Gradebook Settings

The gradebook settings menu allows instructors to create and set course tool preferences that apply to all graded items within a course.     


Accessing the Gradebook Settings

To open the gradebook settings menu, open the gradebook and click the settings iconSettings iconin the upper right of the screen. The settings menu will pop out from the right side. 

Grade Schemas

Schemas control how grades are displayed to students in the gradebook. By default, grades are displayed to students as points earned out of the total, i.e. 89/100. A grade schema can be applied to an assignment to change the grade display to a letter grade, Pass/Fail, or other notation. 

To create a new schema or edit an existing one, click "Manage Grade Schemas" in the gradebook settings menu. 

For a general-purpose walkthrough on how to create a schema and apply it to a graded items, see the Ultra Course - Grade Schemas page. 

For ideas on how to create and use custom schemas for specific instructional needs, see Grade Schemas - Additional Uses

Gradebook Settings menu - Grade Schemas section

Student Performance

Instructors can choose to receive automated alerts from Blackboard about students who fall below their target activity and/or performance thresholds in a course. Alerts will appear in your Blackboard activity stream, which can be accessed from the institution homepage in the left-hand menu bar, just below your name and profile. 

To set an alert, open the gradebook settings, then under the Student Performance section enter a value under either "Number of days a student is inactive" or "When a student's overall grade percentage is below," or both. For example, you can set an alert to be sent about any student who fails to login to Blackboard for ten consecutive days, or any student whose overall course grade falls below 60%. 

The "View Course Activity" link will open a new pane that displays all students' course activity (total hours active in the course and date of last access) and overall grade percentage. If there is not yet enough course data (such as before the start of classes) the link will be blank. 

Student performance alerts set in this submenu will be sent to all instructors in the course via the activity stream. Optionally, alerts can also be sent to the student, by checking the box labeled "Send activity stream alerts to students based on these settings." 

Gradebook Settings menu - Student Performance submenu

Automatic Zeros

If the box labeled "Assign automatic zeros for past due work" is checked, any student work that is not submitted by the deadline will automatically be recorded with a score of 0. In both the instructor and student view, the grade will be listed as "0" and the grading status indicated as either "Automatic Zero" or "Past Due." Additionally, students will see a red exclamation point icon next to the grade indicating that it was recorded automatically because the assignment is past due. 

If the box is not checked, then any assignments that have not been submitted by the due date will continue to have a blank score. 

This setting does not affect whether late submissions are permitted; due dates and rules about late submission are set individually for each assignment. 

Note: the automatic zero option is a notification setting only. Automatic zeros generated for late assignments are replaced/overridden as soon as the assignment is graded. Automatic zeros can be helpful for both instructors and students, to see immediately that a deadline has been missed so they can work to resolve the situation.  

Gradebook Settings menu - Automatic Zeros submenu

Overall Grade

The overall grade can be accessed and managed from within the gradebook settings menu.

For a detailed walkthrough of setting up and calculating the overall course grade, see the Ultra Course - Overall Grade Answers page. 

Gradebook Settings menu - Manage Overall Grade submenu

Grade Categories

Categories are used to group items in the gradebook for the purposes of calculating/weighting overall grades and applying special grading rules such as dropping the lowest two quiz grades. 

There are nine pre-generated grading categories available by default in all Blackboard courses. Assignment, Test, Discussion, Journal, and Form correspond to the standard types of graded items that can be created in the Course Content area. New items of each type will default to the corresponding grade category. Additionally, Exam, Homework, Presentation, and Quiz are included as options in the category list in all Blackboard courses. 

Any graded item can be assigned to any grade category, regardless of the category it originally belonged to. For example, to create a Quiz, start by creating a new assessment as either an Assignment or a Test. After adding the assessment instructions and questions, change the grade category to "Quiz" and then save. The grade category can be changed at any time, even after student submissions have been made.

Grading weights and special rules can be set by category in the Overall Grade editor - see previous section. 

Additional grade categories can be created by clicking the button labeled "Add New Category" in the gradebook settings menu. Custom grade categories will display at the top of the list, with the newest on top. For example, a custom grade category called "Portfolio Components" could be created to track and manage multiple separate submissions that are all to be graded collectively in the overall course grade as components of a final portfolio project.

List of default grading categories included in the gradebook settings

Course Rubrics

Rubrics can be created and edited in the gradebook settings menu. All rubrics added to the course are listed here alphabetically. To create a new rubric, click the "Create" button at the top of the rubric list. To use or edit an existing rubric, click the three-dot menu (...) to the right of the rubric name. 

For a full overview of creating and using grading rubrics in Ultra, including the AI Design Assistant rubric generator, see the full Answers page on Grading Rubrics.

Gradebook Settings menu - Course Rubrics submenu and rubric list

Overall Grade Notations

The Overall Grade column is useful for giving high-level feedback and tracking student progress to help both students and instructors know generally how well a student is doing in a course. Generally the overall grade is calculated automatically based on submitted work, according to rules the instructor designates - see the the Overall Grade section above. 

However, sometimes it can be useful to override the overall grade for specific users. In some cases not all students are evaluated according to the same criteria, such as when a student is participating in some course activities as part of an independent study, or when a student is taking an incomplete but still needs access to the Blackboard course. In other cases, a user with "Student" access to a Blackboard course is not an enrolled student but a guest observer, CLASS tutor, or academic support staff member. By creating an override code for such cases, instructors can easily find or filter out certain "student" users when looking at the gradebook in grid view. 

To create an override code, click the button labeled "Add Overall Grade Notation."  Enter the grade code (maximum 6 characters) and description. Return to the main gradebook grid view. The override code(s) are now listed as menu options when clicking on student's overall grade. Selecting an override option will apply that notation to the student's overall grade, and change the color of the grade bubble to gray. Both instructor and student will see the override code in the gradebook; it will not change unless manually removed/updated by an instructor. 

Gradebook Setting menu - Overall Grade Notations submenu

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