In Blackboard’s Grade Center, there are two main types of columns that you can create: Individual Columns and Calculated Columns. Understanding the difference between these two types of columns and knowing when to use each one is relevant to effective grade management.

Individual Columns

Individual columns are created for each gradable item in your course. This includes assignments, tests, quizzes, discussions, journals, blogs, and any other activities that you want to grade. Each time you create a gradable item in your course, an associated individual column is automatically created in the Grade Center.

Individual columns are where you, as an instructor, will enter students’ grades for each assignment or activity. They allow you to track students’ performance on individual tasks throughout the course.

Calculated Columns

Calculated columns, on the other hand, are used to perform calculations on the grades from individual columns. There are several types of calculated columns, including Total, Weighted Total, Average, Minimum/Maximum, and Total of Selected Columns.

  • The Total column adds up points from selected columns.
  • The Weighted Total column calculates a total based on weighted percentages that you assign to selected columns.
  • The Average column calculates the mean grade for selected columns.
  • The Minimum/Maximum column displays the lowest or highest grade from selected columns.

Calculated columns are useful for providing a running total or average of grades, calculating final grades, or determining grades for a specific category of assignments (e.g., all quizzes or all homework assignments).

When to Create Individual and Calculated Columns

As a rule of thumb, you should create individual columns for each gradable item in your course. This is usually done automatically when you create gradable items in your course areas but you can do that manually as well, but selecting Create Column from the Full Grade Center.

Calculated columns should be created when you want to calculate totals, averages, or other calculations based on the grades in individual columns. For example, you might create a calculated column at the end of the semester to calculate final grades based on all the individual assignment grades. Or, you might create a calculated column to keep a running total or average of grades throughout the semester.


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