Organising Your Grade Centre Columns

This article will describe how you can organise your grade center, and use it to calculate your final or provisional marks.

Organising Columns

  • If you like to reorganise your columns, there is an option to do so under Manage > Column Organisation:
  • This area will allow you to drag and drop columns around to your liking.  It is not advised that you use the Total column as its calculations derive from the adding of all columns.

You can use this information to better organise your Grade Centre in two ways.

(a) Organising the Full Grade Centre by Course Instance

  • For a small class, you can organise the Grade Centre using the Course Instance column by simply clicking on the column name. 
  • This will reorganise the class list by course instance rather than surname.
  • In this instance, a student without an associated course instance code is present, and their registration should be checked. 

(b) Creating Smart Views

For organising larger classes, there is an option to create Smart Views that can separate students into smaller groups based on their course instance code.  This could come in useful for returning marks for international students, or in modules with a variety of course instance codes. 

  • In the Full Grade Centre, go to Manage > Smart Views
  • Click on Create Smart View
  • In the Create Smart View area, follow these instructions before clicking Submit:
  • Once created, the Smart View will appear as under the Full Grade Centre area in your menu
  • This area can now be accessed similarly to your Full Grade Centre.  You can input marks and download the new area in Excel.  

Automatically Generated Columns

When instructors create an assessment, for instance, an assignment or MCQ, they will often select the option to have that assessment appear in the Blackboard Grade Centre. While these columns can be used to release grades to students or for record keeping, they can also be used to help calculate Provisional and Final Marks. If you would like to move straight on to Calculated Columns.

It is not advised that you rename or delete any default columns.  

Create Column

You might choose to create a standard column to include assignments in the Grade Centre that take place outside of Blackboard.  These might include paper-based exams, presentations or lab reports. 

  • You can create a standard column in the Grade Centre by clicking on Create Column.
  • You can then name and select the appropriate settings for this column.  After you submit, the column will appear at the end of your Grade Centre.

Standard columns will require grades to be entered manually.  The most fitting uses for these columns might be to enter the results of a paper-based exam or to include the results from a presentation.    

See for the full Blackboard manual on using the GradeCenter.

Using Your Own Columns

If you have using Blackboard for students to submit assignments or complete tests, you may have columns in your grade centre that you would like to calculate your students’ marks. 

You might also wish to create a column to keep a record of marks, for instance a final exam that might be paper-based.  In this section, we will look at the types of columns available to you, and how to use them to calculate marks.

Creating a 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.