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External Grade Columns Are Necessary!

By default, every course automatically has one column set as the "External Grade" column.  This External Grade column contains a green check mark icon in the column heading.

Columns set as the External Grade column cannot be deleted, but an alternate column can be set as the External Grade column, if it is a calculated column. Calculated columns are columns created to sum the scores contained in other columns; (i.e. Total, Weighted Total, etc.) You cannot type scores into a Calculated column.

To set an External Grade column:

  1. Choose a Calculated column which is NOT hidden from student view - if you can type scores into a column, it is NOT a calculated column and should NOT be set as the External Grade column!
  2. Click the down arrow icon to the right of the column name at the top of the column
  3. Click "Set as External Grade - the green check mark moves to the selected column
    Set as External Grade

A recent Blackboard "bug" with the External Grade setting can prevent students from checking their grades for some courses!

Students prefer to check grades for all of their courses at once using My Grades from the Global Navigation toolbar or Tools | My Grades on the Home tab in Blackboard:

- OR -

If a course is missing from the My Grades course list, there are 3 possible reasons:

  • Occasionally, a copied course has no External Grade column set in the Grade Center for the course
  • The instructor set the External Grade on a Grade column (can type scores in the column) rather than a Calculated column
  • The External Grade column is Hidden from student view in My Grades

To make sure the course is visible in the My Grades by course list, use the steps above to set the External Grade column on a Calculated column which is not hidden from student view.

Note: Students can still view their grades for an individual course even if they cannot see the course in the My Grades by course list. Students can open the individual course, then click Tools | My Grades to see the grades for that course alone.


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North Dakota State University
IT Help Desk Phone: +1 (701) 231-8685
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Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2017 9:42:15 AM
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