Evaluate Student Work


Instructors can add an assignment to receive student work within Blackboard. Assignment creation triggers a new column creation in the "Grade Center" spreadsheet and allows all assignment submissions to be downloaded at once.

Add an Assignment

  1. Navigate to a content area within the course.
  2. Select "Create Assessment" from the action menu items.
    Create Assessment Screenshot
  3. Select "Assignment" from the dropdown menu.
  4. Enter necessary information regarding the assignment title, description, and upload any files if necessary.
  5. Enter the number of points possible that students can achieve.
  6. Select when to make the assignment available to students.
  7. Click "Submit" to complete the creation process.
    Example Assessment Screenshot

Note: The assignment link should be visible in the course content area where it was placed.

Note: Once a student submits an assignment, an exclamation point icon will appear in the respective column and row for the assignment in the Grade Center spreadsheet.
Grade Center Assessment Column Screenshot

Warning: Students will not see the assignment if it is not made available to them. There are several options for selecting when and for how long an assignment is available to students; the due dates may also be restricted.

Student Submission Process

To review how students submit assignments, read the assignment submission documentation for students.

Add a Turnitin Assignment

Turnitin is a plagiarism detection service that can evaluate student submissions.
Turnitin Dashboard Screenshot
Instructors can create an assignment that uses Turnitin as follows:

  1. Ensure that "Edit Mode" is set to "On" in the upper right corner of the Blackboard course page.
  2. Navigate to a content area within the course.
  3. Select "Create Assessment" from the action menu items.
  4. Select "Turnitin Assignment" from the dropdown menu.
    Create Turnitin Assignment Screenshot
  5. Choose the type of assignment and click "Next Step". ("Paper Assignment" is the basic assignment type. In addition, the other assignment types first require a corresponding "Paper Assignment").
    Select Turnitin Assignment Type Screenshot
  6. From the "New Assignment" page, provide the title, point value (if desired), and the corresponding dates. Be sure to click on "more options" for additional assignment creation settings.
    Turnitin Assignment Metadata Screenshot
  7. After updating the "New Assignment" page click "Submit".
  8. An assignment creation confirmation message will appear. Click "OK".
    Turnitin Confirmation Screenshot

Student Submission Process for Turnitin Assignments

To review how students submit Turnitin assignments, read the Turnitin assignment submission documentation for students.

Grade an Assignment

After a student submission, instructors will have access to the students' work for reviewing, providing feedback, and grading. Instructors can access submitted student assignments through the Grade Center spreadsheet:

  1. Navigate to the "Control Panel" and click to expand the "Grade Center" menu items.
  2. Select "Needs Grading". This presents only those submissions that have not yet been graded. Note: Other views are available in the "Grade Center", e.g.: To see only assignment submissions, select "Assignments" under "Full Grade Center".
    Grade Center Assessment Column Screenshot
  3. Click on an exclamation point icon and select the "Attempt" listed or select "View Grade Details" from the drop-down menu.
    Assign Grade by Attempt Screenshot
  4. Review the submission, enter a grade, and provide feedback in the provided form.

Download Assignment for Grading Offline

Instructors can download all student assignment submissions or can select individual student submissions to download:

  1. From the Grade Center spreadsheet, click the down arrows in the heading of the assignment column you wish to download. Select "Assignment File Download" from the dropdown menu.
    Assignment Download Screenshot
  2. Use the top checkbox next to the "Name" column to select all student submissions (clicking the top checkbox selects all checkboxes below it) or select the checkbox next to individual student submissions for a more selective download.
    Assignment Download Selection Screenshot
  3. Click "Submit".
  4. The system creates a compressed file in .zip format containing the assignment files. Click "Download assignments now..." and save the file to the local machine. Once the download is complete, use a standard system utility to decompress the file; this procedure is OS specific, but typically entails double clicking the downloaded file on the desktop or a file manager.
    Assignment Download Confirmation Screenshot

Manage Tests & Surveys

From the "Tests" page in Blackboard, instructors will find the functionality for building and importing new tests, as well as a way to add questions to, edit, deploy and make available to students, and delete tests already created.

In order for a student to take a test on Blackboard, the instructor must perform three distinct actions:
  1. Create a new test
  2. Add the test as course content
  3. Make the test available to students (can be done in previous step or later)

Note: Surveys are created much the same way tests are created. Use the "Surveys" page instead of the "Test" page and click to "Build Survey" or "Import Survey" and follow a similar process as creating a test. The main difference between Tests and Surveys is that Surveys are anonymous. A green checkmark will appear in the Grade Center spreadsheet to indicate when a student has submitted a survey, however no student data is associated with student responses.

Create a New Test

  1. From the "Control Panel", expand "Course Tools" and click on "Tests, Surveys, and Pools".
  2. Click "Tests" to go to the "Tests" page.
    Link to Tests Screenshot
  3. Click "Build Test" to go to the "Build Test" page.
    Build Test Button Screenshot
  4. Populate the test metadata, including the name, description, and instructions.
    Test Metadata Screenshot
  5. Click "Submit" to create the test and enter the "Test Canvas" page where questions are added.

Add Questions to a Test

From the "Test Canvas" page, questions can be added to a test by creating new questions in Blackboard, selecting from previously created test questions or questions pools, or uploading questions from the local machine.

Select from a List of Question Types

To select from a list of question types, expand the "Create Question" dropdown menu and select from the various question types.
Create Test Question Screenshot

Create a Random Block of Questions/Find a Question from a Pool or Test

To create a random block of questions or to find a question from a pool or test previously created, expand the "Reuse Question" dropdown menu and select the desired option.
Reuse Test Question Screenshot

Upload Questions Prepared Offline

To upload questions prepared offline, click the "Upload Questions" menu item and select the prepared file from the local machine.
Upload Test Questions Screenshot

Note: Questions will appear as part of the upload process. If a question in the file has an error, only that question will fail to upload. Questions from a file can be modified after the upload like ones created directly within Blackboard.

Create Test Questions Offline

Tests can be created offline in a spreadsheet application, exported as a comma-separated or tab-delimited file, and imported to Blackboard.

Note: Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet application used in the instructions below, but any properly formated text file can be imported.

  1. In a new spreadsheet, enter the question information into rows and columns. Each row will represent a question.
    Test Questions in Excel Screenshot
    • Column 1 — Enter an abbreviation representing the question format. See the table of question types & abbreviations.
    • Column 2 — Enter the question text.
      Note: Exclude all formatting: It will be not be honored in the exported file.
    • Column 3
      For MC,MA,ORD: Enter the text of a potential answer.
      For TF: Enter the answer, either "true" or "false".
      For ESS: Optional Enter an example essay.
      For MAT: Enter a value in the first matching pair.
      For FIB: Enter the text before the first blank.
    • Column 4
      For MC,MA: Enter the validity of the answer, either "incorrect" or "correct".
      For ORD: Enter the next answer in descending order.
      For MAT: Enter the other value in the first matched pair.
      For FIB: Enter the solution to the first blank.
    • Additional Columns
      For MC,MA: Repeat Column 3 & 4 as necessary.
      For ORD: Enter additional answers in descending order.
      For MAT: Repeat Column 3 & 4 as necessary.
      For FIB: Alternate text and blank solutions as necessary.
    Question Types & Abbreviations
    Abbreviation Question Type
    MCMultiple Choice
    MAMultiple Answer
    FIBFill in the Blank
    FILFile response
    NUMNumeric Response
    SRShort response
    FIB_PLUSMultiple Fill in the Blank
    JUMBLED_SENTENCEJumbled Sentence
    QUIZ_BOWLQuiz Bowl
  2. In Excel, select the "File" menu and then choose "Save As". Enter a name for the file and use the "Format" dropdown menu to select "Tab Delimited Text (.txt)".
    Test Questions Export Screenshot

A sample excel file [xls] containing model questions and the table of question types is available for download.

Manage Existing Tests

  1. From the "Control Panel", expand the "Course Tools" and click on "Tests, Surveys, and Pools".
  2. Click "Tests" to go to the "Tests" page.
    Link to Tests Screenshot
  3. Click the down-arrow icon next to the test's name to expand the contextual menu and options for edit, export, copy, and delete.
    Note: The "delete" function will not be available for a test once students have begun taking the test, or for tests which have questions associated with the question sets of other tests.
    Manage Test Screenshot

Import a Test

Only tests that exported from Blackboard can be imported.

  1. From the "Control Panel", expand the "Course Tools" and click on "Tests, Surveys, and Pools".
  2. Click "Tests" to go to the "Tests" page.
    Link to Tests Screenshot
  3. Click "Import Test" and select the prepared file from the local machine.
    Import Test Button Screenshot
  4. Once the file is uploaded, click "Submit".
  5. The imported test will be visible in the list of tests.

Administer A Test

An existing test must be deployed as course content and made available to students before it can be taken by users.

In order for a student to take a test on Blackboard, the instructor must perform three distinct actions:
  1. Create a new test
  2. Add the test as course content
  3. Make the test available to students (can be done in previous step or later)

Deploy a Test

  1. Navigate to a content area within your course, then click "Test" from the "Create Assessment" menu.
    Create Assessment Context Menu Screenshot
  2. Click "Create" to make a new test and then follow the directions to make a new test or select from the menu of previously created tests.
    Create Test Screenshot
  3. Click "Submit" to enter the "Test Options".
  4. "Test Options" controls the test availability and test-taking options for users.
    Note: If a test isn't explicitly made available, it will not be visible to student users.
    Create Test Options Screenshot

Make a Test Available

A test can be deployed without being immediately available to users. To make it available after deployment:

  1. In the content area where the test is deployed, click the context menu and select "Edit" to enter the "Edit Test Options" page.
    Edit Test Options Screenshot
  2. On the "Edit Test Options" page, scroll to section 2, "Test Availability". Click "Yes" next to "Make the Link Available".
    Make Test Available Screenshot
  3. Click "Submit" to immediately make the content area visible to student users.
    Note: If the instructor restricts the dates for when the test may be taken, students will not be able to begin taking the test until that designated date and time.

The Grade Center

Within the Grade Center, instructors and TAs can view, edit, modify, and override grades of assessments. Grades can also be downloaded to or uploaded from exported spreadsheet (e.g. Microsoft Excel) files.
Grade Center Header Image

Download and Upload Grades

Download Grades

Instructors can download grading sheets from Blackboard. Partial or full grading sheets can be downloaded.

  1. Within "Grade Center", select "Work Offline" in the top right corner. Click "Download" to enter "Download Grades".
    Work Offline Screenshot
  2. Select the data to download and the download options.
    Grade Center Download Screenshot
  3. Click "Submit" to download the file.

Upload Grades

  1. Within "Grade Center", select "Work Offline" in the top right corner. Click "Upload" to enter "Upload Grades".
    Work Offline Screenshot
  2. Select the file to upload and identify the delimiter type.
    Grade Center Upload Screenshot
  3. Click "Submit" to upload the file.
  4. Blackboard will preprocess the file and check that its file format, column names, etc. are synced. Detailed information will be shown on the page. Confirm the format, select uploading columns and click "Submit".
    Grade Center Upload Preprocessing Screenshot
  5. An upload message will be shown in the top status bar. Go through the grading sheet to check that grades and other data uploaded correctly.

Change the Grade Center View

The Filter Bar

  1. Within "Grade Center", select "Filter" in the top right corner to expand the "Filter" sub-menu.
    Grade Center Filter
  2. Choose the display criteria:
    • Current View — The view to display.
      Click on the downward arrow and select the preferred options from the list. Instructors can also select the prior defined smart views to display. Refer to the "Smart View" section for detailed information about smart views in the Grade Center.

      Click on the disk icon next to the "Current View" dropdown menu to set the current view as the default view.
    • Category — The type of assignment.
      Instructors can specify the type of columns to show in the current view to narrow down the scope of the current view.
    • Status — To display assignments of this status.
      Instructors can specify that assignments of this status are the only ones to display. The updated view will be displayed below in the spreadsheet in the Grade Center.

Smart Views

Smart Views are focused views of the Grade Center. Any number of Smart Views can be created and saved based on a variety of criteria including Grading Periods, Categories, and Performance. The instructor or TA can set up different Smart Views to select different groups of users to put in one Smart View.

  1. Within "Grade Center", select "Manage" from the top menu bar. Click "Smart Views" to enter "Smart Views".
    Grade Center Smart View Menu Screenshot
  2. A list of existing smart views will display. Existing smart views can be edited by clicking "Edit" under the context menu of the desired view.
    Grade Center Smart View Screenshot
  3. Click "Create Smart View". Fill in required information and choose the selection criteria for the view.
    Grade Center New Smart View Screenshot
  4. Click "Submit" to confirm the design of the smart view. A new smart view will be created. Order the grade histories. Click on the header of the table to reorder the entries by different attributes.

Manage the Student Grade View (My Grades)

The student view of the "My Grades" course tool will reflect the order of the columns shown on the "Full Grade Center" view. The instructor can organize the order of the columns in the "Full Grade Center" view to manage the student view for grades.
Grade Center Showing Assessment Columns Screenshot
Grade Center Reflecting Student View Screenshot

Alter the column ordering:

  1. Within "Grade Center", select "Manage" from the top menu bar. Click "Column Organization".
  2. Adjust the order and show/hide property of the columns via drag & drop operations.
  3. Click on "Submit" to apply the change. The changes are reflected in the Grade Center as well as Students View of the "My Grades" page.
  4. (Optional) Make columns disabled from Student View only.