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Blackboard Help

Grade Tests

Your institution controls which tools are available in the Original Course View. Tests are always available to instructors in the Ultra Course View, but anonymously submitted surveys aren't supported at this time.

Access tests to grade

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about accessing tests.

You access tests that need grading on the Needs Grading page or in the Grade Center.

A Grade Center column is created automatically for each test you create and link in your course. A test that has been submitted, but not graded, is indicated with the Needs Grading icon. Although the system scores many question types, you must grade some questions manually such as Essays, Short Answer, and File Response.

You have the options to grade tests anonymously, to grade all responses to a specific question, and to give full credit for all responses to a question. You can also delete questions from a test or clear a test attempt to allow a student to retake a test.

Send reminders about missing coursework

You can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if you assigned one.

More on sending reminders

Assign test grades on the Needs Grading page

For courses with many enrolled students and gradable items, the Needs Grading page can help you determine which tests need grading first.

Tests in progress don't appear on the Needs Grading page.

For example, you can sort by the due date so that your final tests are graded before your institution's deadline. If you have a designated turnaround schedule set for all gradable items, you can customize the view of items with a Needs Grading status. You can sort and filter the list and grade the most urgent tests first.

Control Panel > Grade Center section > Needs Grading page

More on the Needs Grading page

Assign test grades in the Grade Center

The Grade Center shows all gradable items. The number of items may influence how you organize your time for grading tasks. You may also find it beneficial to view a student's previous grades as you grade.

Access the Grade Center:

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Grade Center section.
  2. Select Full Grade Center or the Tests smart view, if available, to access test attempts.

Grade a single test:

  1. Locate the cell for a student’s test with the Needs Grading icon.
  2. Access the cell's menu and select Attempt. The Grade Test page appears.

Grade all attempts for one test:

  1. Access the test column's menu.
  2. Select Grade Attempts. The Grade Test page appears.

More on assigning grades in the Grade Center

Grade Test page

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about the test page.

On the Grade Test page, you can navigate among students and attempts, view rubrics, grade anonymously, and view information about a test.

Expand the Test Information link to view the status, instructions, and pertinent date and times. You can clear a test attempt so that a student can submit the test again. You can also submit a test that is in progress so that you can grade it.

If a test has questions that you need to assign scores for, the test status is Needs Grading and the Attempt Score is 0.

  1. On the Grade Test page, type a score for each question that isn't graded automatically. You can also change existing scores.
  2. Optionally, if you associated a rubric with Essay, Short Answer, or File Response questions, select View Rubric to grade the question with the rubric.
  3. Optionally, add Response Feedback specific to the individual question. The Response Feedback box only appears for certain question types, such as Essays.
  4. Optionally, type comments in the Feedback to Learner box.
  5. Optionally, type comments in the Grading Notes box. This text is not seen by students.
  6. Select Save and Exit to return to the Full Grade Center, the Needs Grading page, or the Grade Details page, based on where grading began.


    Select Save and Next to display the next student, if available.


    Use the arrows to navigate to the previous or next student, if available.

If you allowed multiple attempts for a test, a student's grade isn't released until you have graded all of the attempts.

Grade tests with student names hidden

When you grade tests, you have can hide user names any time during the grading process to eliminate grading bias for high-stake tests.

Grading anonymously adds another layer of fairness and impartiality. You won't know who made the submission, so you aren't unduly influenced by a student's previous performance, class participation, conflicts, race, gender, or perceived student aptitude. This practice can also contribute to the student-instructor relationship because students are assured that grading was unbiased.

When you grade anonymously, all identifying information is hidden and test attempts appear in random order. Each student is assigned a number, such as Student 8.

Access the Needs Grading page:

  1. Access a test attempt's menu.
  2. Select Grade with User Names Hidden. The Grade Test page appears.

Access the Grade Center:

  1. Access the test column heading's menu.
  2. Select Grade with User Names Hidden. The Grade Test page appears.

Start from the Grade Test page:

  1. Select Hide User Names.
  2. Select OK. If grading was in progress, any unsaved changes to the open attempt are lost. The Grade Test page refreshes, a new attempt appears, and all identifying information is hidden.

Grade tests by question

For each test, you can choose to grade all responses to a specific question. You can move through submissions, and view and score the same question for each student. You can save time as you concentrate only on the answers submitted for one question. You can see how all students responded, and provide immediate feedback about how the group performed on that particular question. Also, you can grade by question when you want to revisit a question that requires a score adjustment for all or many students.

At the same time, you can grade questions with student names hidden. All test attempts remain in Needs Grading status until you've graded all of the responses for all of the questions.

  1. In the Grade Center, access a test column's menu and select Grade Questions.


    On the Needs Grading page, access a test's menu and select Grade by Question.

  2. On the Grade Questions page, you can filter the questions by status: Graded, Needs Grading, or In Progress. You may also select the check box for Grade with User Names Hidden, if needed.
  3. For each question, select the number in the Responses column.
  4. On the Grade Responses page, expand the Question Information link to view the question. If you didn't previously select anonymous grading, select Hide User Names. Select OK in the pop-up window.
  5. Select Edit next to the score for a student.
  6. Type a grade in the Score box. Optionally, add Response Feedback specific to the individual question. The feedback box only appears for certain question types, such as Essays. Select Submit.
  7. Optionally, if you associated a rubric with Essay, Short Answer, or File Response questions, select View Rubric to grade the question with the rubric.
  8. After grading all student responses, select Back to Questions to return to the Grade Questions page.

Give or remove full credit

You can Give Full Credit for all test submissions for the question you are viewing. Subsequent submissions are given full credit as well. After you give full credit, you can Remove Full Credit to revert to the automatic grade or to a previously assigned manual grade.

  1. Follow steps 1-3 in the preceding section to access the Grade Responses page.
  2. Expand the Question Information link to view the question. If you didn't previously select anonymous grading, select Hide User Names. Select OK in the pop-up window.
  3. Select Give Full Credit to assign full credit for the question -OR- Remove Full Credit.
  4. Select Back to Questions to return to the Grade Questions page.

Delete or change the value of questions

On the Test or Survey Canvas, you can add, edit, and delete questions. You can also add question sets or random blocks, reorder questions, and edit a test or survey's information before students make submissions.

After a test has submissions, you can't add a question, modify the number of questions in a question set, or change a random block definition or options.

Even after you deploy a test or survey and students make submissions, you can delete questions. All affected test submissions are regraded and all affected survey results are updated. The question numbers update automatically. If test submissions exist and you delete a question, the question is removed from the test, along with any possible points earned. Test attempts are regraded as if the question wasn't included in the test.

More on editing and deleting questions

ULTRA: Where do I start grading?

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about accessing tests.

You can choose where you want to start grading!

Want to see how many tests are ready to grade in all your courses? In the list where your name appears first, you have immediate access to all your courses' grading tasks on the global Grades page. All your grading tasks are organized by course. You can quickly scan your progress, set priorities across the board, and even begin grading. No need to navigate to each course to see what's ready for grading.

The page only displays information if you need to take action. You see tests that are ready to grade or which tests are overdue for how many students.

Want to narrow your focus? In a course, you can access the course gradebook on the navigation bar. You can see who has made submissions and start grading.

From the activity stream, you're alerted when student submissions are ready for grading. Select the link to go to the gradebook. Or, select a test on the Course Content page to see how many students have made submissions.

ULTRA: Start grading from a test

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about the Grade Test page.

When you access a test, the Content and Settings page displays the questions and settings, such as the due date and maximum score. Select the Test Settings icon to make changes. For example, you can change the grading schema at any time and the change will show to students and in your gradebook.

Keep up with the conversation. If you allowed conversations about this test, select the speech bubble icon to see what students are saying. You can add to the conversation also. These conversations stay with the test, and you can access them on this page or from the test submissions page.

Select the Delete icon to remove anyone's conversation contribution. Students can delete their own contributions, but no one is allowed to make edits.

More on test conversations

Check how many need grading. You can see how many students have completed the test in the Submissions link.

ULTRA: Test submissions list page

Keep track of everything on one page. Check who has made submissions and which aren't graded. Late submissions are also listed. The Post Grades column shows which grades are ready to post. You can also select the speech bubble icon to see what students are saying.

Access the details. Review the test instructions and settings at any time. Select the Content and Settings link to return to the test page.

Start grading. Select student names to access their individual submissions, assign grades, and provide feedback.

You can also assign grades directly on this page. Grades you assign manually in the gradebook are override grades. The Override label appears next to the grade pill. After you assign a value, click anywhere outside the grade area to save.

ULTRA: Student's submission page

Access student submissions from the test submissions list page.

Review student work. Students answers appear for each question. They can't format with HTML code or add files to an individual question at this time. However, students can add comments and files to the end of their tests.

See a count of how many you've graded. As you grade each submission and move on to the next one, you can view your progress in the upper-right corner.

Navigate to other submissions. Use the arrows to move to another submission ready for grading.

View the rubric. If you associated a rubric with this test, select the rubric icon within the empty grade pill to view the criteria. The screen adjusts so you can view the student's submission alongside the rubric.

More on grading with rubrics

Grade, provide feedback, and post. Assign points for each question. You can use up to two decimal places. Click anywhere outside the grade pill to save. When you've finished, the total appears at the top of the test. A test's score consists of the sum total of all the questions' points.

Next to the test's grade pill, select the More options icon to access the options. Add a note with suggestions, encouragement, and overall feedback about the submission. Post the grade or delete the submission so that the student can try again.

Post now or later. You can post grades and feedback for students to see as you grade each submission. Post also appears next to each grade that you haven't released on the submissions list page. You can choose which grades to post and when.

What do students see? After you grade tests and post the results, students can view their scores on their grades pages or in the activity stream. They can also access the test, their submissions, your feedback, and their grades from the Course Content page.

More on the activity stream

View student comments and files

You might ask students to provide citations for essay questions, include lab work, or prepare content ahead of the test. They can also add comments about their work. If your students added content for you to view with their tests, it appears at the end of the submission. For files, select the More options icon to access the menu and select Download File.


ULTRA: Grade a group test

After a group submits a test, you can start grading in multiple places: from the Grades page, the Course Content page, or the gradebook. Assign the same grade to the whole group, or grade each team member's contribution separately in case not everyone contributed equally. Keep in mind that you can't change grade settings or group membership after you've started grading.

Assign a different grade to group members

By default, a grade for a group test is the same for all group members. However, you can change an individual group member's grade if you feel their contribution earned a grade different from the group.

In the Submission view, you can assign a grade for the whole group. Type a value in the Grade column. Or, you can assign a grade to a single group member.

To assign a different grade to an individual in a group, expand the group list and type a value in the Grade cell next to the student's name. The overall group's grade is shown as In Progress. The Post grades option doesn't appear because some students don't yet have grades for the test.

Similarly, after you assign a grade to the overall group, you can edit a group member's individual grade. Expand the list of group members, select within a student's grade cell, and change the grade. The overall group's grade is shown as Multiple.

You can also assign different grades in the gradebook grid view. Select a group member's cell and all other group members are highlighted in the grid. Edit a group member's grade as needed. You have the option to apply this edited grade to everyone in the group.

When you're finished grading, post the grades so students can see what they've earned.

ULTRA: Grade a test with multiple attempts

When you create a test, you can choose to let students submit more than one attempt. Multiple attempts change how the test's final grade is automatically calculated. Grading options include:

  • Average of all attempts
  • First graded attempt
  • Highest graded attempt
  • Last graded attempt
  • Lowest graded attempt

No matter which option you choose in Grade Attempts, you have the option to override the final grade.

If you associated a rubric with the test, you can only override the final grade, not the grades for each attempt.

View individual attempts

You can start grading a test with multiple attempts from the same places you would grade an ordinary test: From the activity stream, the gradebook, or within the test itself. When you select a student's name, a panel appears that displays each attempt, along with the date it was submitted. Select an attempt to view the submission. You can add a grade and comments for individual attempts. If you used a rubric or questions that are automatically scored, the grade may already exist for the attempt.

Final grades

The final grade for a multiple attempt test is calculated according to the Grade Attempts setting you chose in the Test Settings. On the panel that lists a student's attempts, the final grade appears when the needed attempts are graded. For example, if the final grade is calculated based on the highest graded attempt, the final grade will appear immediately after at least one attempt is graded, but it may change as you continue grading more attempts.

After you have finished grading the attempts, you can post the final grade to the student's gradebook.

What do students see?

Tests with multiple attempts list the number of attempts allowed, as well as how the final grade is calculated. Students view this information on the Details & Information page before they begin. When grades are posted, students can view grades for each of their attempts, as well as the final grade. If you decide to override the final grade, a message appears to let the student know.

More on how students access tests in Blackboard Learn

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