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Blackboard learn: Grade Center

If you are the type of learner who likes to watch how a task is completed before trying it yourself, videos of each task in this packet are available at

This handout is designed to support skill-building as you work with Blackboard Learn. Check the boxes next to steps when you have finished them. Demos and instructions for each Section will be provided by the trainer. 

If you need help at any time while you are in class, raise your hand and one of the teaching team members will assist you. 

Major navigation symbols: Expand menu options: arrows to expand menu; Edit Mode on/off edit mode on

Activity 1: Getting Started with Grade Center View


To Introduce you to how grading columns are created and the options available for customizing them. Also, you will learn how to manage and organize columns.

Step 1:

  1. To get started, Locate the gray, Course Management Control Panel menu and click on the Grade Center link. 
    Course management menu with grade center highlighted
  2. The Needs Grading link allows instructors to view and grade items, such as tests or assignments that have been turned in by students. As for the other links or Smart View links, they are filtered views of Grade Center data. Two are created automatically for a course, Assignments and Tests.
  3. With the menu expanded, click on Full Grade Center.

Create a Gradable Column

Step 1

  1. Create Column and type ‘Participation’ in the Column Name, which is a required field. Complete the remaining options under Column Information
    create column option selected
  2. <span]>Select the Primary Display as ‘Score’ for a gradable item. 

  3. Enter an amount in the Points Possible box. 

Step 2

  1. Complete Dates, and enter a due date and time using the icons for calendar and time. 

Step 3

Complete Options: 

  1. Select “Include this Column in Grade Center Calculations” to designate it as gradable. 
  2. Select “Show this Column to Students.” It will then appear in My Grades. (To change that later, click on the arrow symbol down arrownext to the column title and Select Edit Column Information.
  3. Select the Submit button at the bottom of the screen. 
  4. Note: (As you hover over the column headings in the Grade Center, it will tell you if the column is gradable or not). 

Column Organization

Step 1

  1. Under the Manage tab, Column Organization. 
    column organization option shown selected

  2. Drag and drop the Participation column above the previous item. 

  3. Click the Submit button at the bottom of the screen

  4. View the changed position in the Grade Center

Stretch Your Skill (Optional) – Grade Categories  

Reason for completing this skill exercise: Grade categories are a great way to organize similar column types, such as those for homework, quizzes, projects, etc. In addition, they are useful for setting up filtered views of grade data or creating weighted grade columns. 

Assigning Grade Categories 

Step 1 

  1. Hover over the down arrow to the right of the ‘Participation’ column heading, and Select Edit Column Information. 
  2. Under Column Information, review the options under Category
  3. Select Self and Peer. Using categories is helpful when setting up views or running reports from the Grade Center. Submit

Activity 2: Grade Values

Objective: Grade values allow letter, numeral, and complete/not-complete scores to be given to students. Also, grade values can contain feedback, called “Quick Comments” to elaborate on scores. 

Add and Edit Grade Values 

  1. In the ‘Participation’ column, click on the ( - - ) symbols in the grade box. 

  2. Enter a value from 1-50 into the edit window in the box. 

    Participation column with 30 entered as the value

  3. Select Enter to move to the next student. Click outside the box to remove the edit window. 

Step 2

  1. Edit and change one of the grade entries, by clicking on the actual number to show the edit window again. 

Add a quick comment to the grade

Step 1

  1. Click on the down arrow symbol next to the grade. 

    menu shown expanded with quick comment highlighted

  2. Click on Quick Comment in the drop down box. 

  3. Add a comment for the grading and also to the student. 

Stretch Your Skill (optional) – Create a Calculated Column.

Objective: Calculated columns give instructors the ability to summarize a set of grades in a variety of ways: averaging, finding the maximum and minimum, totaling, and applying weighted totals. 

Step 1 

  1. Under Create Calculated Column at the top of the Full Grade Center, Select Average Column
    Create calculated column with average column option highlighted
  2. Under Column Information, type Assessments and Assignments in the box for Column Name. 
  3. Select Percentage for the Primary Display

Step 2 

  1. Under Select Columns, the option for Selected Columns and Categories
  2. In the boxes that appear, select any assignments and tests that appear and click the right-facing arrow to move them to the Selected Columns box. 
  3. (Note: if you use categories, you can select a running total and it will add those items throughout the semester.) 
  4. Select the Submit button at the bottom of the screen. 

Activity 3: Grade Center Views 

Objective: Smart Views are focused or filtered views of Grade Center information, which allow an instructor to have a wide variety of options on how data is accessed and viewed. 

Step 1 

  1. Under the Manage tab, select Smart Views. When Smart Views opens, select the Create Smart View button. 
    smart views option

Step 2 

  1. Under Smart View Information, type ‘ View User’ followed by a user in your group (for example, Wl_learn002), in the Name box. 
  2. Selet the Favorite option. (This moves the view to the Control Panel). 

Step 3

  1. Under Selection Criteria, on different options under Type of View to see the changes under Select Criteria
  2. Select User under Type of View and then one of your students under Select Criteria. Leave the filter results to All Columns
  3. Select the Submit button at the bottom of the screen. 
  4. Click OK in the lower right of the screen. 

Step 4

  1. Click on the Full Grade Center
  2. To view the Grade Center using the Smart View, Filter in the upper right of the screen and use the drop down arrow for Current View to select the new view. 
    grade center view

Needs Grading View 

Step 1 

  1. Select Needs Grading from the Grade Center area on the Control Panel menu. (In this view you will see any assignments that need grading).
    grade center
  2. Select Grade All Users in the drop down box next to the Item Name
    grade all users dropdown shown

Step 2

  1. The Grade Assignment page appears. Locate Assignment Details on the right side of the screen, if the assignment had multiple attempts they would be listed there. 
  2. Locate the student’s submission in the middle of the screen and see the submission text and/or attachments displayed. 
  3. Locate the Attempt box the right which allows the instructor to enter a grade for the assignment, and provide feedback either by typing in the text editor or attaching files that contain additional feedback. 
    attempt view withdate time and value shown
  4. For this tutorial, in the Grade field and a numeral score such as ‘30’. Entering the grade should open the Attempt box to display the text entry field Feedback – Shown to User to add a note to for the grade. If not, on the expansion arrow at the bottom of the Attempt box. 
  5. Type something like ‘Good job!’. 
  6. Click the green checkmark button to submit the grade and the Submit button to save the feedback comment. 
    Note: If there were multiple assignments turned in by several students, the submit button would say “Save and Next” instead. 


Tests  View in Grade Center

Step 1

  1. In the Control Panel, under Grade Center, Select Tests to view all tests. If there are multiple attempts allowed on a test or quiz, Blackboard will record the latest attempt score. 
    attempts shown

Step 2

  1. To do this, the column heading and use the drop down arrow to find the Edit Column Information

    edit column

Step 3

  1. Under Column Information find Score Attempts Using and change the select to Highest Grade. 
    Drop down for score attempts using highest score
  2. Click Submit button to save your grade column changes.

Stretch Your Skill (optional) – Rubrics 

Objective: Rubrics in Blackboard are the same as in traditional paper-based rubrics, they help students meet the requirements of an assignment and provide grading guidelines. 

Cretae a Rubric

Step 1

  1. In the Control Panel, under Course Tools, Rubrics
    rubrics option highlighted in control panel view
  2. Select Create Rubric
  3. Under Rubric Information, enter a name for the rubric. 
  4. Under Rubric Detail, enter information into the Rubric Grid. Columns and rows may be added. Weights and Levels of Achievement may be edited. 
  5. Select Submit from the bottom of the screen. (Rubrics may be attached as you set up assignments, groups, and other tools that you need to grade).

Activity 4: Import/Export Grade Data 

Objective: Some instructors prefer to use Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software to input grades. Blackboard allows you to download your grade columns, input scores, and then upload them back into the course. 

Export Grade Center Data into Excel 

Step 1

  1. Return to the Full Grade Center. Under Work Offline, Select Download. This will open Download Grades
    Work offline menu with download option highlighted

Step 2

  1. Under Data, leave Full Grade Center selected. 
  2. Under Options, use the default Tab as the Delimiter Type
  3. Under Section 3, Save Location, Select My Computer
  4. Select  the Submit button at the bottom of the screen. 
  5. Click the Download button that appears and Select Open

Add/Calculate Columns 

Step 1

  1. Insert two columns in your spreadsheet to the right of one of the gradable columns that was exported. 
  2. Enter a title for each.

tip 1
Step 2

  1. Fill the first column you inserted above with numeric values. 
  2. Fill the second column with values calculated from the two numeric columns to the left of this column.

tip 2


  1. Experiment with Excel functions with this second column 

Import Back In; Key Field Column 

Step 1

  1. When you are finished experimenting with your data in Excel, save your new spreadsheet, using the default format (txt), give it a name, and save as a file on your computer where you can readily find it – the Desktop is a good place. 

Step 2

  1. Return to Blackboard Learn and locate the Full Grade Center

  2. Under Work Offline, Upload

  3. Browse for the new file and attach it. Leave the delimiter type set to Auto

  4. Select the Submit button from the bottom of the screen.

Step 3

  1. Blackboard Learn, using the Username column, compares the imported file’s columns with existing Blackboard Learn columns, and reports its findings. 

  2. For any column found to match, there will be a check mark check . 

  3. For any column not found to match, there will be a check box to select to upload the new data. 

  4. Click the Submit button at the bottom of the screen. 

    submit with upload and match highlighted

Review the changes to the Grade Center 

Step 1

  1. Can you find the columns you just imported? 
  2. Why are they located where they are? All newly uploaded grades will appear at the far right of the Grade Center.  Remember, you can use the Column Organization tool to reorder the columns. 
  3. Uploaded grades will default to be viewable by students in the My Grades area under the Course menu. 

    my grades option in menu
  4. If you have any difficulty with this process, Select Comma Delimited and save the file as a .csv file extenion for your options in the download and upload process. 

Step 2

  1. Best practice is to edit newly-added grade columns by selecting the Edit Column Information from the drop down arrow in the column header. 
    display with primary display and points possible highlghted

  2. To use the new data in calculated columns or in scoring, change the Primary Display to Score and enter a value for Points Possible

  3. You can also prevent students from seeing the column by No beside “Show this column to students”. 

Activity 5: Evaluation 

Reason for completing this activity: In order for us to improve our workshops in the future, your feedback is essential to this process. Please take the time to let us know how we did today. 
Please take a few minutes to complete the evaluation for the course. Tell us what you found valuable and what could improve the workshop experience. 

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