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Gradebook Issues

You can set up the gradebook in Bb Learn to report student grades as either a Running Total or a Grand Total, but neither of these is ideal. We have come up with a good middle ground between these two extremes, but it's a bit of extra work for the instructor. To explain the issue, let's look at an example:

Example: Let's say that your course has a total of 100 points that students can earn, spread across 10 assignments. Assignments are worth 10 points each, and our example student earns a full 10/10 on the first and second assignments, but then fails to complete any further assignments. Blackboard will give you one of the following options on reporting grades to students in your Totals column in the Grade Center, under Edit Column Information: Selecting Yes gives you a Running Total. Selecting No gives you a Grand Total.

running total

1. Running Total (Points Earned on Assignments Attempted)

2. Grand Total (Points Earned out of Total Points in the Course)

The Problem: The first method of grade reporting gives the student a false sense of security. It reports the course grade as an A, when the student has missed the deadline for assignment 3. The second method of grade reporting is demoralizing because, even if a student is doing well and completing all assignments on time, the grade will be reported as an F until close to the end of the course. What we really need is a more accurate method of grade reporting that is between these two extremes.

The Fix: Any student work submitted after the deadline requires manual approval, which is fine, but when the student fails to submit work at all, and the deadline has passed, the grade is recorded as a null, and must be manually changed to a zero. What we wish Blackboard would do is to give us the option to automatically change the grade for missing work from a null (-) to a zero (0) after the due date has passed. Then, if we use method 1 (Running Total) to report the grade, that would give our student a wake-up call that the course grade is slipping. If the instructor allows late work, that would prompt the student to get the work done to bring the grade back up. If not, the student at least knows to turn in future work by the deadline or earn another bad grade. To give students a more accurate in-progress grade, the instructor can manually change nulls to zeroes after the due date has passed. This will force Blackboard to count these assignments in the running total. In a large class, that can be a lot of work but, for now, that's the best thing we can recommend. We have submitted this feature request to the company, but don't expect quick action.

Running Total (with late work changed from null to zero)


Other Gradebook Topics: Extra Credit | Drop Lowest Grade | Grade Upload | Working Offline