Overview of the Grade Centre

Parts of the Grade Centre

The Blackboard Grade Centre is available in your modules under Course Management. Click into the Full Grade Centre to gain access.

The Full Grade Centre will appear with the following parts:

  1. Username and Student ID: Your students are identified by their student ID number in both columns.
  2. Last Access: This column shows you when a student last accessed this module. This can be used to monitor student engagement.  
  3. Course Instance: The Course Instance column indicates the course code where a student is enrolled.  This can be useful for organisational purposes.
  4. Provisional: This column is used to release provisional marks to your students.  These marks are between you and your students, and are not sent elsewhere.
  5. Final Mark: This column is used to send final marks to the Student Information System.

Please note: 

This is the default view of the Grade Centre.  Additional columns will appear if instructors add them. This can be done through adding elements such as assignments, Turnitin assignments, Qwickly Attendance or even manually adding columns.  If you are missing any of these columns, please proceed to the Error! Reference source not found. section of this manual.  

Visibility of Marks to Students

In the Grade Centre, columns can be either hidden or visible to students. 

Final Mark

As indicated by the pink stroke beside the title, the Final Mark column is hidden from students by default. This column replace the whitesheets for returning results and should remain hidden from students.

Provisional Mark

The Provisional Mark column is not hidden from students by default. It should be hidden from students until you wish to release these marks, which is covered on the next page.  It is also set as their external grade as evidenced by the green tick beside the title.  This means that students can go to the Report Card widget on their Blackboard home page and view all their Provisional grades for their modules.

Managing and Organising the Grade Centre

As previously covered, the Grade Centre has default columns and settings.  That is how you will find your Grade Centre when you first begin to use it.

Showing and Hiding Columns

Please do not include the grade centre if you are using Blackboard's Course Copy functionality.

It will create duplicate columns that might result in marks not being returned correctly. 

As an Instructor or a Grader on a module, you are responsible for managing the information students can see.  Thus, we stress the importance of learning to show and hide columns.

By default, the Provisional column is not hidden from students.  You should hide this column until you are ready to release your marks, and this can be done as follows:

  • Click on the chevron beside the title and choose Edit Column Information
  • Scroll to the bottom of this page to the Options section, and select No in the Show this Column to Students option. Click Submit when you are finished making this change.
  • When you return to the Grade Centre, you will see that the column is now hidden as evidenced in the pink stroke beside the title.  Simply reverse this step to release this column to students when you are ready.

Organising Columns

  • If you like to reorganise your columns, there is an option to do so under Manage > Column Organisation:
  • This area will allow you to drag and drop columns around to your liking.  It is not advised that you use the Total column as its calculations derive from the adding of all columns.

You can use this information to better organise your Grade Centre in two ways.

(a) Organising the Full Grade Centre by Course Instance

  • For a small class, you can organise the Grade Centre using the Course Instance column by simply clicking on the column name. 
  • This will reorganise the class list by course instance rather than surname.
  • In this instance, a student without an associated course instance code is present, and their registration should be checked. 

(b) Creating Smart Views

For organising larger classes, there is an option to create Smart Views that can separate students into smaller groups based on their course instance code.  This could come in useful for returning marks for international students, or in modules with a variety of course instance codes. 

  • In the Full Grade Centre, go to Manage > Smart Views
  • Click on Create Smart View
  • In the Create Smart View area, follow these instructions before clicking Submit:
  • Once created, the Smart View will appear as under the Full Grade Centre area in your menu
  • This area can now be accessed similarly to your Full Grade Centre.  You can input marks and download the new area in Excel.  

Using Course Instance Codes

A column now appears in the Blackboard Grade Centre to indicate the course instance code in which a student is registered.  This column is not only useful for organising large numbers of students, but it also indicates if a student is properly registered for their course or not. 

If no course instance code appears beside a student’s name, this indicates that the student was manually added to the Blackboard course.


No course instance beside the name means that the student is not registered for the module and an official mark cannot be returned for this student.

The lecturer or module co-ordinator must email reghelp@nuigalway.ie with a request to register the student for the module in the SIS (Quercus).  Note that students cannot directly request a change to their registration after online registration has closed.

The course instance column appears as follows:

Using Your Own Columns

If you have using Blackboard for students to submit assignments or complete tests, you may have columns in your grade centre that you would like to calculate your students’ marks. 

You might also wish to create a column to keep a record of marks, for instance a final exam that might be paper-based.  In this section, we will look at the types of columns available to you, and how to use them to calculate marks.

Automatically Generated Columns

When instructors create an assessment, for instance, an assignment or MCQ, they will often select the option to have that assessment appear in the Blackboard Grade Centre. While these columns can be used to release grades to students or for record keeping, they can also be used to help calculate Provisional and Final Marks. If you would like to move straight on to Calculated Columns.

It is not advised that you rename or delete any default columns.  

Create Column

You might choose to create a standard column to include assignments in the Grade Centre that take place outside of Blackboard.  These might include paper-based exams, presentations or lab reports. 

  • You can create a standard column in the Grade Centre by clicking on Create Column.
  • You can then name and select the appropriate settings for this column.  After you submit, the column will appear at the end of your Grade Centre.

Standard columns will require grades to be entered manually.  The most fitting uses for these columns might be to enter the results of a paper-based exam or to include the results from a presentation.