Skip to main content
pdf?stylesheet=default
Blackboard Help

Grade Columns

Your institution controls which tools are available in the Original Course View. The gradebook is always available to instructors in the Ultra Course View.

Three types of columns

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about types of items in the gradebook.

In the Grade Center, three types of columns appear: user, calculated, and grade. Each column has a menu with options. The options that appear vary depending on the type of column.

When you create or edit columns, you can select settings to display the data you want in the Grade Center. You also can hide and show columns, associate columns with categories and grading periods, and rearrange columns.

More on calculated columns


About user columns

In a new course, six default user columns appear in the Grade Center grid:

  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Username
  • Student ID
  • Last Access
  • Availability

You can't delete or edit default user columns. You can hide all but the first user column in the grid. If you need to hide the first column, you can rearrange the user columns on the Column Organization page. But, at least one user column must show. You can also freeze user columns so that they remain in place as you scroll in the grid.

On the Users page, you can make a user unavailable. In the Grade Center, the User Unavailable icon appears in an unavailable user's column. However, the user's row isn't hidden in the grid. Unavailable users can't access your course.

To sort a column, select the column heading. For example, you can sort the Last Access column. Users who accessed your course most recently appear first in the list. The sorted list remains in effect until you change it or log out.


External grade column

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about the overall grade.

The results in the external grade column are shared with your institution as your students' grades for your course. You decide which column is set as the external grade. In new courses, the default total column is the default external grade column, and the External Grade icon appears in the column header. You can't delete the default total column until you set another column as the external grade.

To set the external grade, access a column's menu and select Set as External Grade. The External Grade icon appears in the column header you chose and no icon appears in the default total column header.

If you copy or restore a course, the external grade column you chose remains as the external grade column.


Menu options

Each column's menu displays options that are specific for that column.

Example: Hide columns

Use the options in a column's menu to hide a column from your view in the grid or from students' My Grades pages. When you hide a column from your students, you still see it in the grid.

Example: Edit column names

In the Grade Center, you can't change the Item Name of columns created automatically for gradable items, such as tests and assignments. You can edit the name of a gradable item in your course and the name will change in the Grade Center.

On the Edit Column page for auto-created columns, you can type a different name in the Grade Center Name box. The name you provide appears on students' My Grades pages and in the Grade Center grid. But, the name of the item in your course isn't changed. Students may be confused when the names in My Grades and the names for gradable items in the course don't match.

More about accessing column menus with JAWS


Automatically created grade columns

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about automatically created grade items.

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, and associate it with a rubric and grading period. You can also determine if students will see the results in My Grades, and include or exclude the column in calculations.

When students submit work that is ready for you to grade, a Needs Grading icon appears in their cells.

  • Assignments: You can deliver assignments to individuals or groups.
  • Surveys: Surveys are scored automatically by the system. When a student completes a survey, a Completed icon appears in the student’s cell. To view survey results, access the column’s menu and select Attempts Statistics. You can view the percentage of students who selected each answer. You can't 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. If you create a test that contains questions that you need to score manually, such as Essays, the Needs Grading icon appears in students' cells. 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. 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.

Manually created grade columns

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about manually created grade items.

You can create grade columns for activities that took place outside of class, such as a science fair or a juried art show. Or, you may assign credit for participation or attendance at an event. For manually added items, no submissions exist. The column is populated when you assign the grades.

More on creating average columns with JAWS

  1. In the Grade Center, select Create Column.
  2. On the Create Grade Column page, type a brief name and an optional description. The name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages. If the name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, add a shorter name in the Grade Center Name box. Only the first 14-15 characters appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid.
  3. Make a selection in the Primary Display menu. The selection is the grade format shown in the Grade Center and to students in My Grades. If you created custom grading schemas, they appear in the list. Five default options appear:
    • Score: A numeric grade is the default setting. If you don't make a selection, the score appears in the grid.
    • Letter: A letter grade appears. 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 and associate a text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor -OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If no text grading schema exists, and you select the Text option, you can type text in the column’s cells. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they see the text values for their grades.

      You can convert a numeric score to text. But, if you don't create a custom text grading schema, and return to numeric scoring, values that can't be converted display a zero after conversion. If you want to include text as grades, we recommend that you create a text grading schema and associate it with the appropriate columns.

    • Percentage: A percentage appears. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%.
    • Complete/Incomplete: When a student submits an item, a Completed icon appears in the column regardless of the score achieved.
  4. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display menu. The default setting is None. In the Grade Center column, the secondary value appears in parentheses. The secondary value doesn't appear to students.
  5. Optionally, you can associate the column with a category. The default setting is No Category. Use categories to filter Grade Center data, create smart views, and create calculated columns.
  6. In the Points Possible box, type the total points. Entries must be numeric.
  7. If grading periods exist, you can associate the column with a grading period. If no grading periods exist, the menu doesn't appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  8. Optionally, provide a Due Date. You can use due dates with the Retention Center to generate an alert if a test or assignment isn't submitted on time. Due dates also appear on the course calendar.
  9. Select the Options:
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Select Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Select Yes to display the column to students in My Grades.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Select Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.

    When you edit 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 may not be available. The options are unavailable if you selected the option to Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor and the Grade Center on the Test Options page.

  10. Select Submit.

ULTRA: Types of items in the gradebook

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about the types of columns.

The gradebook is populated with students when they are enrolled in your course. You'll see all the coursework that is specific to the course you're in. You can grade coursework, manage items, and post grades.

The item list is your default view of the course gradebook. You can view all the coursework you've assigned and your grading progress. You can also access all management functions.

The student grid shows the scores students have earned. You can begin grading and manage items.


ULTRA: Overall grade

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about the external grade column.

In the item list or student grid view, you can set up the overall grade. The overall grade is a calculated item that you build to show students a running tally of all the items that you grade and post. Presently, you can add an overall grade that's based on the average of the variables you include, such as categories and graded items.

You can show the overall grade to students so that they can view performance results, or keep it hidden for your use only.

Select Set it up to create a gradebook column for the overall grade. On the page that appears, you can configure how the overall grade is calculated.

To get started, choose between Gradebook item weights or Gradebook category weights in Overall Grade Settings. The course content list changes based on your selection, and you can begin assigning grade percentage weights. If you use category weights to calculate the overall grade, you can expand a category to see the graded items included.

Create and manage gradebook categories

Type an overall grade percentage for each item or category in the gradebook to give them more weight in the student's grade. The total for all overall grade percentage fields must equal 100%.

To make items or categories exempt from the overall grade, select the Exempt icon next to the overall grade percentage field. The item or category will turn grey to indicate that it's not included in the calculation. Select the icon again to include it in the calculation again.

Select Save when you're done. The Overall Grade column appears in the gradebook next to the student's names so you can quickly see how each student is doing.

Override the overall grade

You can override a student's overall grade if their performance or participation doesn't fit the course's grade schema.

To override a grade, select the grade cell in a student's Overall Grade column. Type in a new value, or select an option. You can override the grade with a grade notation, which can be useful if a student is unable to complete the course or otherwise doesn't meet requirements for completion. Grade notations can include Incomplete, Withdrawal, and others. You can create and manage overall grade notations in the Gradebook Settings.

If you want to remove an override, select the student's overall grade cell and select Undo Override. The student's overall grade will revert back to the calculation you set up for the course.

What do students see?

The student and instructor view of the overall grade will change as you create and grade course content that is included in the overall grade calculation.

An item's visibility doesn't affect the overall grade. However, students can only see posted grades, so a student's view of the overall grade only includes grades that have been posted also. An instructor's view of the overall grade includes all grades, whether or not they have been posted. In some cases, you might see a different overall grade than your students see.

More on the student view of the overall grade


ULTRA: Automatically created grade items

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about automatically created grade columns.

When you create a gradable item in your course, a gradebook item is created automatically. If you want to rename it or change student access, select the title in the gradebook.


ULTRA: Manually created grade items

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about manually created grade columns.

You can create grade items for activities that took place outside of class, such as a science fair or a juried art show. Or, you may assign credit for participation or attendance at an event. These grade items are also called manual grades, manually added items, or offline items.

For manually added items, no submissions exist. You assign scores and feedback on the student list page. Manually added items with scores are posted immediately. If you made the item visible to students, they can see their grades.

In your course gradebook, you can add a new item in the item list or student grid view.

  1. Select the plus sign wherever you want to add an item and select Add Item.
  2. In the panel, type a title. The title has a limit of 255 characters.
  3. Optionally, make the item visible to students.
  4. Provide the details, such as a grade unit and a description. A due date is optional.
  5. Optionally, add the new item to a category to use when you create calculations.

You can only choose a grade unit that has a grading schema associated it with it. For example, you can't use Text as the grade unit until text grading schemas are available in the Ultra Course View. After you start grading, you can't change the grade unit.

What do students see?

After you make a manually added item visible to students, they see it on their global and course grades pages—with or without a grade.

When you assign a grade, students are notified in their activity streams.