On Monday morning, 23rd November, Blackboard engineers ran a process to hide two Grade Centre columns. The change was prompted by a desire to avoid confusion for students, and save time for staff.
What does the change mean?
Following this change, on all Blackboard courses
- the Total column has been hidden from both staff and students
- the Weighted Total column has been hidden from students, but is still visible to staff in the Grade Centre.
The Total column is at best meaningless, and at worst seriously misleading for students (see further details below). We have been advising staff to hide this column on all courses, as it provides a way for students to access their interim grades while marking is still taking place.
As a result of this change, the Total column has been automatically hidden, so staff can have greater control over when assessment marks and feedback are released to students.
The Weighted Column can be used to calculate and display a mark based on a selected number of other Columns, with each column individually weighted (see our guide Using Calculated Columns). We are hiding the Weighted Total column because it is used on very few courses, and is thus a distraction to students.
I use the Weighted Total column – how can I get it back?
If you do make use of the Weighted Total column on your course, you will need to unhide it.
To do this
- in your course, go to Control Panel > Grade Centre > Full Grade Centre
- locate the Weighted Total column – you will see that it has the ‘hidden’ icon next to it
- hover over the Weighted Total column heading, and click on the editing arrow.
- click Hide from Students (on/off)
- the Weighted Total column will now display like this in the Grade Centre
meaning that it is visible to students via My Grades.
If you have any queries about the changes, please log an IT Service Desk call.
Why we are making these changes – technical details
By default these two columns are visible both to staff (in the Grade Centre) and to students (via My Grades).
This simply aggregates the student’s score on all other Grade Centre items.
Potentially this could include both summative and formative assignments and tests – including assessments which do not contribute to the official module score, or which the individual student was not required to complete.
The column displays the total number of points awarded to the student – not a percentage. From the student point of view the total shown is at best meaningless, and at worst seriously misleading (e.g. they might see Total = 84, not realising that this is 84/300).In addition, unless the right settings are applied, the Total column can be a source of grade “leakage”, where interim marks for a summative assessment are hidden from students prior to moderation, but those marks are automatically included in the Total score. We have been advising staff to hide this column on all of their courses, but this causes additional work, and has not always been done.
If you do need to view the Total column, please see this guide for instructions on how to do this: Make the Total column visible
- Weighted Total
A Weighted Column calculates and displays a mark based on a selected number of other columns, based upon each column’s respective worth of the total mark. By default the Grade Centre displays an empty, unpopulated Weighted Column. In order for a score to be displayed here, an instructor needs to configure the column to include and weight scores from other Grade Centre items.
The column is rarely used, so in most cases it displays as empty to students. Therefore this is not misleading, but is usually an irrelevance and a distraction.