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Most Common Blackboard Grade Center Problem

Keeping a clean Blackboard Grade Center can be tricky at times! The most common problem instructors encounter is that the Total column doesn't show the expected number of points possible, which can affect percentages and letter grades. This page will explore three common scenarios that lead to this problem.

But first some basics - To see the total number of points possible for any column in the Grade Center, hover over the column heading and the points possible will display above it. This is a quick and easy way to check this important setting.


Reasons why the Blackboard grade Total column may be off:

Hidden Columns:

The Total number of points may include points from a grade column that is hidden from view. When you hide a grade column as shown below, the points still count towards the total grade AND the students will still see it, but you won't. 


To check for hidden columns, put your cursor over the Manage button and select Column Organization.

Look for grayed-out columns that have points assigned to them.

Un-hide those columns and delete them if not needed.

(Note: If the column is a Blackboard assignment that is deployed, you have to delete the assignment to delete the column in the Grade Center.)

Another way hidden columns cause problems is if the instructor hides a column from the students. Then the instructor still sees the column in the Grade Center, but the students do not. If the points count towards the Total, the number of points don't make sense for the students.

In the Edit Column Information options:

Running Total:

During the semester, setting the Total column as a Running Total works well because empty grade cells are not treated as zeroes, i.e. students are not penalized for future assignments. But at the end of the semester, empty grade cells are usually considered zeroes. For final grades, edit the Total column settings to not be a running total. This saves you the time of entering zero into all the empty grade cells.


Extra Credit:

Extra credit assignments should be set to zero Points Possible. Then the Total column's possible points won't be affected, but any extra credit points awarded will increase the student's total points. Edit Column to change the Points Possible to zero.


For individual help with Blackboard Grade Center problems, contact the ITS Instructional Services team at


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North Dakota State University
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 3:52:16 PM
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