Vendor Documentation: “Getting Started with the Grade Center”
Grade Center Overview
Here are some of the actions that the Grade Center can help you with:
- Calculating Final Grades
- Tracking Learner Performance
- Grading by Rubrics
- Assessing Work Anonymously
- Grading Offline
- Using Excel to Update Grade Center
- Tracking Grade Changes through Grade History
- Creating Grade Reports for Learners
Understanding the Grade Center
The Grade Center is divided into three main areas:
- Columns – for displaying assignments, user information, etc.
- Rows – for displaying students, their grades, their assignment submissions
- Menus – for adding columns, creating columns that calculate scores, changing the data displayed, creating grade reports, and more
When you create an item that can be graded (such as an assignment or test) in your Blackboard course, a column is usually added to your Grade Center for that item. If you want to add a grade for items that do not appear elsewhere in your Blackboard course site, for example “Class Participation,” you will have to manually create a column to track scores. Information about creating Grade Center columns can be found here.
Customizing your Grade Center
You can also change the way your Grade Center is organized through the MANAGE menu, which contains the following features:
Grading Periods – create date-ranges that you can use at a later time to filter your Grade Center. For instance, you may want to create a “First-Half of the Semester” and “Second-Half of the Semester” Grading Periods before your course goes live. Then, when setting up assignments and assessments, you can designate a Grading Period for them and then run reports on student progress on both periods.
Grading Schemas – A Grading Schema is a table that maps letter grades with numeric scores (ex. A+ = 95-100, A = 92-94, etc.). You can create your own Grading Schema for grading if the default schemas do not meet your needs. JUST MAKE SURE NOT to change your Grading Schemas during the semester because it may cause problems in your Grade Center. Always setup Grading Schemas before your course goes live.
Grading Color Codes – create color codes based on student performance, or change the color codes for grades that are “In Progress,” “Needs Grading,” and/or “Exempt” grades. Once a color code is created, Blackboard will change the background color of cells in the Grade Center based on the criteria you used to setup the code. For instance, you could setup a Color Code Criteria that makes the background color of any cell in your Grade Center “red” if a grade is 70% or below. Then, you can visually see those learners who may be in need of help. Color Codes can be turned off while viewing the Grade Center, if you only want to see them when you want.
Categories – If you intend to have Blackboard calculate final grades for you, AND you use weighted categories to calculate final grades (Assignments are worth 25 % of the final grade, Assessments are worth 25%, etc.), then you will need to make sure that you setup your Categories before the course goes live and apply them to all graded assignments in the course. Categories can also be used to create Smart Views (see below) so that you can filter the view of the Grade Center to only show Assignments, or Assessments, or Blog-Grades, etc.
Smart Views – are filters that allow you to look at your Grade Center from different views. For example, if you have labeled all of the Assignments in your course with the Assignment Category, you can setup a Smart View of your Grade Center that filters out all columns EXCEPT for columns with the Assignment category. You can also use Smart Views to make it easier for your Teaching Assistants (T.A.s) to view ONLY their students. Smart Views are a powerful tool to help you manage large Grade Centers, and Grade Centers in large-lecture courses.
Column Organization – is where you need to go if you want to rearrange the order of the columns in your Grade Center, freeze columns so that they remain in place while scrolling, applying a category to multiple columns and hiding/showing multiple columns at once. You can organize your columns by dragging and dropping them one at a time, or you can use the column headers to rearrange by Title of Column, Grading Period, Category, Due Date, Date Created or Points Possible.
Row Visibility – gives you the ability to hide rows in your Grade Center in order to un-clutter the view. You can use this feature to hide learners who may have dropped your course, but still remain in it.
Send Email – gives you the ability to email users directly through the Grade Center.