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Configure the Gradebook in Moodle

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Moodle's gradebook is a powerful tool for sharing grades and feedback with students, and calculating final grades. While the gradebook provides several different options for how to calculate and display grades, the process of calculating grades is relatively simple because it depends on how you organize items on the Category and items page. Whether you like to have your entire gradebook configured before the start of the semester or prefer to build your course as you teach, both strategies can work with the gradebook. The sections below describe major functions involved with configuring the gradebook and refer to pages with specific, step-by-step instructions. For an overview of how to input and record student grades, see Record Grades in Moodle.

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.

Set-Up Your Gradebook

Create and Arrange Grade Items and Categories

As you build elements in your course (such as assignments or quizzes), you will want to grades to be properly recorded. If you create Moodle activities that are graded, these will create corresponding grade items (columns) in the gradebook. These grade items will automatically populate scores as you grade activities. You may also need to create custom items in your gradebook such as extra columns to record additional grades (for example, if you administer an offline midterm exam). In both of these cases, it's fine to build your gradebook as you go, but when it's time to calculate final grades, the organization of these items is essential to making sure you get the right results.

Calculate Grades

The simplest way to calculate grades is to let Moodle handle the calculation. Moodle has built-in calculations (called aggregations) to compute the score for the entire course (and sub-totals if you need them). Moodle can do any of the following: Sum of grades, Mean of grades, and Custom weights (weights are applied to individual items or categories as a percentage of the total grade). You can also create a custom formula if you require additional operations.

Prepare Final Grades for Spire

At the end of the term, you can easily transfer grades from the Moodle gradebook to your SPIRE grade roster. Moodle will convert numerical grades to letter grades using a scale of your choosing. After importing grades into Spire, you can still edit grades before they are approved and submitted to the Registrar.

Additional Gradebook Options & Grading Methods

Display Grades with Letters and Percentages

By changing settings in your gradebook, you can control how grades are displayed to students, including showing grades as a letter or percentage.

Letter grades cannot be entered directly in the Moodle gradebook or uploaded from a spreadsheet—they can only be generated and displayed within Moodle based on numerical boundaries. The Letter Grade settings in the gradebook match ranges of scores to letter grades (e.g., 93.00-100.00 for A). You can customize grade boundaries by entering values specified up to 2 decimal places. 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.

Grade with Rubrics and Non-numeric Scales

If you want alternative methods for evaluating student work, Moodle supports grading with rubrics and non-numeric scales. 

  • Rubrics are useful when you want to assess student work using multiple criteria. In Assignment activities, you can use advanced grading options to configure a rubric and criteria, and then when grading, the rubric will calculate an overall score. To configure and grade with a rubric, see Grade with Rubrics in Moodle. Rubrics can also be used when grading TurnItIn assignments.
  • Custom Scales are for when you want students to see Excellent, Good, Fair, etc., as a grade on an assignment instead of a numerical score. While custom scales can be used to display non-numeric assessments (such as ✔-, ✔, and ✔+), the gradebook will still be able to do calculations with these items if needed. For details, see Custom Grading Scales in Moodle.

Get Help

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 method of your own, contact the Instructional Media Lab (545-2823, instruct@oit.umass.edu). We are happy to help and always interested to hear about new challenges and solutions.