GradeHub: Create Blackboard exams online from a document


Using the GradeHub for Blackboard Online tool, you can convert any printed exam into a Blackboard exam for students to take online, to migrate from in person to remote administration. After students submit the assessment, it's scored automatically and results appear in the Bb Grade Center. Features include:

  • Use almost any existing exam document, even scanned pages saved as a PDF.
  • Import the whole exam in one step: no need to reformat or manually input individual questions.
  • Offers the familiar Bb exam set-up options: create a link in any course content area and set exam details like availability dates and total points.
  • User friendly: simply configure the details/key and upload a file, then students take the exam online – like a regular Bb exam.
  • Hands-off grading: just build an answer key, and GradeHub will grade and sync scores with Bb's Grade Center.
  • Flexible: make changes to the answer key, and previous submissions are re-graded automatically.


Before You Start

  • GradeHub is available/licensed for Arts & Sciences use only.
  • To make the Grade Hub tool available in your Blackboard course: In the Blackboard course menu, click Customization, then Tool Availability, scroll down to GradeHub – UND, check the box under AVAILABLE IN CONTENT AREA, and click Submit.
  • For more information, visit the Teaching Tools & Technologies page. For assistance with using GradeHub in your course, please contact an Instructional Designer.


Note: There are two different tools available through the GradeHub/Blackboard integration. This article is about the GradeHub's Online exams (administered on Blackboard). If you are looking for information about GradeHub's Scantron-style exams (administered in person), please see this article.


1 - Create a Bb Exam Link & Set up the Details

  • Log in to Blackboard, and navigate to the content area of your course where you would like to add the exam. At the top of the page, click Build Content, then select GradeHub Online - UND.
    in the menu at the top of the page, click 'Build Content', then select 'GradeHub - UND' from the drop-down menu
  • This will open the Create GradeHub Online - UND page. Name the exam, scroll down, and click Enable Evaluation to turn on grading. Then set the Points Possible (total points, not including extra credit) and Due Date (required). You may also set other details, such as Description, Availability Date and Time Restrictions. Click Submit to save the exam settings.
    new window - set up GradeHub Online exam details
  • The exam details are now configured. Next, you will set up the answer key. Note: The exam content (PDF document with questions that will be visible to students) will be uploaded in a later step. 


2 - Create the Exam’s Answer Key in GradeHub

After setting up the exam details, you will set up an answer key – this will be used by GradeHub to score the exam, then results will automatically sync with the Blackboard Grade Center. 

  • Navigate to the location of the exam link you just created, and click the exam’s title. This will launch the GradeHub Online tool.
    in your Bb course site, click the title of the exam link you just created
  • On the GradeHub Online tool page, click the exam’s title (again) to expand the menu.
    on the new page, click the exam's title again to expand its menu
  • With the exam’s menu expanded, click Edit Answer Keys to open the key creation tool.
    in the expanded exam menu, click 'Edit Answer Keys'
  • The Answer Keys menu will open in a pop-up window. Here, you can create the answer key for your exam by filling in the Answers(s) field for each question. Several types of questions are available, from basic multiple-choice questions to more advanced configurations with multiple correct answers and a variety of point values. Please see the following sections for an overview of the different question types.
    the 'Answer Keys' menu is opened - the menus and settings used for the next steps are available


Basic Questions & Simple Scoring Options

GradeHub’s Default Answer Key View is used for regular questions, where only one correct answer is required for the student to receive full credit. There are two types of multiple choice questions available in the Default View, which differ only in how many answers you will accept as correct for each question. These questions are worth one point by default, but that value (and other question/answer variables) may be adjusted in the advanced settings, which will be covered in the next section of this guide.

  • Multiple Choice Questions with a Single Correct Answer
    For basic multiple choice questions with one correct answer provided/required: in each question’s Answers field, enter the letter (A, B, C, D, or E) corresponding with the correct answer.
    Example: The correct answer for question 1 is C, question 2 is A, and question 3 is B, and each correct answer is worth one point.
    example of a multiple choice question with one correct answer

  • Multiple Choice Questions with Several Correct Answers (students only select one) 
    For multiple choice questions that have more than one correct answer, but where only one of the correct answers must be selected to receive full credit: Simply enter more than one letter in a question’s Answers(s) field. You do not need to separate the letters with spaces or commas. By default, GradeHub assigns 1 point for each correct response, so the student will receive 1 point for selecting any one of the provided correct responses.
    Example: For this exam, the correct answer for question 1 is A or C, and for question 2 is A, D, or E. So for question 1, a student will receive one point for answering either A or C. The same rule applies for question two; choosing A, D, or E will result in the student receiving one point.
    example of a multiple choice question with more than one correct answer


Additional Question Types & Advanced Scoring Options

GradeHub’s Advanced Answer Key View allows you to customize your exam’s answer key to score questions with a more complex grading structure. Click the ‘+’ icon to access the advanced scoring options, including: select-all multiple correct answers, non-credit answers, penalties, and extra or partial credit answers. These options will appear in addition to the basic tools (covered in the last section). To exit out of the advanced settings and return to the regular menu, click the ‘-‘ icon.
Left image- Basic view: Click the ‘+’ icon to open the advanced view.
Right image- Advanced view with additional settings circled: question type, points, and extra credit options. Click the ‘-‘ icon to hide the advanced settings. 
click the ‘+’ icon to open the advanced view Advanced view with additional settings: question type, points, and extra credit. Click the ‘-‘ icon to hide the advanced settings.


  • Multiple Choice Questions with Several Correct Answers (students must select all)
    These questions are similar to the regular multiple choice with multiple correct answers (see the Default Answer Key section, above), but all of the correct answers must be selected to receive credit. Click the ‘*’ icon to switch the question type from select one answer to select all answers. The icon will change to an ‘&’ icon to indicate the change – this is now a question where all of the correct answers must be selected to receive credit. Additionally, the point value will move from the individual answers’ columns, over to the ‘&’ column, signifying that all of the correct answers must be selected to receive that amount of points.
    Example for Question 1:
    Left image- Select one correct answer (*) - students choosing either A or C will receive one point.
    Right image- Select all correct answers (&) - students must choose both A and C to receive one point.
    example of the 'Select One' option (* icon) - students must mark any ONE of the answers selected here to receive one point example of the 'Select All' option (& icon) - students must mark ALL of the answers selected here to receive one point

  • Weighting Correct Responses
    Under Points, the ‘+’ column is used to edit the total point value of each question. The default value for every correct answer is one point, but that may be changed to any value greater than or equal to zero (which may be used for answers that have no points value). For multiple answer - select one (*) questions, the value of the different correct answers you provide must be equal (see question 2 in the example, below).
    Question 1- two points are awarded if the student selects answer A.
    Question 2- students will receive five points for choosing either A or B.
    Question 3- five points are awarded if students select all of the correct answers: A, B, and C. They will not receive any points for only choosing only one or two of the correct answers.
    example of different question types: select one (* with one correct answer), select either (* with multiple correct answers), and select all (& with multiple correct answers)

  • Penalties
    To discourage guessing, you may deduct points for incorrect responses. So, if students select any answer other than the ones you set as ‘correct’, this point value will be subtracted from their total exam score. The ‘-‘ column allows you to assign the negative point value on the question level; so for any one question, all of the incorrect answers will need to deduct the same amount. But you may assign different point penalties to different questions.
    Example: In this quiz, all questions have a penalty of one-half point for incorrect answers. Any student answering just ‘A’ for every question would receive 1.5 points total: one point for question 1 (A is correct), one point for question 2 (can choose either A or B), and deduct one-half point for question 3 (A, B, and C must all be selected for full credit).
    examples of questions with negative points (penalties for incorrect answers)

  • Partial Credit
    You may also assign partial credit for any response other than the expressly correct one. Using this tool is slightly different from the previous ones, in that you aren’t entering a number into the 'Points' box. Instead, you input a partial credit point value by clicking the answer’s corresponding ‘-‘ mark and typing the number in that space. Unlike negative credit, different amounts may be assigned to different answers from the same question. GradeHub’s partial credit rules allow the student to receive credit for up to one incorrect response.
    Example: In this quiz, some questions have a partial credit available for incorrect answers (circled in red). A student answering just ‘A’ for each of these questions would receive 2.5 points total for this quiz: one point for question 1 (A is correct), one point for question 2 (can choose either A or B), and one-half point for question 3 (A, B, and C must all be selected to be correct – but choosing any one of them is worth partial credit.)
    example of questions offering partial credit for some answers - the partial credit point value is entered into the question/answer's corresponding '-' space
  • Extra Credit
    To grade a question as extra credit, click the its box in the Extra column. An x mark will appear in that column to indicate the change.
    example of an extra credit question - the extra credit point value is entered into the question/answer's corresponding 'Extra' column/box

    Note: In an earlier step (where you created the exam link) you entered a number for the total ‘Points Possible’. This number should not include any extra credit points. So, for an exam with 11 questions: 10 points available for regular questions, and 1 point available for an extra credit question, you should enter in only 10 points when setting up the exam link.
    GradeHub exam set up (earlier step) - enter the exam's total points (excluding extra credit) in the 'Points Possible' field


Saving the Answer Key & Additional Information

  • Save the Answer Key
    When you are finished editing, click Save (in the bottom-right) to approve the answer key. GradeHub will prompt you to input the total number of questions (not the total points) to confirm that you are done. This total should include all questions, even extra credit.
    Click 'Save', and you will be prompted with a confirmation pop-up. Enter the total number of questions, then click 'Confirm' to save the answer key.
  • Make Changes to a Key
    You can modify the key at any time and GradeHub will re-score the test automatically. Just follow the same steps (above) to make changes, then save the key to re-grade any previously submitted exams.
  • Import an Existing Answer Key
    Instead of setting up answer keys manually, you can use GradeHub's import feature to add them from a (properly formatted) CSV file (similar to importing a key for a regular Blackboard exam). Please see the link above for more information about formatting requirements.

3 - Schedule the Exam

  • Click the Schedule Test button to schedule your exam. Students will only be able to view and take the exam based on your selection.
    In the main GradeHub exam set-up menu, click 'Schedule Test' (in the menu on the left) to set the exam availability dates and duration.
  • Set the exam availability by selecting the start (S) and end (E) dates and times. If you would like the exam to be timed, select a duration (D). For ease of navigation, click the calendar button to open a monthly calendar, and click the month’s name to open a yearly calendar (second image). Then click Schedule to save the settings.
    Set the exam availability start and end dates/times, then click 'Schedule' to save your changes. Click the calendar button to access the expanded, monthly/yearly calendar.
  • Note: For students requiring time accommodations, we suggest coordination with DSS (disability support services) to administer the exam or create a separate online exam with different time constraints and assign it the specific students who require availability accommodations.

4 - Upload the Exam File

Now that the exam details and key have been set up, you can upload the content of the exam, itself. You don’t need to re-type or format the exam for Blackboard. Just upload the exam/document, and GradeHub Online will display the contents of that that file for students during the assessment. The document must be in PDF format – if you have a different file type, it needs to be converted to PDF format before uploading.

  • Back on the exam’s GradeHub Online page, click the title of the exam to expand its menu (if it isn’t expanded already). Then click the upload icon to open the file explorer window to browse your computer for the exam file. In the pop-up window, select the file and click Open to upload it to GradeHub. Alternatively, you may simply drag the file to this area of the menu.
    Return to the main page for this GradeHub Online exam, then click the upload icon (or click and drag files to the same space). Browse your computer for the exam, select it, and click 'Open' to upload the file.
  • A message will appear in the bottom-left corner of the window once the exam file has been uploaded successfully.
    A message about the exam file's upload status is visible in the bottom-left of the main GH Online window.
  • After uploading the exam PDF, check its formatting in Blackboard. Click Student Preview see how the exam will look for test-takers. Confirm that the document displays correctly and all questions are visible, then click Cancel to exit the preview.
    Example: Student Preview window- The exam PDF is displayed alongside the Answers column, where students will input their responses. You can type in an answer, but it won’t be processed or scored.
    In the exam's main GH Online menu, click 'Student Preview' to see how the file you uploaded will display for students.

5 - Deploy the Exam & Student Walkthrough

This concludes the GradeHub Online exam set-up process. After confirming that all of the settings are correct and that it displays properly, the exam is ready for students to take! No additional steps are required – the exam will automatically become accessible to students when its availability window is open. They can then take the exam using a process similar to a regular Blackboard assessment. Please see the link above, or follow these steps to take the GradeHub Online exam:

  • When the exam’s availability window is open, go to the content area in Blackboard where the exam is deployed and click its title. This opens a new Blackboard page.
    Locate the exam in the Bb course content area and click the exam title.
  • On the new page, click the exam’s title again to expand its menu, then click the green Start Test button to begin. Note: this button is only available during the scheduled exam availability window. This will open a new page containing the exam document and an answer column.
    On the next page, click the exam's title again to expand the GradeHub menu. Then click 'Start Test' to begin the exam.
  • Take the exam: simply type in the letter corresponding to the correct answer in the Answers (1) column. As students progress through the exam, they may need to scroll down within the PDF to see additional questions or view multi-page exams. Note: the PDF document (3) is available to students as a reference/display only – it is not editable and no answers will be entered into it. All answers must be entered into the numbered fields in the Answers column (1). When you're finished with the exam, click Submit (3), then select Submit again in the pop-up window to confirm your submission – or click Return to go back to the exam page.
    Students type the letters corresponding with their answers in the 'Answers' column. The exam questions/content is displayed on the right – students can zoom in/out and scroll to view multiple pages. When the exam is complete, click 'Submit' to turn the exam in.


6 - Assign Grades & Sync with Bb Grade Center

GradeHub allows you to assign grades using either a raw score or a custom scale (letter grades). Once you select the distribution type, GradeHub calculates grades, updates faculty reports, and provides students with their scores.

  • Navigate to the class and exam where you want to assign grades. Click the exam's title to open its GradeHub page.
  • Select the Assign Grades button under the exam (e.g., ECON 1 Introduction to Economics). This will open the Grading Scale menu, where you can select a schema: raw scores or grading on a scale. Examples of both options can be found in the next steps.
    In the GradeHub Online exam's main menu, click 'Assign Grades' to process the results and send to Bb Grade Center.


Assign Raw Scores Without Letter Grades

Use the 'Raw Scores' option to provide students a raw point score only (no letter grade for this individual exam). Many instructors use this option when all points received from assignments, class participation, quizzes, and exams are accumulated, analyzed, and assigned a final letter grade based on a derived scale (e.g., a curve) at the end of the term.

  • Select the Raw/No Grade radio button, then select Release Grades. NOTE: The Name for the GradeHub Exam (e.g., Quiz 1) must match the name in Blackboard Grade Center column (e.g., Quiz 1) for exam scores to sync.
    Select the 'Raw/No Grade' radio button, then click 'Release Grades' to send the results to the Bb Grade Center.


Assign Grades on a Scale

Select the Standard/Custom option to view and assign grades on a standard (A, A-, B+...F) scale, or your own custom scale. The Grading Scale screen has columns for the Grade, Start %, and a distribution for the number with % of Students that will receive the respective grade.

Note: Testing of this feature is ongoing – letter grades may not reliably/properly sync with the Blackboard Grade Center. Please use the Raw Score feature (above), check back for updates, or contact us for details.


  • To assign grades on a Standard scale: (See first image, below.)
    - S
    elect the Standard/Custom radio button.
    - Review the distribution and select Release Grades.
    To use the standard scale, click 'Standard/Custom', then scroll down and click 'Release Grades'.  -OR- To use the custom scale, click 'Standard/Custom', click 'Clear' to remove the default values, add your own, then then scroll down and click 'Release Grades'.
  • To assign grades on a Custom scale: (See second image, above.)
    Select the Clear button to remove the standard scale cut scores.
    - Enter the grade (e.g., A, P, or any other value), and enter the lower cutoff percentage for the respective scale (e.g., 80 for an A, as shown below).
    - To the left, notice the number and percentage of students that will receive the grade.
    - You can change the lower bound of each grade cutoff to create a custom scale or curve by inputting the cut score or using the up or down arrows.
    - When you are satisfied with the custom distribution, select Release Grades.


Sync Grades to Blackboard

As soon as you select the Release Grades button, your grades are automatically synced back to Blackboard in Grade Center, under Full Grade Center.
results sync with the exam's column in the Bb Grade Center


Student Feedback

When you release grades in GradeHub, results are immediately available to students in the Grade Center. If you're not ready to share the results with the class, you may hide the column in the Bb Grade Center before releasing grades in GradeHub: in the course's full Grade Center, click the chevron to the right of the exam's title, select Edit Column Information, uncheck Show this column to students, then click Submit to apply changes. Results are also available to students directly from the same link they used to take the exam, but this may be hidden as well: navigate to the course content area containing the link, click the chevron to the right of its title, then select Make Unavailable. Both changes may be reversed later to make results available.

The Exam Result page (available from the exam link in your course) generates a report that students can use to see how they did on a particular exam and where they stand in the class throughout the term. The student view of the Exam Results report includes:

  • Their score - Raw/possible points (percentage)
  • Average score
  • Incorrect Responses - item number only
  • Class histogram

students use the main exam link to view GradeHub's Exam Result report


For more information and additional walk-throughs, please visit the GradeHub for Blackboard help page.


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Article ID: 122847
Wed 12/16/20 9:25 PM
Mon 7/12/21 12:36 PM