Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Adding Categories and Weighted Columns

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In BlackBoard 9 when you when you use a tool to create a graded assignment, test, discussion, or other type of work for students the system automatically assigns a category to that grade book column. These categories allow you to filter columns into various views.

These views are called “Smart Views.” By default the grade center has the full Grade Center which allows you to see all the columns in the grade book. The Needs Grading view allows you to see only items that need grades. The Assignment view separate items marked as Assignments from all the other columns. The Test View allows you to see only items in the category of test.

The advantage to having columns in various categories is that it reduces the amount of scrolling you need to do when trying to access various grade book items. Another advantage to categories is the ability to use Weighted Column. Weighted Column allows you to assign certain weights to class projects. An example would be something like assignments worth 20 percent, discussions worth 20 percent, homework worth 10 percent, and quizzes worth 50 percent of the student grade.

Normally using a specific tool automatically add that tool name as the category, but you can manually override the default settings. It is a two-step process, first you must create the various categories and then assign the categories to the columns.

Create the Categories

From the Full Grade Center select Manage> Categories. Click the Create Category button to create a new category such as Home Work, Exams, or Quizzes.

Assign the Categories to Columns

From the full grade center select the action link beside the column title and choose Edit Column Information. Change the Category to the new category type and click Submit.


Making Smart Views

In the Full Grade Center> Manage> Smart Views> Create Smart View

Name, check Add as Favorite, click Category and Status, and choose Category and All Users. Click Submit.

The new category will appear in the Control Panel under the Grade Center.

Create a Smart View

Create a Smart View


Weighted Column

Go to the Full Grade Center> Create Calculated Column> Weighted Column

Give the Column a name, choose the categories you want to include in the weighted columns, assign a percentage to each item in the selected categories (Total weight must add up to 100%), and click submit.

Weighted Column

Weighted Column


I have a faculty member that uses categories to divide test into exams, quizzes, and homework. She can then use the weighted columns to assign percentages to the various types of test. This is just one example of how you was use weighted columns to calculate grades.




Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

October 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

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