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Moodle Quick Help Guide

Setting up Gradebook

To set up your gradebook, click on "Grades" in the left navigation menu, and select "Gradebook Setup" from the dropdown menu of gradebook views.

You can also get to Gradebook Setup by clicking the gear icon to the right of the course title, selecting "More", and then choosing Gradebook Setup from the Course Administration menu.

Create and Arrange Grade Items and Categories

When you add activities such as Assignments or Quizzes to a Moodle course, corresponding grade items (columns) are added to the course gradebook. Moodle also lets you manually add grade items to your gradebook to record grades you may not have collected in Moodle, such as the grades for a midterm or for a project that was submitted offline. It allows you to define categories, for assignments that are similar in nature such as quizzes or homeworks.

It's fine to build your gradebook as you go, but you should set up categories for items that will be treated similarly, such as homeworks and quizzes, as early as possible, so that you can easily make certain that they contribute to the final grade in the way that you want. For example, say a professor is going to base their final grade on these types of work: 

Pre-class quizzes: 15% 

Homeworks: 15%

Midterm: 20%

Research paper: 30%

Final exam: 20% 

This professor will want to define a category for pre-class quizzes and a category for homework, while the midterm, research paper, and final exam are single items.

You may already list what each type of work will contribute to the final grade, in your syllabus, and you can use this as a guide when setting up grade categories. ‚Äč

Gradebook weights & aggregation

Moodle gradebooks start out by summing the number of points earned for each assignment or graded item.  At its most basic, a simple sum of those points divided by the total number of possible points equates to the final grade.

Instructors who calculate grades with this simple summing often allot more potential points for items that are meant to count more towards the final grade (e.g. a final exam vs. a pop quiz) as a way to weight them, but it can become complicated.  Moodle can make this easier by doing all the calculating for you.

With the “Natural” aggregation method, an instructor can average grades and define what percentage a category or item should contribute to the total grade, rather than giving out varying number of points per item.  This can be done for a category of items (if items are grouped into categories) or across an entire gradebook. Gradebook will add up points until you check the box next to a weight and set it to the correct percentage of the total grade. An item can also be flagged as extra credit, after you have created the item.

There is a "weights" column in the gradebook setup view that shows the current weights: just check the box next to a weight to adjust it.  You will want to create categories as needed and then go back and make sure the weights match the breakdown of a total grade that you want to use in your course.

(If you have previously used one of the "mean of grades" or "weighted mean" types of aggregation, or "sum of grades," "Natural" brings all of these into one method that is easier to use.) 

Add a Category

Grade categories are for grouping similar assignments together, for giving credit as a percentage of a total grade, and for dropping lowest grades if desired. 

In the gradebook setup page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add category. The New category page will open.
Enter a Category name and select category options. (Click headings to open collapsed settings areas, and click Show more... to view and adjust additional settings under a heading.)
Aggregation: You can choose Natural or Highest, and Natural is the right choice in most cases.
Exclude empty grades: (Selected by default) If checked, empty grades are not aggregated into grade calculations (i.e., Moodle assumes that the assignment has not yet been graded or assigned and therefore should not yet count against students). If unchecked, empty grades are calculated as "0" which may alarm your students early in the semester.
Drop the lowest: Exclude one or more grade items with the lowest value from being calculated in the category total.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.  The Categories and items page will open, displaying the new category.

Add a grade item manually

In the Gradebook Setup page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add grade item. The New grade item page will open.
In the Item name field, enter a name for the item, without special characters, commas, ampersands, or quotes.
In the Grade type field, you will want to use Value in almost all cases. 

In the Maximum grade field, set the maximum point value for the grade item.
(Optional) If you are using gradebook categories, you can select the category from the Parent Category dropdown menu.

When finished, click Save changes.

Is this item extra credit? You can't specify this until after the grade item is created. Once you've hit Save changes, you can find the grade item in the Gradebook Setup view and Edit it to check the Extra Credit box. 

When creating a number of items that will be in a category that will contribute a certain amount to a grade, you will then have to go back and adjust weights if need be, because natural weighting starts off by weighting based on the max points possible for each grade item. 

Move Grade Items & Categories

Make sure you are in the gradebook setup page. 

At the left of the Grade item or Category you want to move, click Move. The word (Move) will appear next to the item to be moved, and dashed rectangles will appear in the possible locations where the item can be moved.
Click any of the dashed rectangles to move the item to that location. The page will refresh showing the item in the new location.

You can cancel your action at any time by clicking Cancel at the bottom of the page
If you move a category that contains items and/or sub-categories, all of its contents will also be moved to the new location.

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