Marking assignments in Blackboard

Marking assignments in Blackboard may be done completely online, or by downloading the files and marking them off line and just placing the marks and feedback into Blackboard. 

This guide covers

  • identifying submissions that require marking
  • using the online marking tool to add comments, drawings, and highlights to the submitted document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF files only)
  • entering scores and textual, aural, and visual feedback.

Before going further please watch this three minute video that demonstrates how assignment grading works.


Grade Centre

Grade Centre

1. From your course Control Panel expand the Grade Centre heading and click on Needs Marking.

Needs Marking

Needs Marking

2. On the Needs Marking page you are shown assignments that require marking. If you have been delegated marking to do then you are only shown the marking that has been delegated to yourself. Note the following buttons and selectors.

A. The Grade All function places all attempts in a queue for easy navigation among items. The items in the queue appear in the order they appear on the Needs Grading page.

B. Sort columns to organize your list. To sort a column, click the column heading or caret. The sorted list remains in effect until you change it or log out. The following columns appear on the Needs Grading page:

Category: Sort attempts to group all assignments or tests together.

Item Name: Sort attempts by alphabetical order or reverse alphabetical order.

User Attempt: Sort attempts by a student’s name. The number of attempts for the item is listed in parentheses. For example: “Mary Johnson (Attempt 1 of 2).” Click a user’s name to go directly to the attempt.

Date Submitted: Sort attempts by the date and time students submitted the attempts. You may find this useful when a large number of attempts must be graded by a specific deadline.

Due Date: If you provided a due date when the item was created, sort attempts by due date and grade items that are due first.

C. Apply filters to narrow the list by Category, Item, User, and Date Submitted. If you apply a filter, only the filtered items appear in the list and in the queue. For example, make selections in both the Category and User drop-down lists to display tests submitted by a particular user. Click Go to display the filtered items on the Needs Grading page. The filtered list remains in effect until you edit the filter choices or log out. Click the X to collapse the Filter field.

D. The total number of items to grade appears above the list of items. After you grade attempts, they do not appear on the Needs Grading page and the number of items updates to reflect the current number that needs to be graded. If you filter the list, the number reflects how many items match the current filter settings. For example, “12 of 17 total items match current filter.”

E. Access an item’s contextual menu and make a selection. For assignments, you can select Grade All Users or Grade Anonymously. Interactive items such as blogs, journals, wikis, and discussion posts, which can be set to go into needs grading status after a certain number of activities, also have the option to Reset All, which clears that activity counter and moves the item out of Needs Grading status. A total number of attempts for the selected item is listed in parentheses. For interactive tools such as blogs, journals, wikis, and discussions, you can determine how many entries or posts users must make before an item goes into needs grading status. For these items, you can Reset All to clear the activity counter and move the item out of needs grading status. The total number of attempts for the selected item is listed in parentheses.

F. Click Show All to display up to 1,000 items on one page. Click Edit Paging to change the number of items to view per page.

3. To view a single student’s submission and mark it, click on their name.

4. To grade all assignments one after the other click on Grade All.

5. To mark all attempts within a particular assignment click on the action button beside the assignment (E in the above screenshot) and choose Grade All Users.

Marking screen

Marking screen

6. This is how the marking screen looks. Below follows an explanation of the different areas.

Please note that annotation sessions expire after one hour. You will receive a warning message. After the time limit, annotations may not be saved. Therefore make sure to submit your work or save a draft before the time limit runs out. You can re-enter the screen via the Grade Centre and viewing the attempt details of the student whose submission you were making.

A: View instructions: Expand the assignment instructions to see what instructions were given to students.

B: Add comments and annotations: From the inline viewer toolbar, click the Comment function and the annotation tools expand. You can comment, highlight, draw, strikeout, and zoom in and out. Right-click an annotation to remove it. To remove a comment, point to the yellow comment and select Delete. Use the arrow keys to view other pages in a student’s file. You can also download ( ) a copy of the file after you annotate it, this will be in PDF format.

C: View submission inline: Submitted files open within the grading screen. Supported document types that are viewable in the grading screen are Word (DOC, DOCX), PowerPoint (PPT, PPTX), Excel (XLS, XLSX), and PDF. Original formatting and embedded images are preserved. If a student has uploaded an unsupported file, you are prompted to download it.

Assignment submissions created with the content editor are not compatible with inline grading. Submissions of this type show in the window, but annotation is not available.

D: Add, remove, or reply to comments: Add your comments wherever needed. Point to a yellow comment and the Reply and Delete options appear. The Reply function allows you to expand on your previous comment.

E: View grading details: In the grading sidebar, grade the submission. You can also view the assignment details, the grading rubric, and each attempt. After assigning a grade, return to this screen to review the grade and comments. Click the pencil icon to override the grade.

F: Provide feedback: Give suggestions, encouragement, and overall comments about the submission.

G: Edit your content: Open the content editor to format your comments, attach a file, and check your spelling.

H: Add private notes: Add notes and files that only you can see. For example, keep track of students’ progress during the revision process and refer to your notes when assigning the final grade.

I: Download the student’s file: Save the original file to your computer.



7. If a Rubric is being used you may access it by expanding the Grade Attempt box and clicking on the link to the rubric.

Rubric Screen

Rubric Screen

8. When the rubric is opened you may choose which score the submission attains by ticking the relevant options.

9. Click on Show Descriptions to show what each criterion means whether or not this is shown to the students will have been selected when the assignment was created..

10. Click Show Feedback to add a text box to give feedback to the student if you wish.

11. Once the rubric is completed you may adjust the raw score determined by the criterions you have set if you wish.

12. Click on Save Rubric to finish.

Video/Audio Feedback?

Video/Audio Feedback?

13. Note that when entering the final set of feedback you may click on the A icon to expand a full text editor.  This gives you access to Video Everywhere where you can add video feedback via YouTube, or upload an mp3 file as an attachment to provide audio feedback.