Depending on your instructional goals and preferred work process, Moodle provides you with a variety of options for managing grades during the semester and entering final grades into SPIRE.
Note: Grades must be approved in SPIRE before midnight on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. For help with grading from knowledgeable and patient consultants, contact the OIT Academic Computing Instructional Media Lab or go to http://www.oit.umass.edu/instruct.
The simplest way to grade in Moodle is to let Moodle handle the aggregation. Moodle will aggregate the score for the entire course. Weights can be applied to individual elements or categories of elements (such as all quizzes). The aggregated scores will be a percentage of the total. You can choose to display scores as letter grades based on the ranges given in the Letter Grade settings in the Gradebook.
If you prefer to bypass Moodle’s aggregation and calculate final grades in a spreadsheet (such as Excel), you can upload a single score for the course. The Course Total column can be calculated by Moodle or edited manually, but you can’t upload scores into the Course total column. For this reason, uploading a final score requires the extra step of uploading the final score into a separate column in the Gradebook and creating a calculation that makes the “course total” column equal to the uploaded column. Note that any uploaded score over 100 will be given an A, so extra calculations may be necessary (in Moodle or before uploading) if the total score for the class can exceed 100.
Moodle also allows for manual input of grades directly into the Course Total column. Please note: You must input a numerical grade to this column (see below).
For more, see Preparing Your Final Course Grades in Moodle.
Letter grades can’t be entered directly in the Moodle Gradebook or uploaded from a spreadsheet- they can only be generated and displayed within Moodle based on the percentage of the aggregated numeric scores. If you prefer to work with letter grades, it requires some extra steps.
The Letter Grade settings in the Gradebook match ranges of scores to letter grades. The ranges are based on whole numbers from a drop down menu (which may be odd for graders who are used to pinpoint decimal control), and you can only have one grading scheme per course. Note that the grading scheme you set up for letter grades is based on percentages, so even though the Gradebook allows you to enter any number in a Grade field, numbers over 100 will be assigned an A. If you want to automatically generate letter grades in Moodle, and you are working with scores that can be higher than 100, you will need to do some extra calculations to provide a percentage of the possible total.
The simplest approach to using letter grades in Moodle is to set up your numeric-to-letter conversion scheme in the Moodle Gradebook settings to function like a "decoder key" of sorts. For example, A=95, A-=92, B+=89, B=85. Then when grading, enter in the Moodle Gradebook the number that matches the letter grade you want to assign (e.g., 89 for a B+), or upload numeric scores from a spreadsheet. When Moodle generates letter grades, it will match numeric scores to the ranges in the Letter Grade settings and display the correct letter grade to students.
For details, see Letter Grades in Moodle.
Another option for managing grades in Moodle is to create custom grading scales. You may want to consider this as an option if you use an alternative grading scale in your course. For example, you could use a custom scale for when you want students to see Excellent, Good, Fair, as a grade on an assignment as opposed to a numerical score. While custom scales can be used to display non-numeric assessments (such as “unsatisfactory”, “satisfactory”, and “outstanding”), it is important to remember there is a number behind each scale value.
For details, see Custom Grading Scales in Moodle.
Whether you calculate grades in Moodle throughout the semester, upload a final course grade from a spreadsheet, or enter final grades by hand, Moodle makes it easy to import your final course grade into SPIRE with just a single click. For details on this process, see Import Grades from Moodle to SPIRE.
For help with preparing a final course total in Moodle, see Preparing Your Final Course Grade in Moodle.
These are just a few of the methods that instructors at UMass Amherst have developed for grading in Moodle. If you are stumped trying to get Moodle to generate grades the way you want, or have developed an interesting workaround of your own, contact the Instructional Media Lab (545-2823, email@example.com). We are happy to help and always interested to hear about new challenges and new solutions.