Grade center set-up

The Blackboard Grade Center is a customizable grade tracking tool that can be set up to automatically calculate students’ overall grades. Investing time up front to ensure it is set-up correctly can save instructors time in the long run.

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Follow the steps below to set-up your grade center:

Determine “calculated column” type to use

“Calculated” columns combine data from multiple columns for an overall grade. The Grade Center includes two calculated columns by default: Weighted Total and Total.

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  • Weighted Total - Calculates overall performance out of 100%, based on the assignment of % weights granted to categories and/or individual columns. Example: Final grade is 40% test grades, 20% quiz grades, 40% final paper
  • Total - Calculates overall performance based on points earned (e.g. 150 earned out of 200 available). Example: Final grade is based out of 300 points - 100 points from test grades, 100 points from participation, and 100 points from an essay.

Set selected calculated column as external grade

The column with the green checkmark indicates the final grade data that will auto-populate in the ILP grade submission tool for submission to WedAdvisor. Adjust this by choosing “Set as External Grade” from the options list from the selected column.

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Instructors may want to delete or hide the calculated column that doesn’t apply to their course to limit potential confusion.

Set-up/review automatically generated columns

Utilizing certain Blackboard tools in a course will automatically generate a column in the grade center for assessment. These include:

  • Assignments
  • Discussion boards (when grading setting is selected)
  • Tests
  • Attendance
  • Blogs (when grading setting is selected)
  • Journals (when grading setting is selected)
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When setting up your course, it may be helpful to initially create all assignments and tests up front, even if they’re incomplete, so that columns are created and students have a full picture of how they will be assessed in the grade center. The assessments themselves can be hidden from students until they’re ready and edited/completed later on.

Add columns for items not completed in Blackboard

From the Full Grade Center, select “Create Column.”

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Add a “Column Name” and designate the total number of “Points Possible” (required fields). Review optional fields to use, then click “Submit” when satisfied.

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Set-up weighted grading (only if using Weighted Total column)

Select “Edit Column Information” from the “Weighted Total” menu.

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Designate the % weights for columns and/or categories.

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Adjust any options if desired, then click “Submit.”

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Tips for using categories

  • Confirm each column is assigned to the correct category.
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  • There are 8 default categories, but custom categories can also be created under Full Grade Center > Manage > Categories > Create Category.

Review/update the grading schema

Each course defaults to the “Letter” Grading schema. If the default values do not match your course’s grading scale, edit the existing values or create a new grading schema entirely. Verifying the grading schema matches your grading scale will prevent having to make manual adjustments when submitting final grades via the ILP.

From the Full Grade Center, select “Manage” and then “Grading Schemas.”

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Selection the options arrow next to “Letter,” then choose “Edit.”

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Adjust grade values as necessary, then click “Submit” to apply the changes.

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Verify using “Student Preview” (optional, but recommended for weighted grading)

Student Preview mode can be used to test and verify that the overall weighted grade is calculating as expected.

Enter student preview mode by clicking the icon on the top right of the Full Grade Center.

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Orange Banner will indicate that you have entered “Student Preview Mode.” Click “Exit Preview” to reveal the “Exit Student Preview” options. Select “Keep the preview user and all data” then click “Continue.”

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This has created a temporary Preview user with your last name (e.g. Cook_PreviewUser) in your gradebook. Add grades for your Preview User to verify the weighted total column is calculating as you’d expect.

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When testing is complete, remove the Student Preview data by entering Student Preview mode again, selecting “Exit Preview,” and choosing the first option to “Delete the preview user and all data.”

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