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Blackboard – Assignment Tool – Grading and Feedback

Student assignments automatically appear in the Grade Center when they submit them, and most file-types can be viewed and graded in the browser. In addition to grading, Blackboard has an improved annotation tool (new July 2020) to give specific, in-document feedback (comments, highlights, call-outs, etc.).

Grade Assignments

Student submissions automatically appear in the Grade Center, and most submitted file-types can be viewed and graded in the browser. To grade an assignment:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Grade Center > Assignments.
  2. Click the grey menu button next to the column name you wish to grade, and select Grade Attempts.
  3. To enter a grade for the submission, type the score into the Attempt box.  Feedback can be provided by clicking the blue bar beneath the Attempt box, then entering feedback into the box under Grader Feedback.
    Arrows pointing to attempt and feedback options for grading an assignment.
  4. If you wish to upload a file to a student, click on the paperclip icon in the feedback field (with the blue bar expanded). Browse your computer to select a file and click Submit.If you wish to record audio or video feedback, click on the A in the feedback box to expand the text editor. From there, select the microphone icon on the bottom, left row of options. Follow the on-screen instructions to record feedback to the student (with or without video enabled).
  5. Click Submit to save the grade and move on to the next students submission.

The video below illustrates the assignment grading process in more detail.

How to clear an attempt

If a student needs to re-submit an assignment you can clear their previous attempt so they can submit it again.

  • Go to the Grade Center and to the cell for that student which contains either the “Needs Grading” icon or the grade, if you’ve given one.
  • Click the grey action button inside the cell and choose “View Grade Details.”
  • On this page, in the lower right area, click the “Clear Attempt” button.

Provide In-Document Annotations & Comments on Assignments

Blackboard Annotate (available ~July 15, 2020) allows you to provide specific feedback to a student in the context of their document, including highlights, comments, and circles/boxes.

Common Actions

The most frequently used features are accessed by using your mouse/trackpad to select text in a student’s document. Then choose one of the 5 functions from the pop-up toolbar:


  1. Highlight
  2. Strike-through
  3. Underline (straight line)
  4. Underline (squiggly line)
  5. Highlight + Comment

Additional Actions

You may also want to use the menu options to adjust your view of student assignments or add additional annotations.

  1. Sidebar – View ThumbnailOutline, Annotation, or Bookmark views of the submission (the Outline option currently only exists for uploaded PDFs with preexisting outlines)
  2. Pages – Use the arrows to jump to different pages in the submission.
  3. Pan – Move the submission on the page.
  4. Zoom and Fit – Zoom in and out of the submission or adjust the view to fit the page, fit the width, or select the best fit.
  5. Drawing, Brush, and Eraser – Draw freehand on the submission with various colors, thickness, and opacity. Select the eraser to remove annotations. You can erase parts of a freehand drawing with the eraser or select the Delete icon to delete the whole drawing.
  6. Image or Stamp – Choose a preloaded stamp or create your own customized stamp or image to add to the submission.
  7. Comment – Provide feedback in comments. Your comments appear in a panel next to the submission. Note – if you want to highlight text to accompany a comment, select the text first and then choose the Comment option from the contextual menu as described above in Common Actions.
  8. Text – Add text directly on the submission. You can move, edit, and change the text and select the font, size, alignment, and color of the text.
  9. Shapes – Choose LineArrowRectangleEllipsePolygon, and Polyline. Each shape has its own settings to change the color, width, opacity, and more.
  10. Print or Download – Print or download the submission with the annotations.

How to Delete Annotations

Removing annotations can be done in any of three ways:

  1. Choose the Annotation Sidebar View and click the trashcan icon adjacent to the annotation you wish to delete.
  2. Click on the annotation and use the delete button on your keyboard.
  3. Click on the annotation and select the trashcan icon in the top right of the new toolbar.

Choose ADA Accessible Colors

Text boxes can be shaded with various colors that can make the font difficult to read. Ensure that the background color and foreground (font) colors are sufficiently in contrast with one another for ADA accessibility by using this free contrast checker.

Blackboard Annotate Overview Video

See Also

Blackboard: Assignment Tool – Setting Up

Updated on October 10, 2022

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