What are columns for?

Columns in the Grade Center can be used for several purposes. Most commonly, columns are used to record grade information for assignments, tests, etc. (regular columns); or to make calculations based on information in other columns (calculated columns).


Note: Many tools available in Blackboard Content Areas (e.g., Tests, Assignments, graded Discusison Board forums) will also generate columns in your Grade Center. To record scores for any such tools, you do not need to manually create a Grade Center column.


Creating a new regular column

If you create a regular column, you must manually enter grades into this column for every student. This might be approriate for an assignmet you collect in class, or to record participation points.

  1. From the Grade Center, click the Create Column button. The Create Grade Column page will display.
  2. In the Column Name field, type a name for your column (e.g., Participation). This name will be visible to your students.
  3. (Optional) In the Description field, type a description for your column.
  4. In the Primary Display field, choose from the drop-down menu an option for displaying grade information in this column.

    Note: If you have created custom Grade Schemas, the schemas you created will appear in this list.

  5. (Optional) In the Category field, choose a category for this column.

    Note: Categories can be used to weigh grades. If you use a weighted grade system, you will need to label each column in your Grade Center with a Category. Categories can also be used as search criteria for Smart Views (see below for related articles).

  6. In the Points Possible field, type the number of points possible for this column.

    Note: To make this an extra credit column,  type 0 in this field.

  7. (Optional) You may enter a due date for this column in the Due Date field. This is cosmetic only.
  8. Under Options, make the following choices:    
    1. For Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations, click Yes if you want this score to be recorded and to influnce student grades.
    2. For Show this Column to Students, choose Yes to make the column visible to students.
    3. For Show Statistics, choose Yes if you want the mean and median scores to be displayed to students in their My Grades tool.
  9. Click Submit. Your column will be added to the right-hand side of the Grade Center. If your Grade Center has many columns, you may need to scroll to the right to see your new column.


Creating a new calculated column

There are four kinds of calculated columns to choose from:

  • Average columns calculate an arithmetic mean from grade information in other selected columns (or all columns).
  • Minimum/Maximum columns calculate either the minimum or the maximum grade for a selected number of columns (or all columns).
  • Total columns calculate a total from a selected number of columns (or all columns). A total can be displayed as total points, a percentage, or a letter grade. Total columns can also be configured to display a running total, in which case the total reflects only columns in which there are scores or grade attempts. This is ideal for displaying student grades up to the moment (provided you have entered all available grade information).
  • Weighted columns calculate a grade from a selected number of columns based on each column's respective worth of the total grade.

    Note: Weighted columns can be complicated. Absent a compelling need, you should avoid weighted columns. Calculated columns cannot calculate from columns whose primary display is text. To use calculated columns, source columns (your regular columns) must display numeric scores.


To create an Average column:


  1. From the Grade Center, mouse-over Create Calculated Column, and click Average Column. The Create Average Column page will display.
  2. In the Column Name field, type a name for your column.
  3. For Primary Display, choose an option for displaying the calculation (e.g., score, percentage).
  4. Under Select Columns, choose to include either All Grade Columns or Selected Columns and Categories.      
    1. If you choose All Grade Columns, skp to step 5.
    2. If you choose Selected Columns and Categories, the column selection options will display.
    3. From the Columns to Select and Categories to Select box, click a column you want to include in the calculation, and then click the right-pointing arrow immediately to the right. The column or category name will be removed from source box and appear under Selected Columns.
    4. Repeat the previous step until all desired columns and categories appear in the Selected Columns box.
  5. Under Options, configure settings as desired.
  6. Click Submit. Your column will now appear in the Grade Center.


To create a Minimum/Maximum column:


  1. From the Grade Center, mouse-over Create Calculated Column, and click Minimum/Maximum Column. The Create Minimum/Maximum Column page will display.
  2. For Column Name, type a name for your column.
  3. Under Primary Display, choose an option for displaying the calculation (e.g., score, percentage).
  4. Under Select Columns, for  Calculation Type, click Minimum or Maximum.
  5. Under Select Columns,  for Include in Minimum/Maximum, choose either All Grade Columns or Selected Columns and Categories.    
    1. If you chose All Grade Columns, skip to step 6.
    2. If you chose Selected Columns and Categories, the column selection options will display.
    3. From the Columns to Select and Categories to Select box, click a column you want to include in the calculation, and then click the right-pointing arrow immediately to the right. The column or category name will be removed from source box and appear under Selected Columns.
    4. Repeat the previous step until all desired columns and categories appear in the Selected Columns box.
  6. Under Options, configure settings as desired.
  7. Click Submit. Your column will now appear in the Grade Center.


To create a Total column:


  1. From the Grade Center, mouse-over Create Calculated Column, and click Total Column. The Create Total Column page will display.
  2. For Column Name, type a name for your column.
  3. Under Primary Display, choose an option for displaying the calculation (e.g., score, percentage).
  4. Under Select Columns,  for Include in Total, choose either All Grade Columns or Selected Columns and Categories.    
    1. If you chose All Grade Columns, skip to step 5.
    2. If you chose Selected Columns and Categories, the column selection options will display.
    3. From the Columns to Select and Categories to Select box, click a column you want to include in the calculation, and then click the right-pointing arrow immediately to the right. The column or category name will be removed from source box and appear under Selected Columns.
    4. Repeat the previous step until all desired columns and categories appear in the Selected Columns box.
  5. If desired, for Calculate as Running Total, click Yes (see above for a description of the running total option).
  6. Under Options, configure settings as desired.
  7. Click Submit. Your column will now appear in the Grade Center.


To create a Weighted column:

  1. From the Grade Center, mouse-over Create Calculated Column, and click Weighted Column. The Create Weighted Column page will display.
  2. For Column Name, type a name for your column.
  3. Under Primary Display, choose an option for displaying the calculation (e.g., score, percentage).
  4. Under Select Columns,  for Include in Weighted Grade, choose either All Grade Columns or Selected Columns and Categories.    
    1. If you chose All Grade Columns, skip to step 5.
    2. If you chose Selected Columns and Categories, the column selection options will display.
    3. From the Columns to Select and Categories to Select box, click a column you want to include in the calculation, and then click the right-pointing arrow immediately to the right. The column or category name will be removed from source box and appear under Selected Columns.          
      1. For each column added to the Selected Columns box, you must type a percentage into the box that appears. This is the weight you are assigning to this column.
    4. Repeat the previous step until all desired columns and categories appear in the Selected Columns box.

      Note: Percentages in the Selected Columns box must summ to 100%.

  5. If desired, for Calculate as Running Total, click Yes (see above for a description of the running total option).
  6. Under Options, configure settings as desired.
  7. Click Submit. Your column will now appear in the Grade Center.


Creating and Removing Columns in the Grade Center


Blackboard Overview Part 7: Grade Center