Creating Average Columns on Blackboard

Average Calculated Column

An Average Grade column displays the average for any number of quantities. An Average Grade Column can include any of the following non‐text columns:

  •  All Grade Columns: All individual Grade columns added to the Grade Center.
  •  Grade Columns in a Grading Period: All Grade columns that have been added to a Grading Period.
  •  Selected Gradable Columns and Categories: Any Grade columns and any or all Categories.

For example, you can display the average for all Reading Tests and writing tests, or display the average grade for each student for a grading period.

Any categories that contain items that are set to No for the Include in Grade Center calculations setting will ignore those items when figuring the Average Grade.

To create an Average Grade and its column in the Grade Center, follow these steps:

1. Access the Grade Center: from the Control Panel Menu, click Grade Center | click Full Grade Center.  


2. Hover over the Create Calculated Column button in the Action Bar of the Grade Center | click Average Column from the menu.


3. In Section 1, enter the Column Information as follows:


1. Column Name – A required field, Column Name is formal name for the Item, and is displayed in the Grade Center and My Grades (student view). This field displays a maximum of 15 characters in the column header.

2. Grade Center Display Name – The purpose of this field is to allow you to shorten the Column Name without editing the original name. This field replaces the Column Name in the Grade Center and in My Grades (student view). This field displays a maximum of 15 characters in the column header.

3. Description – A description is an optional field. It can help Instructors and other graders identify

the Column. The description is visible to students in My Grades; they access it by clicking the Details button.

4. Primary Display – This is the format of the grade displayed in both the Grade Center and My Grades (student view). This field defaults to Percentage for the Average column, but you can choose from Score, Letter, Text, Percentage or Complete/Incomplete. Additional letter schemas can be added; see Add a Grade Schema.

5. Secondary Display – This selection displays a secondary format for a column in the Grade Center. The Secondary Display is denoted by parentheses and is only visible by Instructors.

4. In Section 2, the Creation Date of the column is displayed. If Grading Periods have been created, you will have the option to choose a Grading Period from a drop‐down list which will designate to what Grading Period the column is associated. Using a Grading Period is optional.

5. Section 3 is where you Select Columns that will be included in the Average column. Possible selections include the following:


All Grade Columns – This selection will automatically include all gradable columns that are set to” Yes” for Include this column in Grade Center calculations. Please note that this option will ignore all columns set to zero possible points (i.e. – Extra Credit). See Extra Credit for more information.

All Gradable Columns in a Grading Period (not shown) – select a Grading Period from the drop-down menu. This field will not display unless a Grading Period has been created.”

Selected Columns and Categories – You have the option to choose individual columns or categories to calculate the total grade. A combination of individual columns and categories can be used as well. Note: if you use categories, any assignments that have been submitted but not

graded will results in a zero in the calculation. To avoid this issue, use All Grade Columns or

individual columns in the calculation.

When a Category has been selected, several other options appear:

* Select a Grading Period for the Category using the drop-down menu. This will only be available

if a Grading Period has been created.

* Select how to weigh Columns within the Category “Equally” or “Proportionally”. Choosing “Equally” applies equal value to all gradable items within a Category. Choosing “Proportionally” applies the appropriate value to a Grade Item based on its points compared to other Columns in the Category.

* Decide whether to drop high or low grades within the Category or use the lowest or highest value in the category.

* To remove a selected item from consideration, click the red “x”.

6. Calculate as a running total –  Select “Yes” to calculate the weight as a running total to include only the Columns that have been submitted and/or graded. Select No to include all items, which will place a zero for any items not completed yet; this results in a low grade.

7. Section 4, Options, is where you choose access for users:


Include this column in Grade Center calculations – Makes the column available for use in other calculations. Important: Please note that choosing Yes to this option does not duplicate scores. It simply makes the item visible in the Columns to Select box.

Show this column in My Grades – Shows the column in the student Grade view

Show Statistics (average and median) for this column in My Grades – Shows the Total

Points column statistics in My Grades. Note: Instructors with small enrollment (i.e. – 4 GE students) may not wish to enable statistics as students may be able to deduce who received what grade

8. Click Submit to Save.


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