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Table of Contents

Creating and Managing Grade Center Columns

Last Modified
11:01, 13 Mar 2013

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 abilities to hide and show columns, associate columns with categories and grading periods, and view columns in any order.

Grade Center columns are utilized by course functions outside of the Grade Center. For example, when you create adaptive release and Early Warning System/Retention Center rules, you can select Grade Center grade and calculated columns as rule criteria. To learn more, see Controlling the Release of ContentEarly Warning System, and Using the Retention Center.

Your school controls whether this tool is available and whether you have access to the Early Warning System or the Retention Center for creating rules.

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.

On the Users page, you can make a user unavailable. In the Grade Center, the User Unavailable icon ( ) appears in an unavailable user's column. To learn more, see Enrolling and Managing Users. However, the user's row is not hidden in the grid. Unavailable users cannot access your course.

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To sort any column, click the column heading or caret. 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.

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: You can deliver assignments to individuals or groups. When an assignment is ready to grade, the needs grading icon ( green exclamation mark ) appears in a student’s cell in the Grade Center, and you must grade the attempt manually.
  • Surveys: Surveys are scored automatically by the system. When a student completes a survey, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the student’s cell in the Grade Center. To view survey results, access the column’s contextual menu and select Attempts Statistics. On the Survey Statistics page, you can view the percentage of students who selected each answer. You cannot view individual results.
  • Tests: Most test questions are scored automatically by the system. If you create a test that is comprised only of questions scored automatically, the grades appear in the students' cells in the Grade Center. If you create a test that contains questions that you need to score manually, such as essay or short answer questions, the needs grading icon appears in students' cells for completed tests. You must grade those questions before the test results appear in the students' cells.
  • Discussion board: If you enabled grading for forums or threads, you must manually grade submitted posts. After a student submits a post, the needs grading icon does not appear in the student’s cell in the Grade Center. If you start the grading process in the discussion board tool, you can view who has posts that require grading. On the Grade Discussion Forum and Grade Discussion Thread pages, the needs grading icon appears next to users who have submitted one or more posts.

    When a group member submits a post in a graded group discussion board, the grade you assign is only for the individual member.

  • Blogs, journals, and wikis: If you enabled grading, you must manually grade submitted entries and wiki contributions. After a student submits work, the needs grading icon does not appear in the student’s cell in the Grade Center. If you start the grading process in the appropriate tool, you can view who has work that requires grading. On the tool's topic page in the side panel, the needs grading icon appears next to users who have submitted work.

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.

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 school.

You can use calculated columns to do the following:

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.

Two calculated columns are created by default and appear in new courses—the Total and Weighted Total columns. You can rename, change the settings, determine which columns are included, or delete these default columns.

Default Total Column

  • Sum of all grade columns.
  • Calculated columns are not included.
  • Ungraded items are not included. You can change this by editing the column and selecting No for Calculate as Running Total.
  • Included in Smart Views > Final Grade View. To learn more, see Using Smart Views in the Grade Center.
  • Set as the external grade column. This is the column used for the final grade and shared with the school as the student's grade for your course. Set any column as the external grade column by accessing the contextual menu in the column header. Select Set as External Grade. You must set another column as the external grade before you can delete the Total column.

Default Weighted Total Column

  • No default settings. You must edit the column to select the columns to include in the weight calculation.
  • Included in Smart Views > Final Grade View.

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only two decimal places. Grades 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.

Weighted totals are calculated based on percentages; they are not based on grading schemas/letter grades. Columns included in the Weighted Total are not displayed using the same grading schema as the input grade values. Grading schemas simply map a range of percentages to a particular label for display purposes. They do not have an impact on the weighted total's underlying calculations, which are based on percentages or points/points possible.

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.

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.

 

Image illustrating associated text

In the preceding image, two grade columns are shown:

  • Participation: Created manually by an instructor to record participation grades.
  • Chapter 1 Test: Created automatically by the system when an instructor created and deployed the test.

The data in the "Participation" column is populated when an instructor manually assigns the grades. The data in the "Chapter 1 Test" column is populated when students complete their tests and the test is scored automatically by the system. If the test includes questions that an instructor must grade, such as an essay or short answer question, the needs grading icon ( green check mark ) appears in the students’ cells after the tests are submitted.

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

  • Choose how the grade appears. You can display the grades in the Grade Center grid and on students’ My Grades pages as a score, letter, text, percentage, or as complete/incomplete.
  • Associate it with a category and grading period.
  • 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.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. If you point to the column heading, you can see its full name on the Grade Information Bar.

  3. 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.
  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. 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.

      Image illustrating associated text

  5. 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.

    Image illustrating associated text

    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.

  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.

    Image illustrating associated text

  7. In the Points Possible box, type the total points. Entries must be numeric.
  8. If grading periods exist, you can associate the column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  9. Optionally, select the option next to Due Date and type a date (mm/dd/yyyy) or use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar. Columns that you assigned a due date to are associated automatically with a grading period if the due date falls within the date range of the grading period. The option to automatically associate columns with a grading period is set when creating or editing a grading period. You can use due dates with the Early Warning System/Retention Center to generate an alert if a test or assignment is not submitted on time. To learn more, see Early Warning System or Using the Retention Center.
  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.

    When editing the Grade Center column for a test, the options to Include this Column in Other Grade Center Calculations and Show Statistics (average and median) for this Column to Students in My Grades are not available if you select the option to Hide Results for this Test Completely from Instructor and the Grade Center on the Test Options page.

  11. Click Submit.

    Image illustrating associated text

After you create a grade column, you can:

  • Associate a rubric with it to make grading 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. You can change this by editing the column and selecting No for Calculate as Running Total.
  • Included in Smart Views > Final Grade View. To learn more, see Using Smart Views in the Grade Center.
  • Set as the external grade column, which is the grade reported to your school. You cannot delete the default total column until you set another column as the external grade. Set any column as the external grade column by accessing the contextual menu in the column header. Select Set as External Grade.

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.

Total Points Formula

Add the points possible of all selected columns to find the total points. Then, add a student’s earned scores for all selected columns. This is the total earned out of the total points possible. Exempted items are ignored. The results display according to the Primary and Secondary Display options.

Column 1 points earned + Column 2 points earned + Column 3 points earned + Column 4 points earned = Total Points Earned out of Total Points Possible

Student A

Eight values: 8/10, 3/5, 2/2, 3/7, 47/50, 20/25, 88/100

Earned Points Value: 171

Points Possible Value: 199

Total Points: 171/199

Student B

Eight values: 9/10, X (exempt), 1/2, 5/7, 45/50, X, 22/25, 90/100

Earned Points Value: 172

Points Possible Value: 194

Total Points: 172/194

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

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.

Selected Columns

You create a total column to determine the final grade for the first quarter that includes all of the columns in the first quarter grading period.

Selected Columns and Categories

You want to provide students with a percentage score showing their effort on assignments and participation. When you create a total column, you select the Assignment category and two participation columns. Students can view their percentage scores in My Grades.

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.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. 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 on their My Grades pages. 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: This default display option does not display text for a total column or allow you to type directly in the column's cell to edit it. If you select Text, the numeric score appears in the column. If you want to display text values, you must create a custom text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor -OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they will see the text values for their grades.
    • 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.

      Image illustrating associated text

  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.

    Image illustrating associated text

  7. If grading periods exist, you can associate the total column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  8. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the total column's calculation. The following table lists the options.
    Column Options
    Option Description
    All Grade Columns Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
    All Grade Columns in Grading Period Select a grading period from the drop-down list to include only those columns associated with the grading period in the calculation. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear.
    Selected Columns and Categories Select grade columns and categories individually.

    Select the columns in the Columns to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a column, you can view information about the column in the Column Information area below the Columns to Select box.

    A column that is set to No for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations does not appear in the selection list.

    For Windows, to select multiple items in a list, press the SHIFT key and click the first and last items. To select items out of sequence, press the CTRL key and click each item needed. For Macs, press the COMMAND key instead of the CTRL key.

    Select the categories in the Categories to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a category, you can view which columns are included in the category in the Category Information area below the Categories to Select box. Other options appear after you move the category to the Selected Columns box:

    • If grading periods exist, make a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. If you selected a category for the calculation, you can limit the columns used by selecting a particular Grading Period.
    • Drop Grades removes a number of either the highest or lowest grades for each category from the calculation. If you do not type numbers in the boxes, no grades are dropped.
    • Use only the Lowest -OR- Highest Value to Calculate removes all grades from the calculation except for the best or worst score.

    To delete a selection in the Selected Columns box, click the red X.

  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.

    Image illustrating associated text

  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.

    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 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 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.

Image illustrating associated text

To keep a total column in view, despite the addition of other columns, move the column and freeze it on the Column Organization page.

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

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.

A weighted total column is created by default and appears in new courses. 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 assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

Weighted Quarter Final Grade

You can create a weighted column that calculates a grade for one quarter of the year in which the Test category, the Assignment category, and the participation grade column are each given a certain percentage of the quarter's final grade for your course.

(Tests = 40%) + (Assignments = 40%) + (Participation = 20%) = (Quarter Final Grade)

Weighted Final Grade for the Year

You can create any number of weighted columns, including weighted columns that include other weighted columns. You can create a weighted column that uses the quarters’ weighted columns and the final test grade columns to calculate the final grade for your course.

(Quarter 1 = 15%) + (Quarter 2 = 20%) + (Quarter 3 = 15%) + (Quarter 4 = 20%) + (2 Semester Tests = 30%) = (Year Final Grade)

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

In a new course, the default total column is the default external grade column, but you can set any column as the external grade. The external grade is the grade reported to your school.

How to Create 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 you create a weighted column, you can include other calculated columns or other weighted columns. You can change your selections at any time and the calculation updates automatically.

A weighted total column is created by default and appears in new courses. You can rename, change the settings, 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.

When you create a weighted 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).
  • Selected Columns from a Grading Period: If grading periods exist and you have chosen a category, include only the grade columns that have been associated with a specific grading period.

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

Simple Weighted Column for First Quarter

You create a weighted column based on two columns and two categories:

  • Assignments Category = 25%
  • Chapter Quizzes Category = 25%
  • Midterm Test = 20%
  • Final Test = 30%

Use the following steps to create a weighted column.

  1. In the Grade Center, point to Create Calculated Column on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select Weighted Column.
  3. On the Create Weighted 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.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. 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. Five default options appear:
    • Score: A numeric grade appears in the column.
    • 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: This default display option does not display text for a weighted column or allow you to type directly in the column's cell to edit it. If you select Text, the numeric score appears in the column. If you want to display text values, you must create a custom text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor -OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they will see the text values for their grades.
    • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%. If you do not make a selection, the percentage appears in the grid.
    • Complete/Incomplete: When a student submits an item, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.

      Image illustrating associated text

  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.

    Image illustrating associated text

  7. If grading periods exist, you can associate the weighted column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  8. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the weighted column's calculation and assign percentages for each column or category.
    • Select the columns in the Columns to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a column, you can view information about the column in the Column Information area below the Columns to Select box.

      A column that is set to No for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations does not appear in the selection list.

      For Windows, to select multiple items in a list, press the SHIFT key and click the first and last items. To select items out of sequence, press the CTRL key and click each item needed. For Macs, press the COMMAND key instead of the CTRL key.

    • Select the categories in the Categories to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a category, you can view which columns are included in the category in the Category Information area below the Categories to Select box. The following table lists the options that appear after you move a category to the Selected Columns box. Option Description
      Category Options
      Option Description
      Grading Period drop-down list If you created no grading periods, the drop-down list does not appear. If you selected a category for the calculation, you can limit the columns used by selecting a particular grading period.
      Weight Columns Select how to weigh columns within the category.
      • Select Equally to apply equal value to all columns within a category.
      • Select Proportionally to apply the appropriate value to a column based on its points compared to other columns in the category.
      Drop Grades Removes a number of either the highest or lowest grades for each category from the calculation. If you do not type numbers in the boxes, no grades are dropped.
      Use only the Lowest -OR- Highest Value to Calculate Removes all grades from the calculation except for the best or worst score.

      To delete a selection in the Selected Columns box, click the red X.

  9. Type a percentage for each selection. The percentages of all columns added together must equal 100 percent. After assigning the last percentage, click anywhere in the box to update the percentage below the Selected Columns box in the Total Weight field.
  10. 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.

    Image illustrating associated text

  11. 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.
  12. Click Submit.

The new weighted 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. Be sure the percentages total 100%. Once edited, the calculation updates automatically.

You are not allowed to type directly in a weighted 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 weighted column.

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If you delete a column that is included in the calculation for a weighted column, the percentage assigned to the deleted column is removed. In the Selected Columns box, the Total Weight will no longer equal 100%. The calculation does balance itself, but it will not necessarily be based on the percentages you assigned because a column is missing. The system does not update percentages in the Selected Columns box, but the grade that appears in the weighted column in the Grade Center is based on 100%.

To keep a weighted column in view, despite the addition of other columns, move the column and freeze it on the Column Organization page.

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

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.

Simple Average Formula

To find the average of all selected columns, the percentage is calculated to four decimal places. The percentage values for all selected columns are added together. The result is divided by the number of columns included in the calculation. The results display according to the Primary and Secondary Display options.

(Column 1%) + (Column 2%) + (Column 3%) + (Column 4%) = % earned divided by 4 columns = Average percentage score

 

Three values: 8/10, 3/5, 2/2

Percentage equivalents: 80.0000%, 60.0000%, 100.0000%

Total of the values: 240.0000

Number of items: 3

Total value divided by number of columns: 240.0000/3 = 80.00%

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

How to Create Average Columns

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.
  • 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 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.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. 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. Five default options appear:
    • Score: A numeric grade appears in the column.
    • 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: This default display option does not display text for an average column or allow you to type directly in the column's cell to edit it. If you select Text, the numeric score appears in the column. If you want to display text values, you must create a custom text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor -OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they will see the text values for their grades.
    • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%. If you do not make a selection, the percentage appears in the grid.
    • Complete/Incomplete: When a student submits an item, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.

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  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. If grading periods exist, you can associate an average column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  8. In the Select Columns section, select what to include in the average column's calculation. The following table lists the options.
    Option Description
    All Grade Columns Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
    All Grade Columns in Grading Period Select a grading period from the drop-down list to include only those columns associated with the grading period in the calculation. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear.
    Selected Columns and Categories Select grade columns and categories individually.

    Select the columns in the Columns to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a column, you can view information about the column in the Column Information area below the Columns to Select box.

    A column that is set to No for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations does not appear in the selection list.

    For Windows, to select multiple items in a list, press the SHIFT key and click the first and last items. To select items out of sequence, press the CTRL key and click each item needed. For Macs, press the COMMAND key instead of the CTRL key.

    Select the categories in the Categories to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a category, you can view which columns are included in the category in the Category Information area below the Categories to Select box. Other options appear after you move the category to the Selected Columns box:

    • If grading periods exist, make a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. If you selected a category for the calculation, you can limit the columns used by selecting a particular grading period
    • Weight Columns allows you to select how to weigh columns within the category.
      • Select Equally to apply equal values to all columns within a category.
      • Select Proportionally to apply the appropriate value to a column based on its points compared to other columns in the category.
    • Drop Grades removes a number of either the highest or lowest grades for each category from the calculation. If you do not type numbers in the boxes, no grades are dropped.
    • Use only the Lowest -OR- Highest Value to Calculate removes all grades from the calculation except for the best or worst score.

    To delete a selection in the Selected Columns box, click the red X.

  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.

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  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 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.
  11. Click Submit.

The new average 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 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.

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To keep an average column in view, despite the addition of other columns, move the column and freeze it on the Column Organization page.

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

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.

Minimum/Maximum Formula

Minimum: The percentage value for each column included in the calculation is compared up to four decimal places and the lowest value is displayed. The result displays up to two decimal places.

Maximum: The percentage value for each column included in the calculation is compared up to four decimal places and the highest value is displayed. The result displays up to two decimal places.

 

Three values: 8/10, 3/5, 2/2

Percentage equivalents: 80.0000%, 60.0000%, 100.0000%

Minimum: 60.00%

Maximum: 100.00%

If two values are exactly the same for a minimum/maximum column, that is the value that appears in the Grade Center grid.

How to Create 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. 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.
  • 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 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.

    Only the first 14-15 characters typed in either name box appear in the column heading in the Grade Center grid. 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 on their My Grades pages. The default setting is Percentage. If you created any custom grading schemas, they appear in the list. Five default options appear:
    • Score: A numeric grade appears in the column.
    • 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: This default display option does not display text for a minimum/maximum column or allow you to type directly in the column's cell to edit it. If you select Text, the numeric score appears in the column. If you want to display text values, you must create a custom text grading schema. Examples of text values include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor -OR- Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory. If you choose to share the column results with students in My Grades, they will see the text values for their grades.
    • Percentage: A percentage appears in the column. For example, a score of 21/30 appears as 70%. If you do not make a selection, the percentage appears in the grid.
    • Complete/Incomplete: When a student submits an item, a check mark ( check mark ) appears in the column, regardless of the score achieved.

      Image illustrating associated text

  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. If grading periods exist, you can associate the minimum/maximum column with a grading period by making a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. You can use grading periods to filter Grade Center data and create calculated columns.
  8. In the Select Columns section, select Calculation Type: Minimum or Maximum.
  9. Select what to include in the minimum/maximum column's calculation. The following table lists the options.
    Minimum/Maximum Column Options
    Option Description
    All Grade Columns Include all individual grade columns in the Grade Center.
    All Grade Columns in Grading Period Select a grading period from the drop-down list to include only those columns associated with the grading period in the calculation. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear.
    Selected Columns and Categories Select grade columns and categories individually.

    Select the columns in the Columns to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a column, you can view information about the column in the Column Information area below the Columns to Select box.

    A column that is set to No for Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations does not appear in the selection list.

    For Windows, to select multiple items in a list, press the SHIFT key and click the first and last items. To select items out of sequence, press the CTRL key and click each item needed. For Macs, press the COMMAND key instead of the CTRL key.

    Select the categories in the Categories to Select box and click the right-pointing arrow to move the selections to the Selected Columns box. When you select a category, you can view which columns are included in the category in the Category Information area below the Categories to Select box. Other options appear after you move the category to the Selected Columns box:

    • If grading periods exist, make a selection in the Grading Period drop-down list. If no grading periods exist, the drop-down list does not appear. If you selected a category for the calculation, you can limit the columns used by selecting a particular grading period.

    To delete a selection in the Selected Columns box, click the red X.

  10. 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.

    Image illustrating associated text

  11. 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.
  12. 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.

Image illustrating associated text

To keep a minimum/maximum column in view, despite the addition of other columns, move the column and freeze it on the Column Organization page.

You can assign a grade to a maximum of four decimal places, but the Grade Center displays only to a maximum of two decimal places. Grades 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.

Understanding the External Grade Column

The results in the external grade column are shared with your school as your students’ grades for your course. 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 ( ) 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.

If you copy or restore a course, the external grade column you chose remains as the external grade column.

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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.

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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 ( ) 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 ( ) 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

For each column, you can choose how grades appear to students in My Grades and in the Grade Center grid. Select Edit Column Information in the column's contextual menu. On the Edit Column page, you can change the grade display in the Primary and Secondary Display drop-down lists. If you choose to share the column results with students, they see grade values based on what you select in the Primary Display drop-down list, such as Score, Letter, or Percentage. The Secondary Display selection is optional and only appears in the Grade Center.

At any time, you can also change the grading schema to display grades based on new grading schemas you create. For example, for a particular test, you want to make an adjustment because of low scores. You can associate a custom grading schema with that test's column to reflect a curve you want to apply to those lower scores. You can create as many test grading schemas as needed to fulfill your grading requirements and associate them with the appropriate columns in the Grade Center.

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

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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.

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.

    Image illustrating associated text

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

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. However, when you delete a SafeAssignment in your course, you must also delete the corresponding column in the Grade Center.

grade_center_columns_delete_blog.png

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.

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.

Columns in Grade Center

Grade Center columns with points possible
Column Points Possible
Assign 1 10
Assign 2 10
Essay 50
Test 30
Extra Credit 0
Total 100

Be sure to set the total column as the external grade column.

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.

    Image illustrating associated text

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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