Grade Centre

The Grade Centre is the area of a subject or community where grades are managed. It is pre-populated with all student names/IDs that are enrolled in the subject. Grades are added to the Grade Centre either automatically (from assessments in the subject such as Tests, Assignments, Blogs, Wikis and Discussion boards) or manually (by teaching staff manually inputting data).

Columns can also be created to calculate totals, averages and weighted totals, as well as to record hurdle requirements and attendance if desired.

The Grade Centre can also be used 'offline' where it can be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet. Data can also be added to the Grade Centre by uploading an Excel spreadsheet.

This guide provides details about commonly used functions of the Grade Centre.

Display the Grade Centre

The Grade Centre is available from the Control Panel.

Click the Grade Centre to view options.

Grade Centre location in the LMS Control Panel

Shortcut: Click the arrow to the right of Grade Centre to display the most recent view of the Grade Centre in the subject content area.

Displaying the most recent view of the Grade Centre in the subject content area
Example view of the grade centre showing students and several columns, but no grades

Each student appears in a separate row. Each column contains information about the student, information on an assessment task or a calculation based on assessment tasks.

Hint: Put your cursor on any column heading to see details about that column, including the type of assessment and the points possible (where applicable).

Customise appearance of the Grade Centre

You can customise your view of the Grade Centre by hiding columns that are not needed, freezing columns so they are always visible when scrolling, and changing the order of columns. These actions are all done through Manage >> Column Organisation.

Customising your view of the Grade Centre
Customisation of the grade centre

Hide/Show columns

Hiding a column saves all existing information associated with the column, but prevents it from being seen by staff within the Grade Centre. Hiding columns that are not currently being used reduces the length of the grid, reducing the amount of scrolling. The column positioned first in the Grade Centre cannot be hidden, but can always be moved to another position and then hidden.

Note: The process below does not hide the grades from students, only from staff. If a column is not being used, it is important to first hide it from students before hiding it from staff. This is to prevent the situation whereby staff can no longer see a column, but students can, and can become confused as to the purpose of the column. To hide a column from students see Hide a column in the grade centre from students.

Hide column from staff

There are two ways to hide a column from staff:

  1. In the Grade Centre select Manage >> Column Organisation.
  2. Click the check box to the left of any column to be hidden.
  3. Select Show/Hide >> Hide Selected Columns
  4. Click Submit to save the change

OR

  1. Click the down pointing arrow next to the title bar of the column you wish to hide and select Hide Column from Staff

Show column

To find a hidden column and show it in the Grade Centre again:

  1. In the Grade Centre select Manage >> Column Organisation.
  2. Click the check box to the left of any column to be hidden.
  3. Select Show/Hide >> Show Selected Columns
  4. Click Submit to save the change

Reorder columns

  1. In the Grade Centre select Manage >> Column Organisation.
  2. Drag the four headed arrow Four-headed arrow to the left of any column name to a new location in the list of columns. The higher in the list the name, the further to the left in the Grade Centre the column will appear.

Note: If you drag a column into the top section of the page (Shown in All Grade Centre Views area) it will be visible even in Smart Views.

Freeze a column

Columns appearing at the far left of the Grade Centre can be frozen in place so they remain in place while you scroll left and right through the columns. The columns containing students’ first and last names are frozen by default. This feature can be used to easily match up individual students with their data across the length of the Grade Centre.

To freeze a column:

  1. In the Grade Centre select Manage >> Column Organisation.
  2. Drag any Grade Centre column above the “Everything above this bar is frozen” message to freeze it in place.
  3. Click Submit.

Create columns

Grade columns represent gradable tasks such as tests, presentations and papers. Columns are automatically generated if a test, assignment or other LMS tool, but may also be manually created in the Grade Centre to record other gradable assessments.

To manually create a column in the Grade Centre:

  1. In the Grade Centre click Create Column.
  2. Enter a Column Name. Grade Centre Name and Description are optional.
  3. Select a Primary and Secondary Display from the menus.
    • The primary display will be visible to staff and the student (if they are allowed to see this column).
    • The secondary display will be visible only to staff.
  4. Select a Category appropriate for the column. In previous versions of Blackboard there have been Grade Centre display issues if No Category is selected.
  5. Enter the Points Possible.
  6. Add a rubric, set dates and select other options if desired.
  7. Click Submit.

Create calculated column

The value in a calculated column is generated using a formula applied to the marks from other Grade Centre columns. There are four types of calculated columns that can be created in the Grade Centre:

  1. Average – calculate and display the average for a selected number of columns. Options can be selected to allow sophisticated calculation of columns e.g. the two highest scoring tests, plus one essay and an oral presentation.
  2. Minimum/Maximum – calculate either the minimum or maximum grade for a selected number of columns.
  3. Total – calculate the total points for a number of columns related to the total number of points allowed. Total columns are useful for generating a final score.
  4. Weighted – a percentage of the mark from other columns can be summed to create a weighted total column. Some or all of the other columns can be chosen to be included in the weighted calculation.

Note: Columns with text as the primary display cannot be used in calculated columns.

As the process for creating each type of calculated column is very similar, an example of creating the most complicated (Weighted) is shown below.

  1. In the Grade Centre select Create Calculated Column >> Weighted Column.
  2. Enter a Column Name.
  3. Select a Primary and Secondary Display from the menus.
    • The primary display will be visible to staff and the student (if they are allowed to see this column).
    • The secondary display is visible only to staff.
  4. At Select Columns select the columns and/or categories to include. Click a column or category name then click the arrow to the right. The item is added to the selected column area.
    Weighted total column showing the selection of columns to make up the total
  5. Set the percentage of each column that you wish to contribute to the weighted total. The total (below the box) should equal 100%.
  6. Use the red cross to the right of any column name to remove it.
    Select other options as desired.
  7. Choose if the column should be calculated as a running total.
    • Select Yes if you want the weighted total column to ignore any cells that have no grade data in them.
    • Select No if you want unattempted items to have a grade of 0 to contribute to the total. (Recommended setting).
  8. Select your preference for Show this Column to Students.
  9. Click Submit.

Edit column information

You can edit information in any column such as the name, description, score preferences, category, due date, and display information at any time by re-editing the column:

  1. In the Grade Centre click the down arrow next to the column title.
  2. Click Edit Column Information.
  3. Edit information as required.
  4. Click Submit.

Note: Some automatically generated columns (e.g. from a test or Turnitin assignment) do not allow some fields to be edited.

Delete column

When you delete a column, all of its grades and associations are also deleted. Deleting a column is a final action and cannot be undone.

  1. In the Full Grade Centre click the down arrow next to the column title.
  2. Click Delete Column.
  3. Click OK on the warning message.

Why can’t I delete a column?

There are a few instances where you will not be able to delete columns from the main Grade Centre interface.

Some columns may not be deleted because they are linked to an assessment e.g. tests or assignments. To delete such a column, you must first delete the assessment. When the assessment is deleted, the column will usually also be deleted (you may be prompted for preferences). If the column is not automatically deleted at the time, the option to delete the column will become visible in the Grade Centre interface. If the item is deleted, but the column still does not show the option to Delete Column, please submit a support request.

If a column has a green tick next to the title, this column is marked as the 'external grade'; the grade that would be sent to the central student system. At present, the external grade function at the University of Melbourne is not activated, but may be used in the future. Whilst the green tick does not affect a column, it must appear on at least one column, and cannot be removed entirely. It is possible however to move the tick to another column.

  1. In the Full Grade Centre click the downward pointing arrow next to the column title to where you will move the green tick. Moving the green tick
  2. Choose Set as External Grade.

Grading colour codes

You can use colour codes to apply background and text colour to items in the Grade Centre that meet specified criteria. Colours can be defined for assessment based on grade status or score. Grading colour codes can be defined and turned on/off as required.

  1. In the Grade Centre select Manage >> Grading Colour Codes.
  2. Click the checkbox next to Enable Grading Colour Codes if they are to be used now.
  3. Grading Status – Used to highlight In Progress, Needs Grading and Exempt items. System defined icons will still appear e.g. Needs Grading or Attempt in Progress.
  4. Click the down arrow next to each to select background colours and click apply.
    grading status
  5. Grade Ranges – Used to highlight items More Than, Less Than or Between percentage ranges. Students at risk, or those excelling can be easily identified this way.
    Click Add Criteria and enter preferences.
    Grade ranges
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Once set (as in step 2 above), Colour Coding may be shown or hidden at any time by using the Show / Hide Colour Coding button that appears in the options directly above the Grade Centre grid.

Smart Views

Smart Views are sub-set views of the Grade Centre based on a variety of criteria including selected assessments, student names, and performance to name just a few. Once created, Smart Views can be viewed by clicking on the Filter button in Grade Centre. A Smart View can also be saved as a favourite, meaning that it will show in the Grade Centre menu as a shortcut.

Create a Smart View

  1. In the Grade Centre select Manage >> Smart Views.
  2. Click Create Smart View.
  3. Enter a name and description.
  4. Tick Add as Favourite if desired (this action puts a star next to the Smart View name for higher visibility when selecting and adds this Smart View to Grade Centre menu in Control Panel).
  5. Select the Type of View required. This will change the criteria that follow.
  6. Select the appropriate Selection Criteria.
  7. Select Filter Results to show all or a subset of columns.
    Note: Multiple columns can be selected by pressing Ctrl + clicking the desired columns.
  8. Click Submit.

Note: Smart Views may also be created via Control Panel >> Users and Groups >> Groups.

Use a Smart View

Once a Smart View has been created, it may be used by any member of teaching staff who is involved with the subject. When a Smart View is in use, downloading data from the Grade Centre includes only the students included in the results of the filtering performed by the Smart View. This is useful for staff wanting to obtain an offline grade record for all students within a particular tutorial.

Option 1

  1. From Control Panel click Grade Centre (if not already expanded).
  2. Click the name of the desired Smart View from the expanded list.

Note: Only Smart Views listed as favourites will appear here.

Grade Center control panel

Option 2

  1. In the Grade Centre select Filter.
  2. Additional tools appear at the top of the screen including Current View, Category and Status.
Selecting filters for grade center smart view.
  1. From Current View select the desired Smart View from the list offered.
  2. If desired you can click the Set current view as default button Set current view as default button if you wish this Smart View to become the default view. If you are one of multiple staff using this subject, please be aware that changing the default view will impact on all staff viewing the Grade Centre.
  3. Click Filter again to hide additional tools.

Please see the full Grade Centre - Smart Views guide for more information.

Grades

General information appears below, but please be aware that if you are using anonymous or delegated grading, your experience may not be the same as other staff with different roles in the subject. More information can be found in the Anonymous and Delegated Grading Guide.

Enter a grade

While it is possible to enter a grade using the method described below, for automatically created columns such as Blackboard and Turnitin assignments, it is preferable to mark via the assignment, allowing richer, in-line feedback options.

  1. From the Control Panel select Full Grade Centre.
  2. Identify the grade you wish to enter then click the appropriate cell in the spread sheet.
  3. Enter a new grade or edit an existing grade, then press Enter.

Note: The next cell becomes active. Another grade may be added while the grade in the previous cell is being saved.

Delete a grade

  1. From the Control Panel select Full Grade Centre.
  2. Identify the grade you wish to delete then click the cell in the spread sheet.
  3. Press Delete or Backspace on the keyboard.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. You will be prompted to select options for overriding the grade.
    If you attempt to delete a grade for a submitted assignment, you will be prompted to either reset the assignment back to Needs Grading (inline grading will be lost), or Delete the student submission.
  6. Click Submit.

Exempt a grade

A grade may be excluded from all calculations by exempting it. Exempted grades can be reverted. It is also possible to eliminate a grade by using a Weighted Column to automatically exclude the lowest grade from of a particular category, e.g. the lowest grade on weekly quizzes.

  1. Open the Full Grade Centre.
  2. Position the cursor above the appropriate cell.
  3. Click the down arrow and select Exempt Grade.
  4. Click Exempt Grade / Clear Exemption as desired.

Feedback

Feedback to students on assessment tasks can be can be given in different ways:

Grading Schema: The grading schema used can be labelled to give the appropriate feedback to students e.g. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Complete/Incomplete.
For details: Grade Centre >> Manage >> Grading Schemas.

Manually added feedback: View the Grade Details of any cell in the Grade Centre to manually add feedback. An example of this is given below in Manually create a Grade Centre column.

Attached File: This expansion of the manual feedback method allows you to attach a file of any type. The file can be attached from your local computer or the Content Collection.
An example of this is given below in Collect and grade all available – includes anonymous option.

For the methods listed above, students will be able to access the feedback through their My Grades tool. This method of feedback can also vary depending on the assessment type.

Note: If the assessment type is from an external tool (e.g. Turnitin), there may also be feedback methods available within the tool that the student will be able to access without using the Grade Centre.

Manually create a Grade Centre column

You can attach feedback to manually created Grade Centre columns using Grade Details. This option is also available for many other types of assessment.

  1. Open the Full Grade Centre.
  2. Position the cursor above the appropriate cell corresponding to student/assessment task.
  3. Click the down pointing arrow and select View Grade Details.
  4. If a mark was already entered, you will need to select Edit Grade.
    If there was no mark, enter one in Current Grade Value.
  5. Enter Feedback to User as desired.
    In the Feedback to User field you can also attach a file using the Insert File option Insert file icon.
    Note: you may need to Show More (last button on the right Show more button) to see the Insert File option.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Click Return to Grade Centre.

Turnitin assignments

Turnitin has a built-in set of tools called Feedback Studio for providing comprehensive feedback to students.

Tests

Tests which include question types such as Essay need to be manually graded before the test result can be finalised.

When grading tests, it is possible to grade and give feedback for individual tests one at a time by selecting the relevant cell, or to mark all submissions for the test sequentially.

Grade one at a time

  1. Open the Grade Centre.
  2. Position the cursor above the appropriate cell corresponding with student/assessment task.
  3. Click the down pointing arrow and select View Grade Details.*
  4. Click View Attempt.
  5. Read submission and enter feedback as desired.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Click Return to Grade Centre.

*Note: Clicking the down arrow also displays a list of attempts by that student in chronological order (most recent at bottom); while selecting View Grade Details will show in reverse chronological order (most recent at top). The safest course of action is to select View Grade Details as date and time of the submission will also be displayed for each attempt.

Blackboard assignments and Discussion Board

The instructions below apply to marking individual and group assignments. Group assignments can be marked as a group, with a single mark and comment given to all students within the group. Grades for individual students within the group may be adjusted as needed.

In addition to the Grade One at a Time option (shown above for Tests) Blackboard assignments and Discussion Boards can be marked with inline grading. See these guides for more details:

Collect and grade all available

  1. Open the Grade Centre.
  2. Position the cursor above the appropriate column heading.
  3. Click the down arrow and select Grade Attempts or Grade Anonymously if you don’t want to see who owns the submission you are grading.
  4. Read the student submission and enter inline comments as desired.
  5. Enter a grade and feedback for the first student.
    Note: You may need to expand the Attempt area (click the down arrow) to see the feedback field, including the option to attach a file.
  6. If this was a group assignment all group members will be listed on the right of screen for this submission, with the option to override the group grade for an individual .
    Once a new grade is entered, click the tick (✔) that appears to confirm the change for that student. The student now displays an override mark next to their score.
    Override mark displayed
  7. If a rubric is attached, this may be accessed by clicking the rubric name (found above the feedback text area). Select a level for each criteria and Save Rubric. More about using rubrics.
  8. Click Save and Next to continue reading student submissions and giving feedback.
    Click Save and Exit to finish marking.

Collect and grade all submissions using Needs Grading

  1. In the Control Panel click the down arrow to expand the Grade Centre menu (if not already expanded).
  2. Click Needs Grading.
  3. Outstanding assessments (all submissions which have not been graded) will appear.
  4. Click Grade All.
  5. Read the first submission and enter feedback as desired, including inline grading.
    If this was a group assignment all group members will be listed on the right of screen for this submission, with the option to override the group grade for an individual .
    Once a new grade is entered, click the tick that appears to confirm the change for that student. The student now displays an override mark next to their score.
  6. If a rubric is attached, this may be accessed by clicking the rubric name (found above the feedback text area). Select a level for each criteria and Save Rubric. More on using rubrics.
  7. Click Save and Next to continue reading student submissions and giving feedback.
    OR
    Click Save and Exit to finish marking.

Notes about group assignments

Students are able to see their marks and feedback for an assignment via the My Grades tool. If this is a group assignment, members are also able to see grade and feedback via the assignment.

To prevent students from seeing this mark until you are ready to release it, hide the Grade Centre column from students: Control Panel >> Grade Centre >> Full Grade Centre >> click column title >> Select Show/Hide to students. A grey circle with a red slash now appears next to the column name.  

Even if the Grade Centre column is hidden from students, if you use inline grading, students will be able to see the inline comments. You will need to edit and hide (Limit Availability) the assignment from students to prevent them from seeing inline comments until you are ready.

Download grades

Grade Centre data can be downloaded as a delimited (separated) file and used in other applications such as Microsoft Excel, other spreadsheet or statistical analysis programs. You can select specific data to download, or you can download the complete Grade Centre data set.

It is advisable to regularly download the Grade Centre data to ensure an offline copy of the grades exists for all students in the subject. This is particularly relevant for subjects offering automatically-graded assessments such as tests and surveys.

Note: If you are specifically interested in downloading grades for the purpose of sending to StudentOne, see the following video guide: Exporting final grades from LMS for StudentOne upload.

  1. Open the Grade Centre.
  2. From Work Offline select Download.
  3. If you are viewing the Full Grade Centre you will be able to choose from Full Grade Centre, Selected Column or User Information Only.
    If you are viewing a Smart View, you will only have the option to download the current view.
  4. Select options for creating the document and where it should be saved.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Click Download.

Notes: The downloaded file contains column IDs that must not be removed if you wish to upload the file again after you have edited it.

The automatic naming convention for the downloaded file provides information about the contents:

gc_subjectid_downloadfilter_timestamp

gc = grade centre

subject id = University of Melbourne subject code (e.g. HIST10005_2014_SM2)

downloadfilter = may be fullgc (all data in Grade Centre), column (single column of data downloaded, or svdownload (if a smart view is used to filter data before download).

timestamp = year-month-day-hour-minute-second (e.g. 2014-10-30-17-19-09 = downloaded on 30 October 2014 at 5:19:09 pm.

Upload grades

Grades can be added or edited off-line and then uploaded to the Grade Centre as single or multiple columns.

Note: To minimise potential for errors, first download the data from the Grade Centre so the spreadsheet output is correctly formatted for uploading. The column ID numbers generated in the downloaded spreadsheet for each Grade Centre column are uniquely generated by the LMS and should not be changed or removed.

  1. Open the Grade Centre.
  2. From Work Offline select Upload.
  3. Click Browse My Computer or Browse Content Collection to locate the file to be uploaded.
  4. Select the appropriate delimiter type. Note: This can usually be left as the default Auto setting.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. Check boxes will be visible to the left of those columns that contain new data. Click the checkboxes of the columns to be uploaded.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. Any cells that contain data that has been overwritten will contain an override symbol (orange triangle) in the top left corner.

Grade history

Grade History records all changes to grades within a subject. Grade History displays a table of data detailing every grade change in the Grade Centre to date with the most recent event at the top. The Grade History table can be sorted by clicking the desired column header. Click again to reverse the sort. The Grade History table can be filtered to display entries within a date range using Show Entries from Past x days, located at the top of the table.

  1. Open the Grade Centre.
  2. From Reports select View Grade History.
  3. The history will be shown with the default settings. Use the drop down menu on the top right to view the grade history as required.
    Drop down menu for grade history.
  4. Click Download if you want to download a copy of the Grade History.
  5. Click Submit, then Download to download the report.
  6. Click OK or use the breadcrumbs when finished to return to the Grade Centre.

Create a report

The most common example of a report is a progress report.

Reports can display all or a number of students or groups; grade columns or calculated columns; or all of the columns in a category. Reports can be customised in a variety of ways, including header and footer information, signature line, date, subject information, and many other data elements.

  1. Open the Grade Centre.
  2. From Reports select Create Report.
  3. Select the information that should appear in the report. This information includes which users and columns the report is to be run for.
  4. Click Submit to view a printable webpage.

Note: The reporting tool prints only one student per page which can use a lot of paper! Additionally, some browsers may insert additional blank pages in the report causing a report for 5 students (which may be expected to use 5 pages) to consume as many as 16 pages.

Students and the Grade Centre

Allow students to see grades

Students can view grades from several locations:

  • My Home tab, My Grades
  • From the Notification area on the top right, click your name. then click the My Grades option from the menu that appears.
  • Tools link on subject menu – My Grades is one of the tools listed (depends on option being selected by teaching staff). Shows grades for this subject only.
  • My Grades link on subject menu – may have a different name e.g. Results (depends on option being selected by teaching staff). Shows grades for this subject only.
  • Turnitin assignments only – via the View/Complete link of the assignment if options allow access.
  • Blackboard group assignments only – the assignment will be available on the page where it was created and via the student’s group page.

Students can only view their own grades. If a column is hidden from students in the Grade Centre. this grade will not be visible to students; Group Assignments are the exception to this as they may be visible via the Groups pages (see notes above).

To make access to grades by students as easy as possible, create a My Grades tool in the subject menu.

  1. Ensure Edit Mode is ON.
  2. From the plus sign at the top of the subject menu select Tool Link.
  3. Enter a name for the link e.g. My Grades, or Results.
  4. From Type select My Grades.
  5. Click Available to Users.
  6. Click Submit.

Note: Students are only able to see their own grades; they do not have access to other students’ grades. As staff do not have grades, they will see an error message when attempting to access My Grades.

Hide a column in the Grade Centre from students

Columns may be hidden from students for a variety of reasons such as ensuring all grades for an essay are entered before releasing grades to all students simultaneously, or hiding component grades (e.g. weekly attendance) contributing to a calculated column (e.g. total attendance).

If you are unsure if a Grade Centre column is visible to students, the best way to check is to use student preview. Alternatively, you can do the following:

  1. From the Control Panel select Grade Centre.
  2. Navigate to the column that you want to check.
  3. When a column is hidden from students it will display a red and grey icon to the left of the column name. In the example below the Essay week… column is not visible to students via My Grades, while the Talk for points column is visible.
    Indicators of column visibility for students.
  4. To change the visibility of a column to students, click the down arrow to the right of the column name. and click Show/Hide to Students.

Notes: If you have a Group Assignment and want to hide this column from students, be warned! Group assignments are accessible by students by another method. Simply hiding the column in the Grade Centre is not enough to prevent students from seeing marks and feedback. Use Adaptive Release to hide group assignments to prevent access by students.

Be careful when using the Hide Column from Staff option (visible when you click the column title). This option removes the column from the staff view only. If you accidentally hide a column from staff without first hiding it from students, you will need to go to Manage >> Column Organisation and Show the column to staff before you will be able to hide it from students.

This guide was last updated 29 Aug 2018.
Report any errors or omissions in this guide to lms-guides@lists.unimelb.edu.au

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