What are the benefits of anonymous grading?

You can enable anonymous grading during the creation stage to eliminate grading bias for high-stake assignments.

Whenever you want to add another layer of fairness and impartiality to your grading, you can use the anonymous grading feature. You won't know who made the submission, so you aren't unduly influenced by a student's previous performance, class participation, conflicts, race, gender, or perceived student aptitude. This practice can also contribute to the student-instructor relationship because students are assured that grading was unbiased.

Watch a video about anonymous grading

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Anonymous grading explains how to set up anonymous grading when you create an assignment.

Enable anonymous grading

When you grade assignments, you can hide student names at any time during the grading process. But, if you enable anonymous grading when you create an assignment, students are notified when they access the assignment. You can also ask students not to include any information that identifies them, such as adding their names to files they attach to assignments.

On the Create Assignment page in the Grading Options section, select the Enable Anonymous Grading check box. Next, choose when you want to automatically remove students' anonymity:

  1. On specific date: Provide the date you want to disable anonymous grading. The system will automatically begin removing anonymity before the end of that date.
  2. After all submissions are graded: Provide a due date. After students submit attempts, the due date passes, and you have graded the attempts, student anonymity is disabled.

Clear the Enable Anonymous Grading check box to manually disable anonymous grading at any time. You can turn anonymous grading on and off until a student submits an attempt. After the first submission, you can only turn it off. If you grade some attempts anonymously, then turn off the anonymous setting, the items graded with revealed names aren't tracked as "Graded Anonymously."

Anonymous grading notifications

You're notified when assignments that are ready to grade anonymously have submissions. Alerts appear in these areas:

  • Needs Grading page—user anonymity is preserved in the list
  • Needs Attention and Alerts modules
  • Individual email notifications
  • SMS, voice, and daily digest email notifications

Access anonymous submissions

You can access assignment submissions that you set for anonymous grading in the Grade Center or on the Needs Grading page.

  1. Grade Center: After an assignment's due date has passed or all attempts have been submitted, access the assignment's column and select Grade Attempts.
  2. Needs Grading page: Filter the items that need grading to show only the assignment you want to grade. From an assignment's menu, select Grade All Users to begin grading.

Both access options take you to the Grade Assignment page where you view submissions and grade as you normally do.

As you navigate from student to student, usernames are replaced with "Anonymous Student." You can also see how many gradable items are in the queue. After anonymous grading is disabled, the grades appear in the Grade Center column.

Multiple anonymous attempts

When you allow multiple attempts, you may not need to grade all of them. When you choose to grade anonymously, student names and attempts are hidden. If you chose to use the first or last attempt for the grade, you can't view how many attempts students have submitted. When you start grading from the grade column, you can easily see which attempts will be calculated as part of student grades.

In the grade column's menu, select Grade Attempts. Navigate to the attempts that appear only with the Needs Grading icon next to Anonymous Student.

Attempts that aren't part of student grade calculations appear with the Does not contribute to user's grade icon, and you don't need to grade them.

If you start grading from the Needs Grading page, you'll see only the attempts that need grading based on which attempt you chose to grade—first or last. You can choose to view all of the attempts. Students' names and attempt statuses are hidden.

More on the Needs Grading page

Additional attempts in anonymous grading

Allow Additional Attempt only appears if a student has already submitted the maximum number of attempts allowed for that assignment. You can continue to offer opportunities to resubmit attempts each time a student reaches the maximum number. You don't have to grade previous attempts to allow a student to submit again.

When an assignment is in an anonymous state, you can still grant a student an additional attempt. You can view student names, but not their submissions or how many attempts are left. Your request is ignored if attempts remain.

Alternatively, select Ignore Attempt to ignore the attempt's score in grade calculations and not count it against the maximum number of attempts.

Send reminders about missing coursework

You can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if you assigned one. You receive a success message at the top of the screen when the email is sent.

You can also send reminders for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses are hidden.

You won't see this menu option if your institution uses an older version of Blackboard Learn.

Proof of anonymous grading

Institutions need a way to validate that specific assignments were graded anonymously.

You and administrators can verify anonymous grading was enabled at the time you gave the grade. Even after anonymity is disabled, verification appears on the attempt's grading screen and in the Grade Center history.

Students are informed if their assignments are set to be graded anonymously on the Upload Assignment page. They're asked not to include any identifying information with their submissions.

On the Review Submission History page or in My Grades, students see a Graded Anonymously icon if their assignments were graded anonymously.

Anonymity in the Grade Center

Students' identities are protected while you grade anonymously:

  • Anonymously graded assignment scores aren't used in calculated columns until you disable anonymity.
  • Anonymously graded assignments don't appear in Grade Center reports until you disable anonymity.
  • Anonymously graded assignment columns aren't available for selection when you download Grade Center data.