Average Columns in Blackboard

What is an average column? An average column is specific type of calculated column that allows you to select certain columns to average together. It’s most popularly used to average tests and student grades in Blackboard.

How does it average? Despite the different point differentials, Blackboard automatically converts to percentages to four decimal places, adds the found percentages together, and divides by the number of items. So if one assignment is out of 100, but another is out of 25, Blackboard calculates the percentages to make it proportional before calculating the average. Special note – you can have four decimal places for the grade, but Blackboard will only display/round to two decimal places.

What are some average column combinations? You can select any amount of columns you need/want to average. When you create an average column, you are prompted with several options. You can include all grade assignments, all columns in a grading period (if there is one), or selected columns and categories – choose whichever option is most optimal to you. Special note – you cannot use grade columns that display texts, only numbers.

How do I create an average column? First, get into the grade center of the desired course. Then hover over “Create Calculated Column” and click on “Average Column.” On the page it prompts you to, type in a name for this column. This will be the name displayed in your and your student’s grade center. Then make your selection in the Primary Display drop down lists if you wish. In addition, if your class is segmented by grading periods, you can have the average column associate itself by grading periods by selecting this option in the Grading period drop down list. In order to choose what type of column combination you want, go to the Selected Columns section, and select the option you want the average column to take on. (See the previous paragraph for the options and descriptions of what you can choose). In order to exclude columns that do not have any data, make sure you select Yes in the “Calculate as a Running Total” option. If you wish to make potential new columns included in the average column, make sure to select Yes in the “Column in Grade Center Calculations.” You also have to option to display this column to students. Then make sure to press Submit!

Special Note – When dropping a grade from the course, the system needs a minimum and a maximum value if you intend to have one column left. So if you have only 3 columns and you drop two, it cannot process an average because it does not have another number to average against.


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