Blackboard is a popular learning management system (LMS) used by many educational institutions to deliver online courses and supplement traditional face-to-face courses. One of the key features of Blackboard is its grading tools, which allow instructors to evaluate student work, calculate grades, and provide feedback efficiently.
Grading assignments and assessments is a critical part of teaching, but it can also be very time-consuming. With Blackboard’s grading features, instructors can streamline the process and focus their efforts on providing meaningful feedback to students. In this guide, we’ll walk through the step-by-step process for grading assignments in Blackboard, from accessing student submissions to posting grades.
The first step in grading is accessing student work. There are a few ways to view assignments in Blackboard:
- Grade Center – This shows all submissions for all assignments in one place.
- Course Content Folder – You can access assignment submissions in the content folder where the assignment link or file is located.
- Announcement/Forum – Grade forum posts and assignments submitted through announcements directly in each tool.
The Grade Center provides the most convenient way to find all submissions in one place and begin grading. To access it, from the Control Panel, go to Grade Center > Full Grade Center. Here you will see columns for each assignment and rows for each student with cells for their submission status and grades.
There are several methods for grading assignments in Blackboard:
Grade annotations allow you to provide comments and feedback right within the Grade Center. To use them:
- Navigate to the cell for a student’s assignment submission.
- Click the action link to open the attempt.
- Review the submission and use the inline commenting tools to provide feedback.
- Enter a grade and additional comments in the Grade Annotation box.
- Click Submit to save the annotation.
Creating rubrics for assignments ahead of time allows for faster and more consistent grading. Steps include:
- Build the rubric when creating the assignment with criteria and point values.
- While grading, scores and feedback will auto-populate based on the rubric.
- Grade the assignment and click Submit.
The Needs Grading page provides a simple way to quickly grade one assignment submission after another. Follow these steps:
- Go to Needs Grading page.
- Use dropdown to filter by assignment.
- Click a student’s name to view submission.
- Enter grade and feedback.
- Click Submit.
- Repeat for each student submission.
For assignment files like documents or presentations, you may want to download all submissions to your computer to grade:
- Go to Full Grade Center and click on the assignment column header.
- Select Download Submissions.
- Unzip the folder containing all files to your computer.
- Review and annotate each file using your preferred software.
- Return to Grade Center and enter grades/feedback.
Once you’ve completed grading an assignment, the last step is to post grades for students to see. You have a few options for releasing grades:
- Manually enter grades: Type each student’s score directly in the Grade Center.
- Upload grades from a spreadsheet: Grade assignments offline and upload all grades at once from a CSV file.
- Post automatically: Blackboard can be set to automatically update Grade Center columns when a graded item is returned to a student.
Grades will display on students’ My Grades page, but you control exactly when that happens. Make sure to modify availability settings for each column in the Grade Center to specify when grades become visible.
Tips for Efficient Grading
Grading in Blackboard becomes more manageable with these best practices:
- Use keyboard shortcuts like “Next Student” while grading.
- Create reusable rubrics for consistent grading across assignments.
- Set default grading schemas by section to simplify entering grades.
- Enable delegation so TAs can help with grading.
- Provide group feedback in announcement posts instead of commenting on each paper.
- Use Blackboard’s analytics to identify at-risk students who need grading follow-ups.
Here is a table summarizing the different grading methods in Blackboard:
|Comment and score assignments right in the Grade Center.
|Easily provide inline feedback; good for short text responses.
|Time consuming for long submissions; no rubrics.
|Evaluate assignments against rubric criteria.
|Fast grading; consistent evaluation.
|Need time to make quality rubrics.
|Quickly move between students’ submissions.
|Simple workflow for batch grading.
|Hard to give detailed feedback.
|Grade locally using your preferred software tools.
|Use tools like Track Changes for robust feedback.
|Slower to move between students.
Grading in Blackboard becomes more efficient once you learn how to best leverage its built-in tools. Focus on providing actionable feedback, standardizing rubrics, simplifying workflows, and monitoring grades continuously to intervene with struggling students. Consistent use of Blackboard’s grading features will lead to higher quality feedback and a more organized system for evaluating student work at scale.