Make Basic Edits to and Work in the Grade Center
About the Grade Center
The Grade Center contains student assessment submissions and other grading information for the course. Due to its flexibility, it can be complicated to learn how to manage, so it is strongly suggested that you spend some time working in this area of your course.
The Grade Center includes a row for each student and columns for informational items (name, last access date, etc.), assessments (tests, assignments, graded discussions, etc.), and total columns. The instructor can retrieve student submissions from the Grade Center and apply comments and file attachments, which students can view.
There are many options for viewing your Grade Center (filters and ordering tools). You can hide and show columns, reorder columns, create grade reports and much more.
Before your course starts, it is important for you to verify that your Grade Center is set up correctly. Are all graded items included? Are the columns properly organized? If you use grade weighting, is weighting set up correctly?
The tutorials below will introduce you to some basics about the Grade Center:
- Getting Started with the Grade Center (.pdf)
This document is a quickstart guide for the Grade Center.
- Grade Center Overview (CFCC movie, 3:53)
This video provides a brief overview of the Grade Center.
- Customizing the Grade Center View (movie, 1:54)
Learn how to show and hide grade center columns.
- Viewing Grade Details (movie, 2:09)
The following short tutorials will introduce you to some Grade Center tools to help you manage and download grades:
- Managing Grade Attempts (pdf)
This tutorial explains how to manage assessment attempts (view details, clear attempt, delete, etc.)
- Creating a Grade Report (movie, 2:43)
Learn how to extract specific information from the GC to produce reports (one page for each student).
- Viewing and Downloading Grade History (movie, 1:32)
Learn how to download grade history, including student and instructor interactions. This report results in a table that can be reordered by clicking on column headings.
Important: If you use grade weighting (usually means that a certain percentage out of 100 is given to categories of items), read the Weighting Grades section under Supplemental Information.
After completing the activities below, move to the next item for your selected training.
Activities to Complete
At this point in the instruction, you should have created several items that placed corresponding grade columns in the Grade Center:
- Graded Discussion
- Graded Blog
- Graded Wiki
Navigate to the Grade Center by selecting Full Grade Center under the Grade Center section in the Control Panel. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the Grade Center and locate these three items.
Also make note of the buttons available above the spreadsheet. Feel free to explore these.
Now that you are familiar with the Grade Center interface, you will 1) hide a column from students, 2) move grade columns, 3) grade an assignment and 4) edit an existing assignment column.
After you complete these activities, move to the next item.
Depending on the type of column, you will have a number of menu options. There might be times when you want to hide a column from students, but not from yourself. Note that there is a difference between Show/Hide to Users and Hide Column (which hides the column from your view, but will still show to students unless you opted to Hide from Users).
Important: Please note the difference between hiding a column from users and hiding a column from your view. You can do either or both. The Show/Hide to Users option hides the column from students and results in a circle with pink slash on the column header. The instructor can still view the column. The Hide Column option hides the column from the instructor, but students can still view the column unless it has also been hidden from users. If you choose the Hide Column option, and wish to show it at a later time, you must enter Column Organization under the Manage button and select to Show the column.
Select to hide the column from users:
- Click the chevron arrows on the Assignment column (for the assignment you created earlier)
- Select Show/Hide to Users (you will see a circle with slash icon when the column is hidden from users)
2. Move grade columns
You will likely have a need to reorganize your Grade Center columns from time to time. This is easily accomplished by entering the column organization feature in the Grade Center.
- Click on the Manage button and select Column Organization.
- Drag and drop the graded items that you created, using the four-headed arrows (hold down to drag and release to drop), to result in the following order (from top to bottom): Graded Discussion, Assignment, Blog, Wiki, and Quiz.
- Click the Submit Button to save the changes.
3. Grade an Assignment and Add Comments
Before you are able to complete this activity as an instructor, you must first login with your Test Student account (see Use Control Panel) to complete the assignment you created earlier (see Add Assignment).
Note: Students cannot view courses that are unavailable. Make sure the course is made availabile first. As the instructor, navigate to the Properties under Customization in the Control Panel. Under the section called Set Availability, make sure Yes is selected. If not, select this option and click the submit button to save the change.
After submitting the assignment as a test student, login as Instructor and complete the following steps:
- Navigate to the full grade center in the Control Panel.
- Locate the cell corresponding to the row for your Test Student and the Assignment column.
- Click the chevron arrow in that cell and select View Grade Details.
- Select the View Attempt button.
- Enter a score in the text area next to Grade.
- Enter written feedback in the text editor under Feedback to User.
- Scroll down to view the button where you can attach files (rubrics, marked up documents, etc.).
- Scroll down to view the Instructor Notes area, where you can enter notes to yourself (student cannot view).
- Click the Submit button when you are finished.
- Note, when you return to Grade Details panel, that you can easily scroll to the next student's submission for this activity or the next activity for this student.
- Navigate to the main Grade Center to view the changes.
4. Edit Existing Total Column
You can easily edit Grade Center columns for features such as name, points possible, display (score, percentage, schema, etc.), and other settings.
You should be aware that there are different types of columns in Blackboard. The calculated columns are special columns that either add total points or are used for weighted grades or other calculations.
For this activity, follow the instructions below to make edits to the TOTAL column:
- Click the chevron arrow next to the column heading of the Total column and select "Edit Column Information".
- Change the Grade Center Display Name to "NewTotal".
- Change the Primary Display to "Score".
- Change the Secondary Display to the "Percentage".
Note that you can also set a display to show a Grading Schema, such as "CFCC Standard", which is CFCC's default schema of 92-100=A, etc.
- Select "Yes" for Calculate as Running Total.
Note: If the column is calculated as a running total, only the items that have been graded or submitted will count (gives a more realistic up-to-date standing in the class for the percentage). When using this option, you must assign a zero for items not attempted, or the item will not count in the calculation (results in excused absence).
On the other hand, if you do not use the running total, the resulting total percentage assumes that all items should have been completed at any given time (calculates a zero for items without a grade), so the student does not have realistic view of what their current standing is (until the end of the semester).
- Click the Submit button to save the changes.
While not required viewing/reading for the activity in this section, you might find these links useful for future course development.
- Grade Center Check document (pdf)
Use this document to help determine if your Grade Center is prepared for the first day of class (all items included, weighting and grading schemas are correct)
- How to Add Extra Credit (PDF)
Learn how to add an extra credit item to your course (this method applies if NOT using grade weighting).
- Creating Smart Views (movie, 3:27)
Learn how to create special views of the Grade Center to allow you to pull up a subset of the GC (i.e. tests, users who have completed certain activities or earned a certain score).
Some instructors choose to weight grades rather than use absolute point values. Weighting can be done either by columns (create weighted column and assign each column a weighted percentage) or by categories. Categories are generally used and this is a three step process in Blackboard 9.1. You must 1) make sure all required categories exist and remove duplicates, 2) assign categories with appropriate weights to weighted total column, and 3) assign each graded item column to the proper category.
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