Grading Schema

Before you can grade a student using an A, B, C etc, a grading schema needs to be applied to a column first. Grading schemas translate a score into a grade. In Blackboard is done by the percentage the student achieved from the total amount the assessment is out of. For this reason, to use a grading schema, an assessment needs to be out of a number otherwise a percentage cannot be calculated.

Percent range for each grade needs to be calculated before creating a schema in Blackboard.

Lets take for example a grade range from of D, C, B, A. You have an assessment that is worth 10 marks. Assuming students can only get whole numbers then the break down of marks to percentages is:

10 10 100%
9 10 90%
8 10 80%
7 10 70%
6 10 60%
5 10 50%
4 10 40%
3 10 30%
2 10 20%
1 10 10%
0 10 0%

Now you can assign the grade to each percentage. For example:

10 10 100% A
9 10 90% A
8 10 80% B
7 10 70% B
6 10 60% C
5 10 50% C
4 10 40% D
3 10 30% D
2 10 20% D
1 10 10% D
0 10 0% D


‘A’ will be 90% to 100%
‘B’ will be 70% and less than 90%
‘C’ will be 50% and less than 70%
‘D’ will be 0% and less than 50%

In Blackboard this will look like:


Create a Schema

The official Grade Map 1 schema from Arion is represented in Blackboard as follow:

Grades Scored Between Will Equal Grades Manually Entered as Will Calculate as
89.5% and 100% A+ A+ 94%
84.5% and Less Than 89.5% A A 87%
79.5% and Less Than 84.5% A- A- 81%
74.5% and Less Than 79.5% B+ B+ 77%
69.5% and Less Than 74.5% B B 72%
64.5% and Less Than 69.5% B- B- 67%
59.5% and Less Than 64.5% C+ C+ 62%
54.5% and Less Than 59.5% C C 57%
49.5% and Less Than 54.5% C- C- 52%
0% and Less Than 49.5% D D 0%

Below is how you would create the above schema in Blackboard.

Apply a Schema to a Column

  1. Click the down arrow on the column you want to apply a schema to then click ‘Edit Column Information’.
  2. Locate ‘Primary Display’ and click the down arrow of the drop down. Click the schema you want to apply to this column
  3. The score will now change to a grade represented by the schema

‘Primary Display’ is what students will see in their My Grades. If the student got an ‘A’ in the Grade Centre then they will see an ‘A’ in My Grades. You can specify a ‘Secondary Display’ if you want see, for example, what the percentage was for that grade. This is done in the same place where you set ‘Primary Display’. Secondary display appears in the Grade Centre in brackets. For example if ‘Percentage’ was set for ‘Secondary Display’ it will appear in the Grade Centre as, A (95%). Secondary display does not show for students in My Grades. It is used as a guide for lecturers in the Grade Centre.

Marking using Grades

If a grading schema is applied to a column you can directly enter a grade for a student rather than putting in a score. Note that when this is done, Blackboard translate that grade into a score. This is done by the ‘Will Calculate as’ column in the schema. For example if we have an assessment that is out 10 and we are using a grading schema that has the following:

Grades Scored Between Will Equal Grades Manually Entered as Will Calculate as
89.5% and 100% A+ A+ 94%

If an ‘A+’ was enter as a grade for the student, Blackboard will calculate 94% of 10 and input that as a score. This means that the student will get 9.4 out of 10. Since 9.4 out of 10 falls in the 89.5% to 100% range, the student will see A+. Since the student got 9.4 this may cause mis-calculations in calculated columns. Knowing this it is a good idea to select ‘Score’ or ‘Percentage’ as your ‘Secondary Display’ when setting up the grade column. The ‘Secondary Display’ is not visible to students, but is helpful for Lecturers/Course Leaders in understanding the number value associated with a grade.

Jawyei Wong has written 17 articles