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Tips and Tricks

August 18
Bb: Blackboard Grade Center Overview

The Blackboard Grade Center offers more than just a way to record students' grades. It is a dynamic and interactive tool, allowing faculty to record data, calculate grades, and monitor student progress. In the Grade Center, faculty can provide and manage students' grades for a variety of assessments, including assignments, tests, discussion board posts, journals, blogs, and wikis. Faculty can also create grade columns for any activities or requirements that require grading but do not require submission through Blackboard, such as special projects, oral presentations, and attendance at events outside of class.

Before we begin make sure you have gone to and logged in using your HPU username and password. Click Blackboard Learn from the Quick Links menu and choose the course from your Course List that you will be working in.

Access the Grade Center

From the Course Management Control Panel, click to expand the Grade Center section and display links to the Needs Grading page, the Full Grade Center, and Smart Views. grade center 1.png
  • The Needs Grading link displays a page listing all test and assignment attempts ready for grading or review. You can begin grading and reviewing from this page or items can be sorted and filtered to narrow the list. Attempts are placed in a queue for easy navigation among items during grading.

  • The Full Grade Center link displays all columns and rows in the Grade Center and is the default view of the Grade Center.

  • Smart View links, like Assignments and Tests in the image, appear as an indented list under Full Grade Center. When there are many students in your course or a large number of grade columns, you can use smart views to quickly find data for a focused look at the Grade Center.

Full Grade Center

The Full Grade Center is made up of:
  1. Rows of student information

  2. Columns of gradable items

  3. Cells in the grid contain data specific to corresponding students.

Use Grade Center-specific scroll bars to see additional rows and columns.

grade center 2.png

​Grade Center Action Bar

You can perform many actions in the Grade Center using the functions that appear on the Grade Center action bar.

There are two rows of functions from the Grade Center action bar.

  1. The first row contains functions such as Create Column, Manage, Reports, and more.

  2. The second row contains functions such as Email, Sort Columns, and more.

grade center 3.png 

There are many options and functions within the Grade Center to customize both your and your students' experience.

Grade Center Icons

grade center 4.pngSome cells within the grid may contain a Grade Center icon that can assist you in quickly and visually identifying usually what is going on.

Once your students start submitting assignments you will get accustomed to seeing some of the same icons across the grid. Some of the icons you might see a lot of are:

  • Needs Grading a yellow circle with the white exclamation point.

  • Attempt in Progress is a blue circle/pie chart image.

  • Grade Exempted for this User is a grey hash mark icon.

  • Override – this icon indicates that the score has been manually overridden by the instructor.

In Grade Center you will see other icons being used, so any time you see one that you don't remember what it means, you can always click the Icon Legend button in the lower right hand corner of the Grade Center to see the list.

TIP: There are many icons that can appear within the Grade Center grid. Use the Icon Legend button to find an explanation of these symbols.

Create a Column

Creating a column creates a new column in the Grade Center where you can type in the grades for a particular course activity. You only need to create columns for course activities outside of the course that do not have an assessment association. This can be columns like: giving points to someone for attending an event outside of class.

  1. From the Course Management Control Panel menu, click on Grade Center and select Full Grade Center.
  2. Click Create Column on the Action Bar. 
    create column in grade center.png
  3. On the Create Grade Column page, enter the Column Name and optional Description.
  4. Select the Primary Display from the drop-down list.
  5. Optionally, select a Category in which to include the column.
  6. Enter the total points.
  7. Select the desired Options.
  8. Click Submit.

The new column will appear as the last column in the Grade Center.

Edit a Weighted Column

Weighted columns are calculated columns that generate a grade based on the result of selected columns and categories, and their assigned percentages. Weighted Total columns are based on percentages, points, or points possible.

The default Blackboard Grade Center in every course contains a Weighted Total column. Next we will customize this default column.

  1. From the Course Management Control Panel menu, click on Grade Center and select Full Grade Center.
  2. Locate the Weighted Total column and click on the column's Contextual Menu (downward facing arrow) next to the column name.
  3. Select Edit Column Information

grade center 5.png 


After you have opened up the Edit Column options you will be able to include columns and/or categories.

Include Columns and/or Categories

From the Select Columns section, choose which columns and categories to include in the Weighted Total column and set the weighted percentages.

1. From the Include in Weighted Grade section, click the columns and/or categories to be included in the Weighted Total

2. Using the arrows move columns and/or categories to the "Selected Columns" section

grade center 6.png
3. Set the weights for all columns and categories

With a weighted total column, Blackboard assumes equal points per assignment unless you specify otherwise. You have to select proportionally if the total available points are different for each assignment.

TIP: The total must add up to 100% in order for your Grade Center to work properly.

4. Click Submit

Blackboard will calculate the weighted total by dividing the total points available and assuming that each course activity within a category is worth the same amount of points.

If course activities within the same category have different total possible points you should choose to weigh the column proportionally in order for the weighted total to calculate appropriately.

Columns with text as the primary display cannot be included in a weighted grade. Grading Schemas do not have an impact on the Weighted Total's calculations.

Remember that at any time, if you need assistance with Blackboard or would like further training you can contact the CTS team through the Helpdesk, either by placing a ticket through the HPU Portal (, by sending an email to, or by calling the Helpdesk at 336-841-4357.

 Understanding the Grade Center.pdf