "Participation" column is populated when an instructor manually assigns the grades. The data in the "Chapter 1 Test" column is populated when students complete their tests and the test is scored automatically by the system. If the test includes questions that an instructor must grade, such as an Essay or Short Answer question, the needs grading icon appears in the students’ cells after the tests are submitted.

When you create Grade Center columns, you can perform the following tasks:

  • Choose how the grade appears. You can display the grades in the Grade Center grid and on students’ My Grades pages as a score, letter, text, percentage, or as complete/incomplete.
  • Associate it with a category, grading period, and rubric.
  • Exclude or include the column in any potential Grade Center calculations, such as when creating a calculated column.
  • Determine whether the column’s results appear on students’ My Grades pages.

How to Create Grade Columns

  1. In the Grade Center, click Create Column on the action bar.
  2. On the Create Grade Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages. If this name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, you can type a short, descriptive name in the Grade Center Name box.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. Point to the column heading to view its full name on the Grade Information Bar.

  3. Optionally, type a Description.
  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 in My Grades. If you created any custom grading schemas, they appear in the list. Five default options appear:
    • Score: A numeric grade appears in the column. 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: Text appears in the column when you create a custom text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor -OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If you create no custom text grading schema, and the Text option is selected, you are allowed to type text in the column’s cells. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they will see the text values for their grades.

      When you convert a numeric score to text without creating a custom text grading schema, and then return to numeric scoring, values that cannot be converted display a zero after conversion. Therefore, if you want to include text as grades, Blackboard recommends creating a custom text grading schema and associating it with the columns.

    • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%.
    • Complete/Incomplete: When a student submits an item, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.

      Image illustrating associated text

  5. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None. The same options appear except for the option chosen as the Primary Display and Text. The default Text option does not appear as you cannot edit a secondary value from a column’s cell. If you create a customized grading schema based on text and have not used it as the Primary Display, it appears in the list. In the Grade Center column, the secondary value appears in parentheses. The secondary value does not appear to students.

    Image illustrating associated text

    If you choose Percentage as the Primary Display and type the achieved numeric score into the Grade Center grid directly, the number you type is interpreted as a percentage and not the score. Therefore, if you want the system to calculate percentages when you type a score, select Score as the Primary Display and select Percentage as the Secondary Display. Scores you type directly in the grid will display a percentage in parentheses.

  6. Optionally, you can associate the column with a category by making a selection in the Category drop-down list. The default setting is No Category. You can use categories to filter Grade Center data, create smart views that focus the view of the Grade Center data, and create calculated columns.

    Image illustrating associated text

  7. In the Points Possible box, type the total points. Entries must be numeric.
  8. If grading periods exist, you can associate the column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  9. Optionally, select the option next to Due Date and type a date (mm/dd/yyyy) or use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar. Columns that you assigned a due date to are associated automatically with a grading period if the due date falls within the date range of the grading period. The option to automatically associate columns with a grading period is set when creating or editing a grading period. You can use due dates with the Retention Center to generate an alert if a test or assignment is not submitted on time. To learn more, see Retention Center. Due dates you assign also appear on the course calendar.
  10. Select the Options:
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Click Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Click Yes to display the column to students in My Grades.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Click Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.

    When editing the Grade Center column for a test, the options to Include this Column in Other Grade Center Calculations and Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades are not available if you select the option to Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor and the Grade Center on the Test Options page.

  11. Click Submit.