How does Blackboard know whether to count a missing assignment as exempt or zero?

You determine how Blackboard counts missing assignments yourself by choosing the setting for Running Total in the Grade Center.

Exempt (recommended)

By default, Running Total is turned ON in each column in the Grade Center, which means that empty cells are not counted in any calculations. If there is no grade, it doesn’t count against the student, i.e., it is exempt.

However, if you want this grade to count against the student’s overall total because they didn’t submit the assignment, you must enter a zero in its cell in its grade column. It’s important to do this before the end of the semester so students know how these missing assignments impact their overall grade. If you leave grades for missing assignments blank, students’ grades appear artificially inflated.

Zero (not recommended)

You might be asking yourself, “Well, why don’t I just turn off Running Total?” If you turn off Running Total, then every blank cell in the Grade Center counts as a zero. If you set up all of your columns in the Grade Center at the beginning of the semester, that’s a lot of zeros! Students’ grades appear artificially low for most of the term; for example, their scores for the first assignment might bring their grade up from 0% to 2%, which they could find pretty discouraging.

We recommend leaving Running Total on and adding zeros to empty columns as you enter grades. This gives students a realistic picture of their course grade at any point in the semester.