Blackboard: Using the Grade Centre

Every module has a Grade Center. The Grade Center is only visible to the instructor/marker roles within Blackboard.

It is a central area where students grades can be collected, exported and distributed to students. It can dynamically store MCQ test results and assignments. It allows you to calculate grades and to monitor students progress. You can decide which columns of grades to show students. Students can access this information by clicking on "My Grades" when they login to Blackboard.

It is important to note that the Blackboard Grade Centre and UCD's GradeBook are not connected therefore all grades collected within Blackboard Grade Center must be exported and imported into GradeBook. The letter grades in Blackboard match the UCD letter grades schema.

The Grade Center has diverse functionality and there is a large amount of supporting documentation available to you on the Blackboard website.

Three Key Areas:

Uploading / Downloading the Grade Centre

You can perform offline grading and import grades into the Grade Center. You can also upload grades from external sources such as an Excel spreadsheet or a Tab-delimited files. You must format data specifically to upload correctly and to synchronize with existing Grade Center data.

Best practice is to setup the Blackboard Grade Centre with the required columns then download the Grade Centre as comma-delimited files, edit this within Excel, save the file (as .csv) and then upload again into Blackboard.

Download the Grade Centre

You can download null or partial data from the Grade Center. Once downloaded, grades and comments accessed through the Quick Comment feature or Manual Override page can be changed and added offline and later uploaded to the Grade Center. After the file is downloaded and opened in the appropriate editing software, you can make changes. If you download the full Grade Center, you can change and add grades, and save the file for uploading. If you downloaded a single column, you can add or change grades and comments, and save the file for uploading.

  1. On the action bar, point to Work Offline and select Download.grade Centre external data
  2. Select the data to download
    Option Description
    Full Grade Center Contains all columns and associated data. Comments will not be included, and you cannot add them offline.
    Selected Grading Period From the drop-down list, select a grading period. You must create grading periods before they are chosen.
    Selected Column From the drop-down list, select one column and its data. Select the check box to Include comments for this Column, which will download comments from the Quick Comment feature or Manual Override page. You can edit included comment text offline.
    User information Columns containing student data such as username are included.
  4. Select the file delimiter, Comma or Tab (comma works well for .csv files).
  5. Select whether to Include Hidden Information in the downloaded data. Hidden information includes columns and students who have been hidden from the view in the downloaded file.
  6. Select the location for the download.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. On the next Download Grades page, click Download and save the file. Important: Do not change the file name while saving because the Grade Center needs the information it contains to deliver it to the appropriate column when uploading.

 Upload a File to the Grade Center

  1. On the action bar, point to Work Offline and select Upload.
  2. Browse for the file. Files are uploaded from your computer.
  3. Select the delimiter type: Comma, Tab, or Auto. Choosing Auto attempts to automatically detect the delimiter used in the selected file.
  4. Click Submit to upload the selected file.
  5. Review the list of data from the file to be uploaded on the Upload Grades Confirmation page. Clear the check boxes for any data to be excluded from the upload. Using this method, it is possible to upload only the columns of data you want from the file. Review the Data Preview column to be sure the correct data is being uploaded. Data that appears incorrectly can denote an improperly formatted file. The data preview will only show a sample of the data in each column in the file.
  6. Large files take significant time to process and a warning message appears for any files that need extra time to process. To avoid long processing times, break up large files into separate uploads.
  7. Click Submit to confirm and upload the file.

Any file you upload that contains an "Incomplete" for a grade entry will be set to null, with no grade or text displayed. Any file you upload that contains "Complete" for a grade entry will be set to an override grade of the maximum points possible (100% for a grade item) in a column that has the primary display of Complete/incomplete. Any file you upload that contains a numeric entry will be a numeric entry.

Setting the Grade Scheme

From within the Grade Centre click on the Grey arrow on the Column you wish to edit , then select Edit the Column information ,

  1. Make a selection in the Primary Display drop-down list. The selection is the grade format shown in the Grade Center and to students in My Grades. If you created any custom grading schemas, they appear in the list. Five default options appear:
    • Score: A numeric grade appears in the column. This is the default setting. If you do not make a selection, the score appears in the grid.
    • Letter: A letter grade appears in the column. (this is the UCD letter Grades)
    • Text: Text appears in the column when you create a custom text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor –OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If you create no custom text grading schema, and the Text option is selected, you are allowed to type text in the column’s cells. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they will see the text values for their grades.When you convert a numeric score to text without creating a custom text grading schema, and then return to numeric scoring, values that cannot be converted display a zero after conversion. Therefore, if you want to include text as grades, Blackboard recommends creating a custom text grading schema and associating it with the columns.
    • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%.
    • Complete/Incomplete: When a student submits an item, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.

  2. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None. The same options appear except for the option chosen as the Primary Display and Text. The default Text option does not appear as you cannot edit a secondary value from a column’s cell. If you create a customized grading schema based on text and have not used it as the Primary Display, it appears in the list. In the Grade Center column, the secondary value appears in parentheses. The secondary value does not appear to students.If you choose Percentage as the Primary Display and type the achieved numeric score into the Grade Center grid directly, the number you type is interpreted as a percentage and not the score. Therefore, if you want the system to calculate percentages when you type a score, select Score as the Primary Display and select Percentage as the Secondary Display. Scores you type directly in the grid will display a percentage in parentheses (Score (Percentage) ).

Entering Grades

You can enter grades in the Grade Center in several different ways:

  1. Scores are entered automatically for course items such as online tests and surveys.
  2. You can upload grades such as a comma separated values (CSV) file or an Excel spreadsheet, eliminating the need for double entry.
  3. You can manually enter grades directly into a column in the Grade Center.

1. Automatically Entered Grades

Tests you add to your course are scored automatically and recorded in the corresponding Grade Center column. Some questions require manual grading such as Essay questions. You can manually edit grades that are scored automatically.

Manually Entered Grades

You can manually enter grades in the following ways:

  • On the main Grade Center page.
  • Anonymously from the main Grade Center page.
  • On the Grade Details page.
  • Anonymously from the Grade Details page.
  • Grading tests by question.

You can enter grades for certain tools without having to navigate to the Grade Center. You complete grading within the tool if the item is set for grading. After you assign grades, you can change them.

You can add comments while using any method of assigning grades.

2.) Uploading Grades From External Sources

To eliminate repeated entry of Grade Center data in several tools, you can work offline and then upload grades into the Grade Center. You can upload grades from external sources such as a comma separated values (CSV) file or an Excel spreadsheet. Data must be formatted specifically to upload correctly and be synched with existing Grade Center data.

How to Enter Grades From the Grade Center Page

You can assign grades in any cell in the Grade Center or from the Grade Details page. When you type directly in a Grade Center cell, the grade may be an override grade.

  1. Click within the cell you want to type a grade in.
  2. Type the value.
  3. Press the Enter key.
  4. Click OK to save the grade.If you do not press Enter and you attempt to leave the entry cell or Grade Center, a dialog box asks if you want to save the grade entry.

How to Enter an Attempt Grade From the Grade Details Page

  • Access a grade cell's contextual menu and select View Grade Details.
  • On the Grade Details page in the Attempts tab, click Grade Attempt.
  • Type a grade in the Grade text box.
  • Click Save and Exit to return to the main Grade Center page.-OR-Click Save and Next to display the next attempt.

How to Grade and Manage Multiple Attempts From the Grade Details Page

You enable multiple attempts during test or assignment creation or by later editing the test or assignment's options. The Attempts tab on the Grade Details page lists all submitted attempts so that you can grade, clear, and ignore attempts. Grades for all attempts are tracked in the Grade History log.

  • Access a grade cell's contextual menu and select View Grade Details.
  • On the Grade Details page, the Attempts tab lists all completed attempts.
  • For each attempt, you can Grade Attempt, Clear Attempt to remove it, or Ignore Attempt to keep it but omit the score from Grade Center calculations and not count it toward the number of allowed attempts. Assignment attempts also have an Edit Grade function.
  • You can use the Delete drop-down list to delete the first or last attempt, highest or lowest scoring attempt, attempts in a date range, or all attempts.

You can also view a list of completed attempts from the contextual menu for a grade in the Grade Center grid. When you access attempts in this way, you do not have the options for clearing and deleting attempts.

If you allowed multiple attempts for a test or assignment when you created it, the most recent graded attempt's score appears in the Grade Center and appears to students in My Grades by default. To change the attempt used for the score, access the test or assignment's column header to access the contextual menu. Select Edit Column Information and select from the options in the Score Attempts Using drop-down list.