Creating Columns in the Gradebook

When to Use?

Adding assignments or tests to the course automatically create columns in the gradebook. Blackboard Ultra also provides the ability to manually create columns.


Creating a Manually Graded Column

Manually graded columns can be created for assignments that don't require a submission in Blackboard such as class participation, extra credit, and in-class graded assignments. When you create a gradable item in your course, a gradebook item is created automatically. If you want to add grades for an item that doesn’t require submissions, such as extra credit, you can create a manually graded item. These grade items are also called manual grades, manually created items, or offline items.

You can't add files, rubrics, goals, or groups to manually added items. If you want to add these options to assessments without submissions, see: Collect submissions offline.

To create a manually graded column:

1. In your course gradebook, look under Gradable Items.

2. Select the plus sign wherever you want to add an item and select Add Item.

Add Item in Gradebook

3. In the panel, type a title like Class Participation or Extra Credit #1 if you intend to have more than one of the same manually graded items throughout the course.

  • NOTE: The title has a limit of 255 characters. If you don't add a title, "New Item" and the date appear in the list.

4. Optionally, make the item visible to students.

Make Visible/Hide from Students

5. Provide the details, such as a description and a graded unit. You can choose points, percentages, or letters. If you choose points, specify the maximum number of points possible.

  • NOTE: If you are using this column for extra credit, set the points possible to 0.

6. Optionally, add the new item to a category to use when you create weighted grade calculations.

7. Click Save. Now you can click on the newly created column and begin entering students' grades by clicking in the blank fields under Grade. You can also add feedback for each student.



Creating a Total Points Column

The total points column must be created as a calculated column. Currently, the overall grade feature in Blackboard Ultra only calculates students’ weighted grades and not total points. Currently, extra credit cannot be added to weighted grades in the Ultra Course View. 

Creating a Total column

1. In the gradebook, look under Gradable Items.

2. Select the plus sign where you want to add the Total Points column and select Add Calculation.

Add Calculation to Gradebook

3. At the top, name the new item “Total Points” and optionally, type a description. The Grade Schema should read Points.

4. From the functions list, choose “Total.”  Now hover over the newly added Total tab and click the drop-down arrow. There are check boxes for every category and each individual assignment.

Total Column

5. If you are using categories (adding each individual assignment, test, and manually graded item to a category) you can select the appropriate categories here, otherwise select each individual assignment you want to be calculated in a student’s total grade.

  • Note: Selecting both a category and an individual item that is included in that category will result in a duplicate grade.

6. Click Save.


Adding Extra Credit to the Total column

** You can create an Extra Credit column using the instructions found in the following Knowledge Base Article – Creating a Manually Graded Column.

Once the extra credit column has been created, and students’ extra credit grades are posted, you will need to edit your Total Points column created above to include the newly created Extra Credit column.

1. In list view, click on the ellipses (...) to the left of the gradebook column name and select Edit. In grid view, click the gradebook column name and select Edit.

2. In the calculation details, hover over the Total tab that shows all the columns included in the total function. Click the drop-down arrow and check the box associated with the extra credit column(s).

3. Click Save. The total points column will now include the extra credit column in its total calculation.



Creating Weighted Columns

Create weighted columns in Blackboard Ultra by adding a calculated column. These weighted calculations generate a grade that is based on the result of the selected graded items, categories, other calculations, and their respective percentages.


A calculation is a formula that produces a numerical result used to view or assign grades. You can create your own formulas and use common math operations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and use group operators.

You can add calculations based on the average, total, maximum, or minimum of the variables you include, such as categories, graded items, and other calculations. You can add as many calculations as you need.

1. In your gradebook, look under Gradable Items.

2. Select the plus sign where you want to add the weighted column and select Add Calculation.

3. At the top, name the new column. Optionally, add a description and make the calculation column visible to students. Students see calculated grades on their Grades pages, but they don't see your descriptions or formulas.

4. Determine how the result of the calculation appears. In the Select a grade schema menu, choose Points, Percentage, or Letter.

5. Create your formula. In the left pane, click a function, variable, or operator to add it to the right pane.


Your Blackboard Ultra course has four tests and a final exam. You want to use the following formula to weigh each for a "Weighted Tests" calculation.

Basic formula:

Test 1 x .15 + Test 2 x .15 + Test 3 x .15 + Test 4 x .15 + Final Exam x .40

  • Select tests individually by clicking Variable from the menu, hover your mouse over the newly added variable tab, and select the first test. 
  • Select the multiplication operator.
  • Select Value, this will insert a value field you can type into. Add the percentage for each test, such as .15.
  • Add the addition operator
  • Repeat the above steps until you have created the above formula. You can include parenthesis as well to follow order of operations. The calculation is valid either way and produces the same result.

6. Click Save.

Note: Students won't see the weighted column until it has a grade and you make the item visible to them.

Functions and Variables

  • Average: Generates the average for a selected number of graded items, categories, and other calculations. For example, you can find the average score on all tests.
  • Total: Generates a total based on the cumulative points, related to the points allowed. You can select which graded items, categories, and other calculations are included in the calculation.
  • Minimum: Generates the minimum grade for a selection of graded items, categories, and other calculations. For example, you can find the minimum score on all assignments.
  • Maximum: Generates the maximum grade for a selection of graded items, categories, and other calculations. For example, you can find the maximum score on all discussions.
  • Variable: Select an individual graded item or calculation from the menu. You may only add one variable at a time. Continue to add variables from the left pane to add as many variables as you need.


  • Add ( + )
  • Subtract ( - )
  • Divide ( / )
  • Multiply ( * )
  • Open Parenthesis (
  • Close Parenthesis )
  • Value: After the text box appears in the formula, click in the box to add a numeric value. You can include seven digits before a decimal point and four digits after it. When the calculation is generated and appears in students' grade pills, only two digits appear after the decimal point.

Weighted Calculation Improvements - Effective May 2024

Now instructors can assign equal weights to items in the same categories. The chosen calculation method, whether proportional or equal, applies to all categories. In the past, weighted items in the same category had proportional weights. These weighted items were based on the possible points of each item. 

To better understand student performance, some instructors use drop rules to remove outliers. Because it’s important to know the weighting method when managing these settings, we now display the instructor's chosen weighting option in the calculation rules panel.

Image 1. Instructor view of the new Proportionally and Equally weighted calculation options

Instructor view of the new Proportionally and Equally weighted calculation options



To create an overall grade column that shows students their final letter grade, you will first have to edit the default grading schema to match your own.

To edit the gradebook grading schema:

1. Select the Settings icon to access the Gradebook Settings panel.

2. Select the Current Grading Schema option to see the active schema for the course, such as Letter.

3. You can now edit, delete, or add grade ranges. Select a value to edit it. Start from the bottom and edit the values for the last grade value and move to the next row. You can make the uppermost value greater than 100%. For example, if a student earns 100% or more, you can assign A+ to those scores.

To delete a row, point to the row and the delete icon appears. At least two rows must remain for the schema to be valid, and you can't delete the last row. To insert a row, select the plus sign (+) that appears below each row, except before the first row.

4. Select Save when you're finished. You're unable to leave the panel until you select Save or Cancel. Then, select the X to return to the Gradebook Settings panel.

When you add or delete rows or edit values in the schema, the remaining rows and values adjust when you save. The system ensures that no numeric gaps exist in the schema. The system also displays an error message when you type an invalid number.

If you make changes, the changes only apply to the course you're in.

Creating Columns for Overall Letter Grades

Now you can create an Overall Grade Column that will use your Letter Grade Schema to display students' overall grades.

1. To set up an overall grade column, you can click Set it up when prompted to Set up the overall grade column; or Select the Settings icon to access the Gradebook Settings panel and scroll down to Overall Grade.

2. On the page that appears, you can configure how the overall grade is calculated.

3. To get started, choose between Gradebook item weights or Gradebook category weights in Overall Grade Settings. The course content list changes based on your selection, and you can begin to assign grade percentage weights. If you use category weights to calculate the overall grade, you can expand a category to see the graded items included.

4. To make items or categories exempt from the overall grade, select the Exempt icon next to the overall grade percentage field. The item or category turns gray to indicate that it's not included in the calculation. Select the icon again to include the item or category in the calculation again.

5. Select Save.

The Overall Grade column appears in the Gradebook next to the students' names so you can quickly see how each student is performing. The overall grade percentage will now be connected to the Letter grade schema you created.


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Article ID: 13968
Fri 6/2/23 10:50 AM
Tue 6/11/24 3:36 PM