Known Issue: Exempt Function in Grade Centre can Malfunction when Using Categories and Weighted Total Column

Blackboard has confirmed a known issue in the Grade Centre when using a specific combination of Categories, Exempt and a Weighted Total Column.  

Description of Issue:

When an instructor uses a Category where there is only one column that has been assigned to that Category and then gives a student an exemption of grade for that column, the Grade Centre does not calculate the remaining values and reduce the number of items by one (the exempted column). The Grade Centre, instead, inserts a zero for that exempted value and therefore, that student's grade is incorrect.  This also occurs if multiple columns get exempted for an individual student resulting in zero columns remaining for a value in that Category.

Blackboard has issued two known issue articles for this situation - 000050730 and 000048526.


  • Ensure you have more than one column assigned to a Category if you are planning on using Exemptions
  • If you are planning on exempting all columns in a Category for a student, you can use two "dummy" columns - one containing a "+1" value for all students, and another dummy column containing "-1" for all students so they will negate each other out, but not leave a "divide by zero" situation with the number of columns remaining.  Remember to hide these columns from the students to avoid confusion.
  • You can use the Running Total for the Weighted Total Column set to "Yes" (instead of "No" - which is the default setting in the Course Shell for the Weighted Total Column) as long as by the end of the semester, you ensure that zeros are inserted in all assessments that do not have a grade for students so no assessment will have a "null" value.  Running Total set to "Yes", will calculate the null values and remove them from the overall scheme, therefore reducing the total number of assessments for that student.  This could result in erroneous grades if the student was to have all assessments counted in the total.


Article ID: 83190
Tue 7/16/19 3:24 PM
Tue 10/8/19 2:40 PM