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Grade Center

This section deals with functions found in the Control Panel area labeled Grade Center

Grade Center

The Grade Center is a very complex tool with extensive functionality.  We highly recommend training before attempting to use the Grade Center if you are not already familiar with it. If you do not understand how it works, it is easy to make mistakes such as displaying grades to students that you thought you had hidden from their view, or to unintentionally assign a letter grade with a numerical value higher than the student earned.

Official grades are NOT entered through Blackboard. To submit your official grades on-line, log on to PeopleSoft Student Administration at http://www.princeton.edu/hrsa with your Net-ID and LDAP password.

New Features Summer 2014

New Features Summer 2011
Pitfalls and "Gotchas"
Grade Center Features and Navigation
Setting Up the Grade Center and Planning Assessment
Using the Grade Center

Missing Scroll Bars

New Features Summer 2014

My Grades Ordering & Design Update

Based on your feedback, we’ve redesigned the My Grades page for students. Now you can control the presentation of scores – by last activity, due date or Grade Center alignment. Other improvements make this view easy on the eyes and easy to comprehend including:

New “Order By” option in the top-right

The “All,” “Graded,” “Upcoming,” and “Submitted” filters allow the student to narrow down the number of rows they see

The text size and row spacing have been reduced, resulting in more information being displayed on the page at once

Feedback is included right in-line, so the student doesn’t need to click on anything to view it – it just shows up on the page

Test total points adjustment

You have more control over Grade Center fields that are auto-summed from test. Instructors can adjust the total points possible while maintaining the integrity of the exam.

Grading Schemas greater than 100%  

Previously, the grading schema in the Grade Center had a maximum value of 100%.   In Service Pack 14, this is no longer the case and percentages can be greater than 100%.

Define “Score Attempts Using” setting from the “Options” page  

This is a basic workflow improvement to ensure that instructors know about and can easily find this setting for tools that support multiple attempts.

New Features Summer 2011

Improved Smart Views: Grade Center Smart Views allow for more customization and types. Selecting a favorite view links to it directly from the Control Panel.

Needs Grading Page: For Courses with many enrolled Students and gradable items, the Needs Grading page can help determine which Assignments and Tests need grading first. For example, you can sort by Due Date to ensure your final tests are graded by your school’s deadline. For Instructors who have a designated turnaround time set for all gradable items, the Needs Grading page allows them to customize the view of items with a needs grading status. The list can be sorted and filtered so the most urgent Assignments and Tests can be graded first.

Color Coding: Grades can now be color-coded. Grading Color Codes apply background and text color to items in the Grade Center that meet specified criteria. Colors can be defined for items based on Grade status or based on the score.

Rubrics: Instructors can create a Rubric to provide guidelines for grading an Assignment, Blog, Journal, or Discussion Board. Instructors can associate the Rubric to a grading column and view the Rubric while assigning a grade.

Anonymous Grading: Instructors can grade assignment and test attempts while information identifying the Student remains concealed. Only after the grade for the attempt has been submitted will the identity of the Student be exposed. The objectives of grading anonymously include creating a grading workflow that is less prone to bias or favoritism on the part of the Instructor. It also serves as a protection for Instructors who may be subject to a complaint of unfair grading.

Question-by-question Grading:  This option accommodates Instructors whose preferred workflow for assessments is to enter grades by question for all Students as opposed to by all questions by Student. For example, an Instructor may want to gain an overall feel for how the class has answered an essay question by moving through all of the Students' attempts at that question before moving to the next question. Question attempt grading also provides great efficiency for the grading process by enabling Instructors to immediately start grading without having to open each assessment or assignment.

Some Common Grade Center Pitfalls and "Gotchas"

Hiding Column Does Not Hide Grades from Students

Selecting Hide Column from the contextual menu only makes the grade column invisible to those who can edit the Grade Center, not to the students. If you wish to make a grade column unavailable to students in the My Grades tool,  you must select Edit Column Information from the column heading's contextual menu, then in the Options area Edit Column page, select No for Show the Column to Students, then Submit.

Making an Assignment Grade Column Unavailable to Students Does Not Make Their Scores Unavailable

If the grade is for a Blackboard Assignment, even selecting No for Show the Column to Students will not prevent the student from seeing the number of points earned when they view the Assignment page itself. Either make the Assignment unavailable or create a separate column to enter to grades for said Assignment.

Hiding a Student Does Not Make the My Grades Unavailable to That Student

Selecting Hide User from the contextual menu next to a student's name only makes the user invisible to those who can edit the Grade Center.  My Grades cannot be made unavailable on a user-by-user basis, only course-wide.

My Grades (Student View of Grades) Is Available By Default

If you do not wish your students to be able to view any grades you enter in the Grade Center, you must make My Grades unavailable for the course site. To do so:

  1. Edit mode is ON
  2. Click Tools in the Course Menu.
  3. Next to My Grades, click the Hide Link button.

Column Statistics Do Not Include Override Grades

This issue is particularly problematic with Assignments, because if you enter the grade in the cell where an exclamation point (!) exist to indicate the Assignment has been submitted, the grade is considered an override. To avoid this issue, place your cursor in the cell of the first grade you wish to enter, click the chevron that will appear and select View Grade Details. On the subsequent page, under Attempts, click the Edit Grade button, then enter the grade and click Save. Now, to get to the next student you want to enter a grade for, use the Jump to User feature at the top of the page.

Giving Students More Points Than Desired

When a student does not do an assignment or take a test, thus earning a grade of "0", entering the letter grade of "F" will assign the student 55 points towards the calculated average in the Grade Center. Instead of entering "F", enter "0" if you want the grade calculated as "0". It is also a good idea to select Score or Percentage as your Secondary Display when setting up the grade column, if you select Letter as your Primary Display.  The Secondary Display is not visible to students, but is helpful for instructors in understanding the number value associated with a grade. 

It is also possible to change the grading schema for your Grade Center, so that letter grades have the numerical value you desire -- see Creating Grading Schemas (pdf).  The default grading schema is as follows:

Grades Scored Between
Will Equal
Grades Manually Entered as
Will Calculate as
% and  100% A+
A+
98.5
94 and  Less Than  97 A
A
95
90 and  Less Than  94 A-
A-
91.5
87 and  Less Than  90 B+
B+
88.5
84 and  Less Than  87 B
B
85
80 and  Less Than  84 B-
B-
81.5
77 and  Less Than  80 C+
C+
78.5
74 and  Less Than  77 C
C
75
70 and  Less Than  74 C-
C-
71.5
67 and  Less Than  70 D+
D+
68.5
64 and  Less Than  67 D
D
65
60 and  Less Than  64 D-
D-
61.5
0 and  Less Than  60 F
F
55

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Complete Grade Center Instructions

Grade Center Features and Navigation

About the Grade Center  A quick overview.

Customizing the Grade Center  Describes how to organize and customize the Grade Center by filtering, sorting, freezing panes, and hiding and revealing data.

Creating Smart Views  Describes how to create and save Smart Views, which are custom made views of Grade Center data that is pertinent to ongoing grading activities.

video fileCreating Smart Views  (Quick video)

Sharing Grade Center Data (pdf)  Explains how recorded assessment data and other information in the Grade Center may be shared  with Teaching Assistants (TAs), Graders, Students, and other interested persons.

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Setting Up the Grade Center and Planning Assessment

Using Grading Schemas  The default grade schema in Blackboard (the numerical values for letter grades) may not be the ones you, your department or program prefer.

Categories  How to use existing categories for grades, such as tests, surveys,
assignments, discussion board; and how to create Instructor defined categories.

Creating and Managing Grading Periods  How to divide the Grade Center into Grading Periods, such as semesters, quarters or other delineations

Grade Center Columns  How to create and manage Grade Center columns.

video fileCreating a Grade Center Column (video) How to

Sending Email from the Grade Center (pdf)  How to use the Grade Center to communicate directly with Students using Email.

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Using the Grade Center

Entering Grades   How grades are entered into the Grade Center including automatically scored grades, multiple attempts, uploading grades from an external source, and manually entering grades.

Adding Comments to a Grade Entry  How to add comments to any grade entry in the Grade Center.

Changing Grades   How to change recorded grades, including overriding grades.

Grade History   How to use the Grade History to view all grades that have been edited and by whom. How to download the Grade History file.

Deleting and Reverting Grades  How to delete a grade, revert a grade back to an ungraded state and null a grade.

Exempting Grades  How to exempt students from grades.

Download and Upload the Grade Center  How to upload items into the Grade Center from an external file. (NOTE: The instructions on the Blackboard.com site tell you to look for the Work Offline button, however, here at Princeton, the button is labeled Upload/Download.

video fileDownload and Upload the Grade Center  (Quick video)

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Missing Scroll Bars

Usually when the scroll bars are not displaying in the Grade Center, the solution is to just increase your screen resolution. On small screen devices, such as handhelds, tablets, and netbooks, the Grade Center will not function properly, no matter what. 

However, sometimes if you are using Firefox on a PC, you may not see the scroll bars in the Blackboard Grade Center because the PCs scroll bar settings need to be adjusted.To resolve this issue:

Windows 7

  1. Go to Control Panel
  2. Select Appearance and Personalization
  3. In top right-hand search box, type "windows color"
  4. It will bring up Personalization and a list. Select "Change window colors and metrics".
  5. Click on the Item Dropdown (default says Desktop) and select "Scrollbar" and change to 19.


Windows XP

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Display Properties.
  3. Click on the Appearance tab.
  4. Select the Advanced button.
  5. Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list.
  6. Change the setting to 19.
  7. Submit.


Windows Vista

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Select the Window Color and Appearance option.
  4. Click on the Advanced button.
  5. Select the Scroll Bar from the item drop down list.
  6. Change the setting to 19.
  7. Submit.

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User Manual  Select 9.1 SP10 and SP11 from the Table of Contents, then select your role (Instructor or Student)

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