Grading Schemas

Contents

About Grading Schemas

Grading schemas map numerical and percent scores to letter grades or some other notation that you create (such as Pass/Fail). The Grade Center operates as a spreadsheet, which means that all entered scores must, at their foundation, be equal to a certain number of points. In order to represent these points as a letter grade, it must convert them to a percentage and then determine which range of percentages is equivalent to which letter grade.

The Grade Center has a default letter grading schema which assigns a range of percentages to each letter grade. This grading schema may or may not align to your school or department’s accepted letter grading system. If it does not, you can edit it and save the changes within your course. For example, you can lower the percentages needed to achieve an A, B, C, and so on. You can also create additional schemas to reflect the multiple ways you want to grade throughout your course. New schemas and any edits to existing schemas only appear in the course you are in, they do not populate to your other courses. You can create as many schemas as needed.

You can associate any grading schema with any individual column, or multiple columns, in the Grade Center.

After creation, a grading schema is included as an option in the Primary and Secondary Display drop-down lists when creating and editing columns in the Grade Center. Default grading schemas in the drop-down lists include: Score, Letter (A, B, C), and Percentage.
Image of Primary Display dropdown in Grade Center

Letter Grading Schema

For a quiz, a student’s raw numeric score is 88 out of 100 points possible. In a grading schema in which a percentage of 87 to less than 90 equals a B+, a student’s score of 88 results in a B+. In the quiz’s Grade Center column, a B+ is displayed. If you release the column’s grades to students, letter grades appear in My Grades.

Text Grading Schema

For a quiz, a student’s raw numeric score is 78 out of 100 points possible. You create a grading schema based on text terms, such as Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. A student’s score of 78 results in Good. In the quiz’s Grade Center column, the term Good appears. If you release the column’s grades to students, the text terms appear in My Grades.

Test Curve Grading Schema

You create a test grading schema and associate it with all test columns. In the test grading schema, you require at least 94% for an A. However, for one particular test, you want to make an adjustment because of low scores. You can associate another custom grading schema with that test’s column to reflect a curve you want to apply to those lower scores. In this test curve schema, an A can equal grades scored between 90% and 100%. You can create as many test curve schemas as needed to fulfill your grading requirements and associate them with the appropriate columns in the Grade Center.

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Creating Grading Schemas

Each new course has a default letter grading schema. You can create additional grading schemas to reflect the multiple ways you want to grade throughout your course. You can create as many schemas as needed. Any schemas you create in your course can only be used in the course you create them in.

Use the following steps to create a customized grading schema in your course:

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Manage on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Grading Schemas.
    Image of Grading Schemas dropdown menu
  3. On the Grading Schemas page, click Create Grading Schema on the action bar.
  4. On the Create Grading Schema page, type a Name. The name appears on the Grading Schemas page and in the drop-down lists for Primary Display and Secondary Display when creating or editing columns in the Grade Center.
  5. Optionally, provide a Description. The description appears on the Grading Schema page and can assist with identifying the schema.
  6. In the Schema Mapping section, two default rows appear with ranges of percentages.
    Grading Schema input area
    On the left-hand side (A) is where ranges of percentages can be inputted and altered to tell the Grade Center which percentages will be equivalent to which letter grades. The percentage range for each grade value must be unique and begin with the lesser value listed first. Also, the values must overlap to avoid gaps that occur when a score falls between two numbers in a range. You cannot use the dash symbol as an entry. On the right (B), is where instructors who want to input letter grades straight into their grading columns can tell the Grade Center how to treat each of these letter grades when it comes to calculating totals. All grades in the Grade Center must be equivalent to a numerical score, so any inputted letter grade must have a percentage associated with it. More rows can be inserted into this table using these arrows (C), or deleted by clicking Delete Row.
  7. Once the grading schema has been set up to your satisfaction, click Submit to save it.

Examples of Grading Schemas

Looking at two examples of some alternative grading schemas can clarify how this interface works to create new schemas.

  1. Pass/Fail Grading Schema
    Pass/Fail Grading SchemaThis Pass/Fail grading schema was created by changing the letter grades in the “Will Equal” column to “PASS” and “FAIL”, then inputting the percentages in the “Grades Scored Between” column to the instructor’s desired parameters. No extra rows were needed, because this grading schema only has two possible values–pass or fail. Any text can be entered into the “Will Equal” column (e.g. Exceeds Expectations/Meets Expectations/Unsatisfactory).
  2. Alternative Letter Grading Schema
    Alternative Grading SchemaThis alternative letter grading schema was created by adding two more rows by clicking the arrows on the right of the table to insert rows where needed. The desired letter grades were entered in the “Will Equal” column and then range of percentages equivalent to each letter grade were inputted into the “Grades Scored Between” column. Users may also input letter grades with +/- attributes into the “Will Equal” column for a complete A+ to F grading schema.

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Editing Grading Schemas

You can edit any existing grading schemas in your course. The Grade Center includes a copy of a default letter grading schema. If you choose to display students’ scores as letter grades, you can edit the default letter schema, or keep it as-is. The edits you make to a grading schema only appear in the course you make the edits in.

Use the following steps to edit a grading schema in your course.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Manage on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Grading Schemas.
  3. On the Grading Schemas page, access a schema’s contextual menu.
  4. Select Edit.
    Image of Edit Grading Schemas menu
  5. If desired, type a new Name and optional Description. The name appears on the Grading Schemas page and in the drop-down lists for Primary Display and Secondary Display when creating and editing columns in the Grade Center. The description appears on the Grading Schema page and can assist with identifying the grading schema.
  6. In the Schema Mapping section, start from the top and edit the values for the first grade value and move to the next row. Then, delete or insert rows as needed. If you navigate to another course area without saving a grading schema, any unsaved changes are lost.
  7. Click Submit.

You can associate the edited grading schema with an individual column or multiple columns in the Grade Center.

If you associate a grading schema with columns in the Grade Center and edit the schema, the changes appear automatically in the Grade Center. For example, you can edit a text grading schema and change Excellent to Superior. In the Grade Center column, any instances of Excellent now appear as Superior.

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Copying or Deleting Grading Schemas

You can copy or delete existing grading schemas in the Grade Center. For example, if you want to make minor changes to the default letter grading schema, you can retain it by copying it and editing it.

Copying Grading Schemas

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Manage on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Grading Schemas.
  3. On the Grading Schemas page, access a schema’s contextual menu.
  4. Select Copy.
  5. The copied schema appears in the list with a number appended to the name, such as Letter (2).

Deleting Grading Schemas

You can delete the default letter grading schema only if it is not currently associated with a Grade Center column. If no letter grading schema exists, Letter will not be an option in the Primary or Secondary Display drop-down lists when associating schemas to columns.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Manage on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Grading Schemas.
  3. On the Grading Schemas page, select one or multiple schemas’ check boxes.If no check box exists for a schema, it is associated with a Grade Center column and it cannot be deleted.
  4. Click the Delete button. Alternatively, select Delete from a schema’s contextual menu.
  5. A warning appears stating: This action is final and cannot be undone. Click OK to delete the schema.

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Using Grading Schemas

When you create or edit grade columns, you select a grading schema in the Primary and Secondary Display drop-down lists (by default columns will have a Primary Display of “Score” and no Secondary Display, unless changed by the user). The schema you select as the Primary Display displays the grade value in the Grade Center and to students in their My Grades view. The Secondary Display grade value appears in parentheses only in the Grade Center, next to the Primary Display. The Secondary Display value does not appear to students.

In addition to the default Letter grading schema, there are several other options for Primary and Secondary Display that are not editable grading schemas, but do give you several more options for how you would like scores and grades to be displayed in the Grade Center. To change how grades are displayed:

  1. Access the Grade Center.
  2. Click the appropriate column header to access the contextual menu.
  3. Select Edit Column Information.
    Image of Grade Center column context menu
  4. On the Edit Column page, make a selection in the Primary Display drop-down list. If you create a customized grading schema, it appears in this list. Five other default options also 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 a text grading schema is created. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor –OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If no text grading schema exists, and you select the Text option, 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 defining a 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 text grading schema and associating it with the appropriate columns.
    • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 equals 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.If you use this grading schema for an assessment column, when a student starts an assessment, a check mark appears in the column with the Attempt in Progress icon (Attempt complete icon Attempt in Progress icon). The Attempt in Progress icon is removed when a student submits the assessment.
  5. Optionally, make a selection in the Secondary Display drop-down list. The default setting is None. The same options appear in this list with the exception of the option chosen as the Primary Display and Text. The default Text option does not appear for grade columns as you cannot edit a secondary value from a grade 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 grade value appears in parentheses. The secondary grade value does not appear to students.For self-assessments, you cannot define a Secondary Display because the Primary Display is Complete/Incomplete.
  6. Click Submit.

In the full Grade Center, you will now see the chosen grade displays. If you do not choose a grade display for a column, only the default score appears.

For more detailed information about setting up and using Grade Center columns, please see the Faculty Knowledge Base article “Grade Center Columns”.

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