Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Blackboard 9 Grade Center Series: Delete Grade Center Columns

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A question I am often asked is how to delete specific columns from the grade book. There are basically two things you need to keep in mind when trying to clean up the grade center and eliminate unwanted columns.

First, you cannot delete the default user columns and the external grade column. If you set a grade or calculated column as the external grade column, you must select another column as the external grade column before you can delete the first one.

To check to see if the column is an external grade, go to the full grade center, if there is a green checkmark to the left of the column header it means the column is an external grade column. You can also click the action link beside the column header and select Quick Column Information to see the column properties.

Quick Column Information

Quick Column Information

If the column is External, you must change it before you can delete the column. To change the column for External you just need to mark a new column External. Select a new column and click the action link beside the header column. Click Set as External Grade. The previous external column will no longer be external and can be deleted. The new column will be marked as external.

External Grade

External Grade

The second thing you need to know is the Grade book automatically creates columns in the Grade Center when you use some of the tools within blackboard. Some of the tools that automatically creates columns include:

  • Tests
  • Surveys
  • Self and Peer Assessments
  • Assignments
  • Discussions
  • Journal
  • Blog
  • Wiki

The only way to delete these auto-created grade columns from the grade center is to delete the gradable items or make that item not gradable. As you can see from the image below, the Word Discussion column is associated with the tool. When you select the action link and look at the menu, you can only hide the column. In the second image, Participation, there is a delete option. This means the column is not associated with a tool and can be deleted.

Delete Column

Delete Column

In order to delete the Word Discussion, you must first disassociate it from the tool. Unfortunately clicking on the Edit Column Information in the grade center will not permit you to disassociate the column. The Edit Column Information link in the grade center is a scaled down version of the discussion edit function. You must go and edit the discussion from the discussion tool.

Click on Course Tools> Discussion Board> and find the correct forum. From the action link beside the forum name click Edit. In the Forum Settings section, select No Grading in Forum.

Forum Settings

Forum Settings

When you select submit, to save the changes, you will receive a warning message letting you know the grades will be deleted.

warning message

warning message

When you return to the Full Grade Center the Column will be gone.

Not all tools will allow you to disassociate a column; things like Assignments and Test are set automatically with grades. With these tools, you must either delete the assignment or make it unavailable. If you make the assignment or quiz unavailable to the students, it will not show in the student grade book, but it will show on the grade center page.

To make it disappear from your view, from the full grade center click the action link beside the column header and select Hide from Instructor View.

Hide from Instructor View

Hide from Instructor View

The column will still exist but you cannot see it. To access it in the future from the full grade center click Manage> Column Organization.



You will see the column is marked Hidden. You will just need to select the column and click Show/Hide to bring the column back to your view.

If you know you will never use the assignment or test again you can delete it, but keep in mind once it is deleted it is gone forever.

Always use caution when deleting gradable content in your course; you must carefully consider what the ramifications may be. Student work, such as test and assignment submissions, is deleted along with the deletion of the content item in your course. The action is final.



Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

August 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

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