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Blackboard Help

Average Columns

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 tests or display the average grade for each student for a Grading Period.

Simple Average Formula

To find the average of all selected columns, the percentage is calculated to four decimal places. The percentage values for all selected columns are added together. The result is divided by the number of columns included in the calculation. The results display according to the Primary and Secondary Display options.

(Column 1%) + (Column 2%) + (Column 3%) + (Column 4%) = % earned divided by 4 columns = Average percentage score

Example:

Three values: 8/10, 3/5, 2/2

Percentage equivalents: 80.0000%, 60.0000%, 100.0000%

Total of the values: 240.0000

Number of items: 3

Total value divided by number of columns: 240.0000/3 = 80.00%

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

Average Column Combinations

The average column is a type of calculated column that displays the average for a selected number of columns. You can select which columns and categories are used in the calculation for an average column. For example, you can display the average for all assignments. You can change your selections at any time and the calculation updates automatically.

When you create an average column, you can include the following items:

  • All Grade Columns: Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
  • All Grade Columns in Grading Period: If grading periods exist, include only the grade columns associated with a grading period.
  • Selected Columns and Categories: Include specific grade columns and categories (and the associated columns).

Columns with text as the grade display are not included in an average column’s calculation. For example, if you set a grade column to display text, such as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, you cannot use it in calculations.

How to Create Average Columns

To delete a selection in the Selected Columns box, click the red X.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Create Calculated Column on the action bar and click Average Column.
  2. On the Create Average 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. To learn more, see the steps in How to Create Grade Columns.
  5. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list.
  6. If grading periods exist, you can associate an average 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.
  7. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the average column's calculation. The following table lists the options.
    Column Options
    Option Description
    All Grade Columns Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
    All Grade Columns in Grading Period Select a grading period from the drop-down list to include only those columns associated with the grading period in the calculation. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear.
    Selected Columns and Categories Select grade columns and categories individually.

    Select the columns in the Columns to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a column, you can view information about the column in the Column Information area below the Columns to Select box.

    A column that is set to No for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations does not appear in the selection list.

    For Windows, to select multiple items in a list, press the Shift key and click the first and last items. To select items out of sequence, press the Ctrl key and click each item needed. For Macs, press the Command key instead of the Ctrl key.

    Select the categories in the Categories to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a category, you can view which columns are included in the category in the Category Information area below the Categories to Select box. Other options appear after you move the category to the Selected Columns box:

    • If grading periods exist, make a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list.
    • Weight Columns allows you to select how to weigh columns within the category:
      • Click Equally to apply equal values to all columns within a category.
      • Click Proportionally to apply the appropriate value to a column based on its points compared to other columns in the category.
    • Drop Grades removes a number of either the highest or lowest grades for each category from the calculation. If you do not type numbers in the boxes, no grades are dropped.
    • Use only the Lowest -OR- Highest Value to Calculate removes all grades from the calculation except for the best or worst score.
  8. Calculate as Running Total: Click Yes to calculate as a running total. Running totals exempt cells that do not contain data. Click No to include all selected columns in the calculation, using a value of 0 if no grade exists. This can make grades appear artificially low.
  9. 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 on their My Grades pages.
    • 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.
  10. Click Submit.

Result

The new average column appears in the Grade Center grid.

You can change the column's settings at any time and change which columns are included. Once edited, the calculation updates automatically.

You are not allowed to type directly in an average column's cell to edit the calculated grade. Therefore, no contextual menu appears when you move your mouse pointer over an individual cell in an average column.

Image illustrating associated text

To keep an average column in view, despite the addition of other columns, move the column and freeze it on the Column Organization page. To learn more, see Organize Grade Center Data.