Returning and Calculating Marks

In this section, we will be focusing on the return of Provisional marks and Final marks.

Provisional marks can be released to your students via Blackboard. These marks are between the instructor and the student.  They can be released as a number or a letter grade, and you can calculate these using grade schemas.

Final marks are entered and then extracted by you to the Student Information System.

We will also look at the process for returning marks for visiting and 2nd sitting students.

It is still possible to use Excel in your marking process   

Provisional Marks

These marks are between the instructor and the student.  They can be released as a number or a letter grade, and you can calculate these using grade schemas.

By default, the Provisional mark column is set to display as an external grade as evidenced in the green tick beside the title.  This means that when released, students can access this grade on their Blackboard home page or via the mobile app Bb Student.  

Provisional results can be entered manually, or via Excel, which will be covered on page 23. In this column, you can enter a numerical grade or a letter grade.  This will depend on practices in your school or college.  Once the marks are satisfactorily entered, you can release them to students by showing the column to your students using the following steps.

You can also use Grading Schemas in your Provisional column to modify how your students see their grades. This can be useful for displaying letter grades.

  • If the Provisional column is hidden from students, you must take steps to display it. Simply click on the chevron beside its name, and click Edit Column Information.
  • In this view, scroll down to Options and choose Yes beside Show this Column to Students.
  • Click Submit and when you are returned to the Full Grade Centre, you will see that the column is no longer hidden as the pink stroke has disappeared.
  • It will now appear to students in the My Grades area. 

Using Grading Schemas

The Grading Schemas tool can assist you in automatically aligning a letter grade with your already calculated numeric grade.

  • Go to Manage > Grading Schemas
  • There is a default schema present in each module.  If you wish to create your own, choose to Create Grading Schema.
  • Now you can name your Schema and choose your options.  In this case, we have chosen three bands:
    • Under 40% = Fail
    • 40% - 60% = Pass
    • Over 60% = Honours

Click Submit and your schema will appear and a success message will be displayed.

To apply this Grade Schema to a column, go to the column and choose to Edit Column Information:

The options for this form are as follows:

  1. The Primary Display is what is shown to students.
  2. The Secondary Display is an additional field that is only visible to instructors within the Grade Centre.
  3. The Points Possible is the number originally set and should not be changed.

Weighted Column

Adding a weighted column can be used to calculate from existing columns in your Blackboard Grade Centre.

A weighted column will prove to be useful if you would like to complete calculations in the Grade Centre using existing columns.  In the example below, the columns to be calculated are Essay and Exam.  In this case, marking might be completed on Blackboard on assignments submitted via Blackboard Assignments or Turnitin.  You can also enter grades manually to columns in this case of a paper-based exam.

Once all the columns are present in your Grade Centre, you can edit the column to include the correct weightings.

You will be brought to a new window where you will see the available columns that you can now select and drag over to the area on the right to set your weightings.

Now you can enter the percentage weighting of each column.  Your Total Weight must equal 100%, hence the need to have all your columns ready, even if no marks are in them yet.

As you can see below, weightings have been applied to each column and the Total Weight is now correctly set at 100%.  You would not be allowed to submit and move on from this window if the calculation did not equal 100%.  Please note that the default setting is to calculate marks as a running total.  This should be set to “No” so that missing work would correctly affect the overall grade.

Once you have set up all your columns, you can add your grades and the column will calculate accordingly.  

 Please remember that only numbers can be included and this column cannot be edited.

Also note that this column cannot be used to return marks. This can only be completed through the Final Mark column by manually entering marks of uploading from Excel.

Final Marks

Final marks should be returned in modules.   

The Final Mark column that appears in your modules is in place for the extraction of results.  A mark between 0 – 100 or INC can be included in this column. This is the only column that will extract marks; the use of any other column in its place will be ignored.

These results should remain hidden from students.  Once you have either manually entered or uploaded these marks, they can then be approved and transferred. 

You can return marks as many times as you like up until the deadline. You can extract marks as many times as you like.  Only the last extraction, prior to the deadline, will appear on the Student Information System.

As this is a default column that is automatically included in your grade centre, it is strongly advised that you not rename, hide or delete it.  If you modify the column settings, marks returned will not be accepted into the SIS (Quercus).

Course instances (i.e. 5BBS1) are not Blackboard modules; they are the parent programme Blackboard space, and do not have a Final Mark column.

Mark Approval and Transfer

Go to Manage at the top of the Full Grade Centre and choose Mark Approval and Transfer

You can now choose to Perform Extract

You will then receive a notice that this has been done successfully

You can also check the log of extracts that have been completed by revisiting the Mark Approval and Transfer