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Tips for Calculating your Grade Center

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Many instructors/leaders go through the entire semester only to find out a day or two before grades are due that something is wrong with their grade center calculations.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the hassles.

1. It is strongly recommended that instructors/leaders set up their Blackboard Grade Center with the needed Columns, Categories, Weights, etc. before the semester begins and check calculations regularly throughout the semester.

2. Some instructors/leaders prefer to create their own spread sheet and then upload their grades into Bb. In order to do this successfully, instructors must first download the grade center  from Bb so that the columns and format are correct, edit and then upload it back into Bb.

3. Download the grade center and calculate totals in Excel whenever doing anything that involves extra credit or specialized computations.

4. When using the weighted columns, it is best to categorize each item (Assignment, Attendance, Essay, Exam, Extra Credit, Final Exam, Group, Project, Homework, Journal, Lab, Midterm Exam, Other, Paper,Presentation, Problem Set, Quiz, Survey, etc.). Categories will allow you to sort (minimize the number of items to view on the screen) and helps with weighting.

5. One of the grade display options that can be used on each column is Complete/Incomplete. Assignments designated Complete receive the maximum Points Possible value. Incomplete assignments will receive a value of zero.

6. If you have copied your current course from another course, it is recommended to ensure old content/assignment/test columns are not included in the final calculations.

7. Assignments must be in a Category in order to drop grades automatically.

8. To exclude a column from the grade total, click on the action link (the double downward pointing arrows) next to the column name, click on Edit Column Information, scroll down to the Options section, and check the No button for the Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations option.

9. If grades are weighted by category and uses the drop the lowest grade option you should not use "Exempt." An instructor needs to use exempt or weight by category - drop the lowest grade; not both.

10. To display Extra Credit items set the Category to Extra Credit, make the Possible Points zero ("0"), and include the item in the Gradebook Calculations.

11. To weight grades, you will need to have all the categories set up in the Grade Center and you must make sure that all the categories collectively add up to 100%, otherwise grade calculations will not come out correctly.

12. Proportional and Equal weighting is a setting when you weight by category. It only makes a difference if you have columns with different points possible in the same category (e.g. a Discussion category with columns worth 5 points and columns worth 10 points). If all of the columns in the category are equal, both settings work the same way.

13. To Hide a column from the instructor view ONLY, go to Row Visibility or Column Organization.

14. To Hide a column from a the student view ONLY go to Hide a Column from Students/Participants.

15When instructors tell Grade Center to drop the lowest grade, it only does this for the calculations for which the setting is activated.  It doesn’t actually physically remove the grade from sight.  Students will always be able to see all their grades, unless the instructor chooses to hide a column from “My Grades.”

 

This article was updated: 05/8/2017