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Moodle 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.

Getting Around in Gradebook

At the top of gradebook pages is a list of views or reports. Here are the ones you might need most often:  

  • Grader report: This is the default view. Click “Turn editing on” to enter grades directly. It features a table, which will contain a column for each graded assignment in Moodle. You can make changes to the columns that appear on the Gradebook Setup page, below. 
  • Gradebook Setup: Here you can set up categories, adjust the weighting of grades, and add manual items for work submitted outside of a Moodle activity.
  • Course Grade Settings: On this page, you can modify how the course total and different gradebook reports display.
  • User report: This page shows you the view a student can see.
  • Single view: This page contains information about a single student, or single graded item.

Moodle Gradebook Terminology

Aggregation: How grades are calculated. you can choose Natural or Highest, and Natural is the right choice in most cases.

Natural weighting: the default way to aggregate grades. It sums up points (and will show you weights that tell you what percentage of the course total those points represent), unless you customize the weights. 

Exclude empty grades: (Selected by default) If checked, empty grades are excluded from calculations and don't count against students. If this is unchecked, empty grades are calculated as "0" and your students may be alarmed by low course totals early in the semester.

Drop the lowest: Exclude one or more grade items with the lowest value from being calculated in the category total. Note: you can drop lowest grade(s) only if all of the items in the Grade Category have the same maximum points. 

Value (grade type): the grade type for a numeric grade. 

Text (grade type): the grade type for textual feedback.

Scale (grade type): the grade type for descriptive scaling like good-fair-poor or whatever scale you define.

None (grade type): an assignment that cannot have a grade assigned. 

Grade Categories and Graded Items

It's fine to build your gradebook as you go, but we advise using categories for graded items that will be treated similarly, such as homeworks and quizzes, as early as possible. This way you have control over how each item or type of item affects the final grade.

Grade Categories

You may already list what each type of work will contribute to the final grade, in your syllabus.  You can use this as a guide when setting up grade categories. ​For example, your plan may look something like this: 

  • Pre-class quizzes: 15% 
  • Homeworks: 15%
  • Midterm: 20%
  • Research paper: 30%
  • Final exam: 20% 

In this case, you would create categories in the Moodle Gradebook for pre-class quizzes and for the homework. You can assign the weights above to those categories, no matter how many individual graded items they contain. The midterm, research paper, and final exam will be single graded items in your Gradebook.

  1. In the gradebook setup page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add category. The New category page will open.
  2. 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.)
  3. Aggregation: You can choose Natural or Highest, and Natural is the right choice in most cases.
  4. 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.
  5. Drop the lowest: Exclude one or more grade items with the lowest value from being calculated in the category total.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.  The Categories and items page will open, displaying the new category.

Graded Items

Some activities in Moodle automatically create a graded item in your gradebook when you set them up to accept student work. You will be able to view these graded items on your Gradebook Setup page, and move them into categories using the arrow icons to the very left of their entry.

In other cases, you may be accepting work from students in ways that aren't Moodle activities, or may be grading based on other factors like participation.  In this case, you will create a Manual Grade Item for any grade you need to assign that doesn't already appear on the Gradebook Setup page.  You can do this with the following steps.

  1. On the Gradebook Setup page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add grade item. The New grade item page will open.
  2. Enter a name for the grade item.
  3. In the Grade type field, use Value 
  4. In the Maximum grade field, set the number of total points the item is worth.
  5. (Optional) If you are using gradebook categories, you can select the category from the Parent Category dropdown menu.
  6. When finished, click Save changes.
  7. 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. 

Gradebook Weights and Aggregation

Moodle uses a setting called aggregation to determine how to translate points students earn from individual assignments into a final grade. We recommend the aggregation setting called Natural. 

Natural Aggregation allows you to value each assignment that you create with as many points as makes sense to you. It displays weightings in your Gradebook Setup page to indicate the percentage value that each assignment is worth, out of the entire course grade.  You can then adjust those weightings as you desire, to ensure they match the model you use for grading and have communicated to your students.

Natural Aggregation will work if you have all the points you grant for the semester add up to a specific total (if small assignments are worth a small amount like five points, and a midterm worth 40 points, for example).  It will also work if you have every assignment graded out of 100 points, and choose to enter grade weightings independently on the Gradebook Setup page.

Some older courses my use different types of aggregation, which were around before the Natural aggregation setting was available.  We suggest that courses be updated to use Natural when possible, as it is the easiest and most flexible aggregation method to use.

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