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Tips and Tricks on Using the Gradebook

Most of you would like to provide your students with an electronic method to view their grade for your course. Now that grades cannot be posted on office hallways and it is too time consuming to do in class, a lot of you would like to use Blackboard's Gradebook. This page can give you some tips and tricks to help save time and with pedagogical methods.

Even if you do not plan on using the Blackboard Gradebook as the final method for determining Grades, it is a great way to allow students to stay up-to-date with their class standing without using your class time or office hours.

The Gradebook Tutorial will assist you with create items, change order, modify settings, set grade display, totals, weights, downloading and uploading the Gradebook.

Managing Your Gradebook
   Extra Credit
What Do Students See (View Grade)
Entering Grades
Display Grades as a Value


Managing Your Gradebook
 

Depending on if all the items in the Gradebook are graded or if there is extra credit (not counted against their final grade), will direct what you do in the Gradebook to calculate the correct Total .

All Items Graded

Setting up the Gradebook Items
Even if you do not plan on using the Blackboard Gradebook as the final method for determining Grades, it is a great way to allow students to stay up-to-date with their class standing without using your class time or office hours.

For information on how to create items, change order, modify settings, set grade display, totals, weights, downloading and uploading the Gradebook, please go to the Gradebook tutorial.

Categorizing Items

While adding your items make sure that you give it a category (Assignment, Attendance, Essay, Exam, Extra Credit, Final Exam, Group, Project, Homework, Journal, Lab, Midterm Exam, Other, Paper, Presentation, Problem Set, Quiz, and Survey). Categories will allow you to sort (minimize the number of items to view on the sheet) and helps with weighting.

Gradebook screen image

Extra Credit

Setting up an Extra Credit Item
If you would like to create an Extra Credit item in your Gradebook there are two different ways depending on if you weight the grades or not.

Adding Extra Credit Items ( Weighted)

If your Gradebook is Weighted, you can still add Extra Credit. Say you want to give your students an extra 15 points of the total course grade for completing some particular Extra Credit tasks, then you may simply create the New Item, set the Category to Extra Credit, make the Possible Points one ("1"), and set the Weighting to 1%. Make sure you modify the whole Weighting point value to equal 100%.

Screen image of an Add Item field

In the Gradebook, give all the students 1 point to avoid complaints that only a total of 99% is possible without the extra credit value.

Screen image of Extra Credit equals 1   Screen image of Extra Credit Gradebook

When the students had completed the Extra Credit items, add the point value to the Gradebook.

Screen Image of Extra Credit added

Adding Extra Credit Items (non Weighted)

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

Screen image of Extra Credit options

Categorizing Items

While adding your Extra Credit items make sure that you give it an Extra Credit category. Categories will allow you to sort to minimize the number of items on the sheet.

Screen image of gradebook

What Do Students See

Depending on how you set up your Gradebook (Extra Credit, Weighting, Null Values, etc.) will vary what is displayed in their My Grades area. Here is a screen image of one example.

screen image of student view My Grade

A Time Saver for Entering Grades

After adding an item in the Gradebook (a list of the enrolled students will appear), you can assign grades quick and easy by...

From the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Gradebook link under the Assessment section.
  2. Click on the Item Name link in the Gradebook column.
  3. Screen image of the Gradebook


  4. Type the point values into the text fields. Use the Tab key to move to the next box.
  5. Screen image of the Gradebook Item


  6. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Submit button.

More Information

Q: How can I add a letter grade to the Gradebook?
A: You may add a new Grade Display Option which allows you to set letter grades.

Display Grades as a Value (not a Check Mark)

The default setting for a grade item is a Score. Although if you are using Surveys their setting will be Complete/Incomplete. When you create the item...

From the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Gradebook link in the Assessment section.
  2. Click on the Add Item icon.
  3. Type in the item’s name in the Item Name field.
  4. Choose a category from the Category drop-down menu.
  5. Type a description of the item in the Description field.
  6. Choose a date for the Gradebook item.
  7. Type in the amount of points possible for this item in the Points Possible field.
  8. Choose a display option in the Display As drop-down menu.
      - Choose Score : point value.
      - Choose Complete/Incomplete : a check mark.
      - Choose Text : a number value and text (ex: excused).
  9. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Submit button.

More Information

Q: What can I do if the Gradebook displays a check mark and not the score?
A: The Gradebook item can be modified.

From the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Gradebook link in the Assessment section.
  2. Click on the name of the item (ex: Midterm 1).
  3. Click on the Item Information link.
  4. Choose Score in the Display As option.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Submit button.

 

Running Total / Running Weighted Total

New courses in Blackboard no longer us Running due to the greater potential for error with Null Values. If you choose to use Running, please read more about how the Running settings.