One of the features in Blackboard Learn that may not be as well known is the ability for student assignment submissions to be graded anonymously. This allows instructors, teaching assistants, and graders to grade student submissions without knowing who submitted the work. This can help avoid bias and ensure all papers are properly and fairly graded.
Anonymous Grading can be completed in two ways in Blackboard Learn. First, Anonymous Grading is now an option when setting up an Assignment in Learn. Under the Grading Options of an Assignment, a course instructor can enable Anonymous Grading so that student names will be hidden during grading. When setting this option, the instructor will also have to set a date to disable the anonymous grading; this can be on a certain date or after all submissions have been graded. The advantage of this setting ensures that if others are grading student submissions, the student work will be graded anonymously.
The second way to grade student work anonymously is within the Grade Center. When a grader is ready to review assignment submissions, within the Full Grade Center there is an option within the assignment’s column to allow anonymous grading. This option, “Grade With User Names Hidden”, allows a grader to hide student names even if the option hasn’t been enabled within the assignment itself. This option can be used if the Anonymous Grading option was not turned on for the assignment. To access this option, go into the Grade Center, and click on the Options menu for the column.
While this option does allow for student work to be graded without the grader knowing whom the submitter is, it is important to note a major drawback to this feature in Blackboard Learn, and this drawback is directly related to a simple instruction that teachers have been giving students since elementary school. In school, students are told from an early age to write their names on their papers. In order to properly use Anonymous Grading, students need to be told to not include their names on their papers in any way. This could be counter-intuitive to the students, so it may be advisable to explain why names should not be included. When Anonymous Grading is enabled in the assignments, students are given a notice before they submit their work that their names shouldn’t be included on their work.
Anonymous Grading can be a great way to avoid bias and other issues with grading student work. However, making sure that students know that they are to assist in the process of keeping their work anonymous is key in ensuring that this tool will work. If you have questions about Anonymous Grading or any other tool in Blackboard Learn, please contact our Consulting and Training team at email@example.com.