Grade Center Columns

Contents

Overview

In the Grade Center, three types of columns appear: user, grade and calculated. Each column has a contextual menu with options. The options that appear vary depending on the type of column. When you create or edit grade and calculated columns, you can select the appropriate settings to configure the Grade Center to calculate and display the data most useful to you. You also have the ability to hide and show columns, associate columns with categories and grading periods, and view columns in any order.

About User Columns

In a new course, six default user columns appear in the Grade Center grid:

  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Username
  • Student ID
  • Last Access
  • Availability

You cannot delete or edit default user columns. You can hide all but the first user column in the grid. If you need to hide the first column, you can rearrange the user columns on the Column Organization page, but at least one user column must show. You can also freeze user columns so they remain in place as you scroll in the grid.

 

To sort any column, click the column heading. For example, you can sort the Last Access column so users who accessed the course most recently appear first in the list. The sorted list remains in effect until you change it or log out.

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About Grade Columns

When you create gradable items in your course, grade columns are created automatically in the Grade Center. You can edit a grade column to rename it, associate it with a different category or grading period, change the grading schema, determine if students will see the results in My Grades, and include or exclude the column in calculations.

The grade columns created automatically include:

  • Assignments
  • Surveys
  • Tests
  • Discussion board, if you enabled grading for forums or thread
  • Blogs, journals, and wikis, if you enabled grading

The Grade Center displays two decimal places for each grade. This occurs even if the grade has no values for the decimal places or if your assigned grade is set to a maximum of four decimal places. Grades set to three or four decimal places are rounded up. For example, 45.4357 is rounded up to 45.44. Calculated columns also display to a maximum of two decimal places.

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About Calculated Columns

In the Grade Center, you can calculate grades using calculated columns. Calculated columns combine data from multiple columns to attain performance results. You can share these results with students and your institution.

You can use calculated columns to do the following:

  • Calculate the total grade.
  • Weight grades by column, category, or both.
  • Calculate the average grade.
  • Calculate a minimum or maximum grade.

You can include a calculated column when creating another calculated column. For example, if you created a calculated column that weighs quiz grades, you can include the column when creating a final grade column.

When you point to a column name, information about that column appears in the Grade Information Bar at the top of the Grade Center grid. You can also access this information by pointing to a column header, accessing the contextual menu, and selecting Quick Column Information. For calculated columns, Points Possible includes the phrase (may vary by student) because some students could be exempt from a test or assignment or they have not submitted all of the items included in the column’s calculation.

The default Total column is an example of a calculated column that is included in every course. You can rename, change the settings, determine which columns are included, or delete these default columns.

 

Weighted totals are the most common type of calculated column, and you can read more about them here: http://www.etskb-fac.cidde.pitt.edu/blackboard/creating-a-weighted-total-in-your-grade-center/.

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Grade Center Columns and My Grades

Students view their grades from My Grades. You can show and hide columns from students. However, grades always appear in the following order on the students’ My Grades pages:

  • Overall grade for the course
  • Calculated grades, such as running total
  • Graded items by date
  • Submitted items by date
  • In progress items
  • Upcoming items ordered by due date. If there is no due date upcoming, items are in alpha order.

To learn more, see My Grades.

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How to Create Grade Columns

If a grade column is not created automatically, you can create grade columns for any student work you want to grade. For example, you can create a column to record participation grades.

When you create Grade Center columns, you can do the following:

  • Choose how the grade appears. You can display the grade as a score, letter, text, percentage, or as complete/incomplete.
  • Associate it with a category.
  • Exclude or include the column in any potential Grade Center calculations, such as when creating a calculated column.
  • Determine whether the column’s results appear on students’ My Grades pages.

Use the following steps to create a grade column.

  1. In the Grade Center, click Create Column on the action bar.
  2. On the Create Grade Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages. If this name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, you can type a short, descriptive name in the Grade Center Name box. If you point to the column heading, you can see its full name on the Grade Information Bar.
  3. Optionally, type a Description.  Information provided here appears to students when they click the item name in My Grades.
  4. 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. The default grading schema is used to assign letter grades. For example, a score of 21/30 equals 70% and appears as a C.
    • 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.
    • 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 ( icon_completed_check_mark ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.
  5. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None.
  6. Optionally, you can associate the column with a category by making a selection in the Category drop-down list. The default setting is No Category. You can use categories to filter Grade Center data, create smart views that focus the view of the Grade Center data, and create calculated columns.
  7. In the Points Possible box, type the total points. Entries must be numeric. This is a required field
  8. Optionally, select the option next to Due Date and type a date (mm/dd/yyyy) or use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar.
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Select Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Select Yes to display the column to students in My Grades.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Select Yes to include average and median statistics with the grade values shown to students.Select the Options.
  9. Click Submit.

After you create a grade column, you can:

  • Associate a rubric with it to make the scoring process easier and less subjective.
  • Assign grades.
  • Include the column when creating calculated columns.

About Total Columns

The total column is a type of calculated column that generates a grade based on the cumulative points earned, related to the points allowed. You can select which columns and categories are included in a total column’s calculation. When creating a total column, you can include other calculated columns.

A total column is created by default and appears in new courses. You can rename, change the settings, change which columns are included, or delete this default column. The following list includes the settings for the default total column.

  • All grade columns are included in the calculation.
  • Calculated columns are not included.
  • Ungraded items are not included.

Columns with text as the grade display are not included in a total column’s calculation. For example, if you set a column to display text, such as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, you cannot use it in grade calculations.

 

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How to Create Total Columns

The total column is a type of calculated column that generates a grade based on the cumulative points earned, related to the points allowed. You can select which columns, grading periods, and categories are used in the calculation for a total column. You can change your selections at any time and the calculation updates automatically.

A total column is created by default and appears in new courses. You can rename, change the settings, change which columns are included, or delete this default column.

When creating a total column, you can include:

  • All Grade Columns: Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
  • All Grade Columns in Grading Period: If grading periods exist, include only the grade columns associated with a grading period.
  • Selected Columns and Categories: Include specific grade columns and categories (and the associated columns).

Columns with text as the grade display are not included in a total column’s calculation. For example, if you set a grade column to display text, such as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, you cannot use it in calculations.

 

Use the following steps to create a total column.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Create Calculated Column on the action bar.
  2. Select Total Column.
  3. On the Create Total Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages. If this name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, you can type a short, descriptive name in the Grade Center Name box.
  4. Optionally, type a Description. You can use the content editor functions to format the text. Information provided here appears to students when they click the item name in My Grades.
  5. Make a selection in the Primary Display drop-down list.
  6. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the total column’s calculation.
  7. Calculate as Running Total: Select Yes to calculate as a running total. Running totals exempt cells that do not contain data. Select No to include all selected columns in the calculation, using a value of 0 if no grade exists. This can make grades appear artificially low.
  8. Select the Options.
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Select Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Select Yes to display the column to students in My Grades.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Select Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.
  9. Click Submit.If a column is deleted from the Grade Center that is included in a total calculation, it is also removed from the calculation.

The new total column appears last in the Grade Center grid. You can change the column’s settings at any time and change which columns are included. Once edited, the calculation updates automatically. You are not allowed to type directly in a total column’s cell to edit the calculated grade. Therefore, no contextual menu appears when you move your mouse pointer over an individual cell in a total column.

 

About Weighted Columns

The weighted column is a type of calculated column that generates a grade based on the result of selected columns and categories, and their respective percentages. When creating a weighted column, you can include other calculated columns or other weighted columns.

You can rename, change the settings, change which columns and categories are included, or delete this default column. The default weighted total column displays no results until you select the columns and categories to include in the calculation. You can learn more about creating a weighted total in this tutorial: http://www.etskb-fac.cidde.pitt.edu/blackboard/creating-a-weighted-total-in-your-grade-center/.

 

 

 

About Average Columns

The average column is a type of calculated column that displays the average for a selected number of columns. For example, you can display the average for all tests or display the average grade for each student for a Grading Period.

The average column is a type of calculated column that displays the average for a selected number of columns. You can select which columns and categories are used in the calculation for an average column. For example, you can display the average for all assignments. You can change your selections at any time and the calculation updates automatically.

When you create an average column, you can include:

  • All Grade Columns: Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
  • Selected Columns and Categories: Include specific grade columns and categories (and the associated columns).

Columns with text as the grade display are not included in an average column’s calculation. For example, if you set a grade column to display text, such as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, you cannot use it in calculations.

Use the following steps to create an average column.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Create Calculated Column on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Average Column.
  3. On the Create Average Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages. If this name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, you can type a short, descriptive name in the Grade Center Name box. If you point to the column heading, you can see its full name on the Grade Information Bar.
  4. Optionally, type a Description. You can use the content editor functions to format the text. Information provided here appears to students when they click the item name in My Grades.
  5. 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. The default setting is Percentage. If you created any custom grading schemas, they appear in the list.
  6. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None. The same options appear in this drop-down list except for the option chosen as the Primary Display. In the Grade Center column, the secondary value appears in parentheses. The secondary value does not appear to students, and you cannot manually edit the secondary value from a column’s cell. If you select the default Text option, text will not appear. If you want text values to appear, create a customized text grading schema.
  7. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the average column’s calculation.
  8. Calculate as Running Total: Select Yes to calculate as a running total. Running totals exempt cells that do not contain data. Select No to include all selected columns in the calculation, using a value of 0 if no grade exists. This can make grades appear artificially low.

  9. Select the Options.
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Select Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Select Yes to display the column to students on their My Grades pages.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Select Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.
  10. Click Submit.

You can change the column’s settings at any time and change which columns are included. Once edited, the calculation updates automatically.

You are not allowed to type directly in an average column’s cell to edit the calculated grade. Therefore, no contextual menu appears when you move your mouse pointer over an individual cell in an average column.

 

About Minimum/Maximum Columns

The minimum/maximum column is a type of calculated column that displays either the minimum or maximum grade for a selection of columns. For example, you can find the minimum score on all tests, but only show it in the Grade Center grid and not to your students on their My Grades pages.

The minimum/maximum column is a type of calculated column that displays either the minimum or maximum grade for a selection of columns. You can select which columns and categories are used for displaying a minimum or maximum value. For example, you can display the minimum score for a grading period to help you determine what content your students may be struggling with. You can change your selections at any time and the calculation updates automatically.

When you create a minimum/maximum column, you can include:

  • All Grade Columns: Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
  • Selected Columns and Categories: Include specific grade columns and categories (and the associated columns).

Columns with text as the grade display are not included in a minimum/maximum column’s calculation. For example, if you set a grade column to display text, such as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, you cannot use it in calculations.

Use the following steps to create a minimum/maximum column.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Create Calculated Column on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Minimum/Maximum Column.
  3. On the Create Minimum/Maximum Column page, type a brief, descriptive Column Name. This name becomes the column name in the Grade Center and on students’ My Grades pages unless you provide a different name in the Grade Center Display Name box. If this name is too long to display clearly in the Grade Center, you can type a short, descriptive name in the Grade Center Name box.
  4. Optionally, type a Description. You can use the content editor functions to format the text. Information provided here appears to students when they click the item name in My Grades.
  5. Make a selection in the Primary Display drop-down list. The selection is the grade format shown in the Grade Center and to students on their My Grades pages. The default setting is Percentage. If you created any custom grading schemas, they appear in the list.
  6. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None. The same options appear in this drop-down list except for the option chosen as the Primary Display. In the Grade Center column, the secondary value appears in parentheses. The secondary value does not appear to students, and you cannot manually edit the secondary value from a column’s cell. If you select the default Text option, text will not appear. If you want text values to appear, create a custom text grading schema.
  7. In the Select Columns section, select Calculation Type: Minimum or Maximum.
  8. Select what to include in the minimum/maximum column’s calculation.
  9. Calculate as Running Total: Select Yes to calculate as a running total. Running totals exempt cells that do not contain data. Select No to include all selected columns in the calculation, using a value of 0 if no grade exists. This can make grades appear artificially low.
  10. Select the Options.
    • Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations: Select Yes to make the column available for potential inclusion when creating calculated columns.
    • Show this Column to Students: Select Yes to display the column to students in My Grades.
    • Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades: Select Yes to include statistical information with the grade value when shown to students.
  11. Click Submit.

The new minimum/maximum column appears last in the Grade Center grid unless you associated it with a grading period. All grading period columns appear together in the grid until you reorder them.

You can change the column’s settings at any time and change which columns are included. Once edited, the calculation updates automatically.

You are not allowed to type directly in a minimum/maximum column’s cell to edit the calculated grade. Therefore, no contextual menu appears when you move your mouse pointer over an individual cell in a minimum/maximum column.

 

Understanding the External Grade Column

At some institutions the results in the external grade column can be shared with an external application. At Pitt this feature is not used, however you must have a column set to external grade. You decide which column is set as the external grade. In new courses, the default total column is the default external grade column, and the external grade icon ( icon_external_grade ) appears in the column header. You cannot delete the default total column until you set another column as the external grade.

Access the contextual menu in the column header for the column you want to set as the external grade column and select Set as External Grade. The check mark appears in the column header you chose and no check mark appears in the default total column header.

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How to Edit, Hide, and Select Options for Columns

You can edit most Grade Center columns and change the column’s name, settings, grading schema, what is included in a calculated column’s calculation, and whether students can see the column results in My Grades by hiding the column from users. You can also use the options in a column’s contextual menu to perform a variety of actions, such as viewing information about the column, sorting the contents, or downloading results.

You cannot edit or delete the default user columns:

  • Last Name
  • First Name
  • Username
  • Student ID
  • Last Access
  • Availability

You can hide all but the first user column in the grid. If you need to hide the first column, you can rearrange the user columns on the Column Organization page, but at least one user column must show.

You can use the options in a column’s contextual menu to hide a column from your view in the grid (Hide Column) or from students’ My Grades pages (Show/Hide to Users). When you hide a column from your students, you will still see it in the grid. To learn more, see the example following the image: Hide a column from users.

Each column’s contextual menu displays options that are available and specific for that column. For example, a test column’s contextual menu includes options for Column Statistics and Grade Questions. For a default user column, such as First Name, you only have the options of hiding the column and sorting the items. If an option does not appear in the contextual menu, you cannot perform the action on that column.

Use the following steps to edit a column.

  1. In the Grade Center, access the contextual menu.
  2. Select an option. Depending on the option:
    • A change occurs automatically. For example, if you select Set as External Grade for a weighted column, the column immediately becomes the external grade column. The external grade icon ( icon_external_grade ) appears in the column header.
    • You can make necessary changes or selections. For example, if you select Edit Column Information for a grade or calculated column, you can change the column’s name, settings, grading schema, and whether students can see the column results in My Grades. You can also choose which columns are included in a calculated column’s calculation.
    • You can assign grades, provide feedback to students, and include grading notes for yourself. For example, if you select Grade Attempts for a test column, you can begin the grading process.
    • You can review information. For example, if you select Quick Column Information or Column Statistics, you can view basic information or statistics, such as range, average, median, variance, and grade distribution.
  3. As needed, click Submit
    -OR-
    click OK to return to the Grade Center.

Hide a column from users > Change whether students see the column results in My Grades

If you want to hide column results from students in My Grades, you can select Edit Column Information in the column’s contextual menu. On the Edit Column page, select No for Show this Column to Students. You can edit the column again at any time to show the results to your students. Alternatively, you can select Show/Hide to Users in a column’s contextual menu. When you want to show the column to students, select Show/Hide to Users again. In the Grade Center grid, the Column Not Visible to Users icon ( icon_not_visible ) appears in the column header for any column hidden from students. You will still be able to view the column in the grid.

Change the grading schema

Grading schemas can be changed at any point. If you are interested in grading schemas, you can read more here: http://www.etskb-fac.cidde.pitt.edu/blackboard/grading-schemas/.

Change which attempt is used as the score in the Grade Center

When multiple attempts are allowed for an assignment or test, you can edit columns to change which attempt is used as the score in the Grade Center. For example, if you allow students to submit an assignment more than once, you can select Edit Column Information in the assignment column’s contextual menu. On the Edit Column page, select which attempt to use for the score. The default is Grade of Last Attempt. If you do not edit the column, the Grade Center automatically uses the grade of the last attempt when more than one attempt is allowed. You can choose from the following options in the Score attempts using drop-down list on the Edit Column page:

  • Last Graded Attempt
  • Highest Grade
  • Lowest Grade
  • First Graded Attempt
  • Average of Graded Attempts

Editing column names

While in the Grade Center, you cannot change the Item Name of columns created automatically for gradable items, such as tests, assignments, discussion posts, journal and blog entries, and wiki contributions. You can edit the name of a gradable item in your course and the name will change in the Grade Center. For example, to change an assignment name, you must go to the content area containing the assignment and edit the name there. The name change is applied automatically in the Grade Center.

On the Edit Column page for auto-created columns, you can provide a different name by typing a Grade Center Name. The name you provide appears on students’ My Grades pages and in the Grade Center grid, but does not overwrite the name of the item in your course. This could cause confusion for students when the names they see in My Grades and the names they see for gradable items in the course do not match.

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How to Edit Grade Center Columns From External Files

When you upload grade columns to the Grade Center from an external file, they appear as text columns with points possible equaling zero (0). You may see numbers in the cells, but they are just placeholders. You must edit these columns to include the scores in Grade Center calculations.

  1. In the Grade Center, access the contextual menu.
  2. Select Edit Column Information.
  3. On the Edit Column page, change the Primary Display to Score and provide the Points Possible.
  4. Click Submit. The assigned scores appear in the column’s cells.

To learn more about external data, see Upload or Download Grade Center Items for Working Offline.

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About Deleting Grade Center Columns

When you create gradable items in your course, grade columns are created automatically in the Grade Center, including columns for:

  • Tests, surveys, and self and peer assessments
  • Assignments and SafeAssignments
  • Discussion posts
  • Journal and blog entries
  • Wiki contributions

The only way to delete these auto-created grade columns is to first delete the gradable items in your course. For some, if no student submissions exist when you delete the item, the Grade Center column is deleted automatically or you are allowed to decide whether to delete the column.

Before deleting gradable content in your course, you must carefully consider what the ramifications may be. Student work, such as test and assignment submissions, is deleted along with the deletion of the content item in your course. The action is final. In some cases, you can choose to save the grades assigned in the Grade Center. Even if you retain grade columns in the Grade Center, you cannot access the student submissions because they were deleted with the item in your course. Alternatively, you can preserve the submissions and the scores in the Grade Center by making a gradable item in your course unavailable.

You are not allowed to delete the default user columns and the external grade column. If you set a grade or calculated column as the external grade column, you must select another column as the external grade column before you can delete the first one.

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How to Create an Extra Credit Column

You can create an extra credit column in the Grade Center that is included in the total computation and has a maximum score of 0. Then, you can assign extra credit points as needed.

Use the following steps to create an extra credit column in the Grade Center.

  1. On the action bar, click Create Column.
  2. On the Create Grade Column page, provide the appropriate information.
  3. For Primary Display, select Score from the drop-down list.
  4. For Secondary Display, select Percentage from the drop-down list.
  5. For Points Possible, type 0.
  6. Select Yes for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations.
  7. Click Submit.

The extra credit column appears in the Grade Center. After adding points in an extra credit column, it is possible for a student’s total points to equal more than 100 percent. If a student receives full credit for all gradable items (100 points) and also receives 6 extra credit points, his or her total is 106 out or 100 or 106%.

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