Grades in the Moodle gradebook can be calculated, aggregated, and displayed in a variety of ways, and many settings exist to meet a variety of grading strategies. Please note that Moodle’s gradebook is powerful and as such has many settings and sometimes a variety of ways to accomplish what you want; it can, at times, seem overwhelming. This page is not meant to be an exhaustive manual but rather a guide for typical use cases.  Should you require further assistance, please contact Jason Simms at simmsj@lafayette.edu.

Adding graded items

When you add certain activity types to your Moodle course, they will automatically be added as grade items within the gradebook. The most common examples are Assignment and Quiz, but you can also have graded Forums and other activities. In general, these will be items that are submitted or completed within Moodle itself. Setting point values, due dates, and other relevant information for these is handled through the interface for that particular item. Beyond this, however, it is possible to add manual grade items for things like attendance, participation, or assignments/papers/etc. that you want students to hand into you directly rather than submit through Moodle, which will be discussed below.

Accessing the gradebook configuration page

Within the Administration block on your main course page, click Gradebook setup to configure your gradebook.

Understanding the default aggregation method

Moodle gradebooks use a default aggregation method called Natural weighting, which you can configure to accommodate a variety of grading approaches. PLEASE NOTE that if you have imported an older version of your course, it is possible that you are using a different aggregation method – strategies for converting from an older method to Natural weighting are beyond the scope of this document, but you can contact simmsj@lafayette.edu for assistance.

By default, graded items are weighted according to the point values assigned to them. For example, a 100-point assignment is worth twice as much as a 50-point assignment. You can think of this as “weighting by points,” and is useful if you tend to, e.g., have quizzes worth 10 points each while an exam might be worth 100 points. As you add or remove grade items, or change their point values, the relative weights (listed in the Weights column for each item) will automatically adjust (as a rule, values in the Weights column must always sum to 100).

Alternatively, you can “weight by percentage” where you override the default weight for a given item based on how much you would like it to count regardless of its actual point value. For instance, you might have an assignment, a quiz, and an exam, each worth 100 points, but you can set the assignment to be worth 5% of the course grade, the quiz worth 10%, and the exam worth 20%. To do this, simply check the box next to the percentage weight in the Weights column for a particular item and enter the new weight; when you do this, generally you should override each entry and specify the weights explicitly, though this is not a requirement, and any you do not specify will automatically adjust to ensure the Weights column sums to 100. Note that if you make any changes, be sure to click [Save changes].

Finally, you can recreate a simple sum of grades, which treats every point equal to all others, where the final grade is simply the points earned out of the total points possible. In order to do this, the weights of all items should be set equal to one another. The shortcut to achieve this is to check all the checkboxes in the Weights column for each graded item and set them all to 1. When you click [Save changes], all the weights will be set equally.

Creating grade categories

Categories are an excellent way to group related grade items. You might, e.g., have a category for Assignments, another for Quizzes, and a third for Exams. If you want to use categories, it is easiest to create them prior to adding any grade items since you can designate a particular category when you create a new grade item. You can, however, move items around later, which is discussed below.

Beyond facilitating orgazniation for grade items, categories also allow to you weight a particular category as being worth, e.g., 30% of the overall course grade without worrying about explicitly weighting each grade item within the category.

Adding new categories:

  1. Select Gradebrook setup from your course “Administration” block.
  2. Click the [Add category] button at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Configure settings for this particular category:
    1. Give the category a name (e.g., Exams, Quizzes, Labs).
    2. Set the aggregation type. This will default to whatever your overall course method is set at (generally Natural), but you can use a different method if you want. Note that doing so might have unintended consequences when calculating grades.
    3. Click the [Save changes] button.

Editing categories:

  1. Click the [Gradebook setup] tab.
  2. Click on the [Edit] button next to the category you would like to edit.
  3. Select “Edit settings”
  4. Make any necessary changes.
  5. Click the [Save changes] button.

Rearranging grade items and categories:

  1. Click the [Gradebook setup] tab.
  2. To move a category up or down, click on the move icon Move button in Gradebook setup next to the item you would like to move.
  3. Select the empty box where you want to move the item to.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button.

Adding a manually graded item:

As mentioned above, you may wish to create a grade item for, e.g., participation, attendance, or for assignments or activities that are handed in directly/physically (i.e., not submitted through Moodle itself). To add new grade items to the grader report without adding an activity to the course page:

  1. Select the [Gradebook setup] tab.
  2. Click the [Add grade item] button at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Give the item a name and grade type and adjust any other settings as necessary.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button.

Entering/Editing grades

Moodle provides a number of ways to assign a grade to a particular item, depending on what type of grade item it is. Note that it is possible to assign a grade that exceeds the maximum point value for the item.  For example, you may want to assign a grade of 105/100 on an exam. This is fine and Moodle will calculate the score appropriately, taking into account the bonus points.

Grading an activity submitted through Moodle (e.g., Assignment, Quiz)

The easiest and least error-prone way to grade items created and submitted through Moodle, such as an Assignment or Quiz, is through that particular item’s grading interface. For example, if you have an Assignment, you can click on that particular assignment in your course and assign grades through that interface. Grades will be automatically reflected in the gradebook.

Grading a manual grade item (e.g., Participation, Attendance)

If you have created any manual grade items, the easiest way to grade them is through the Single view interface:

  1. From the main page of your course, click Grades within the Administration block. Typically, but not always, this will take you to the Grader report. If it doesn’t, or if you are already in another page of the gradebook, you can click the Grader report link on the left of the page, or the tab near the top of the page.
  2. Within the Grader report, you can enter Single view one of two ways:
    1. If you want to assign grades to all students for a particular item, such as a single Assignment, find the grade column for that item and click the grey pencil icon in the column header.
    2. If you want to assign grades to one student for multiple grade items, click the grey pencil icon next to their name.
  3. (Alternatively, you can also simply click the Single view tab or link to go into the single view editor page, from which you can select either a particular assignment or a specific student.)
  4. You can then enter grades, feedback, etc. on the page, making sure to click [Save] when finished. Note that if the grade box is greyed out and inaccessible, this means typically that you are attempting to grade something that should be graded through its own grading interface (see above). While you can enter grades this way, doing so creates a grade override and is not recommended since it can have unexpected results.

Extra credit

You may want to designate a grade item as extra credit. Please note that extra credit only functions as expected if you are using either Natural weighting or Simple weighted mean of grades. It is not recommended to explicitly designate something as extra credit under other aggregation methods.

Assigning extra credit

  1. Click the [Gradebook setup] tab or link.
  2. Click the Edit drop-down next to the grade item you wish to designate as extra credit, then select Edit settings.
  3. Within the Parent category section, place a check in the box labeled Extra credit.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button at the bottom.
  5. When you return to the gradebook setup page, you will see a little “+” next to the score in the Max grade column; this indicates that the item is considered extra credit. The weights of all non-extra credit items will adjust to sum to 100, and the weight of the extra credit item will be set to its relative weight based on the number of points (you can, however, override the weight just as with regular grade items).

Ungraded items or items with 0 weight

You may wish to have a grade item that is ungraded; for example, you want students to submit an item through Moodle, but you will not assign a grade to it. This can be useful for, e.g., ungraded rough drafts or other documents that you might want to provide comments for, or have a record of, but that will not carry a grade. In this case, the Assignment becomes effectively a dropbox. To do this, create an Assignment as normal, but within the Grade section, select None as the Type.

Similarly, you may wish to provide a grade for something like a rough draft in order to show a student what they would have received, but ultimately you don’t want the grade to count towards the overall course grade. To do this, within the Gradebook setup page, simply override the weight of a particular grade item and set it to 0. That way, you can grade an item as normal, provide feedback, etc. but the grade will not “count.”

Changing how grades display (e.g., percentage, points, letter, etc.)

It’s relatively easy to control how grades are displayed for an overall course, or even for a single assignment or category.  You might want to display the grade for a particular assignment or category as the total points earned, while the overall course grade can show up as the percentage and total points earned:

  1. From your course, within the Administration section, click Gradebook setup.
  2. Click the Edit drop-down under the Actions column on the first row, the one that lists the name of your course (e.g., CHEM 431.01…), and then click Edit settings.
  3. At the bottom of the Category total section on the resulting page, click Show more….
  4. You will see a drop-down box labeled Grade display type, which you can set to whatever you prefer; for example, if you only want to show points, you would select Real (‘Real’ stands for the actual points earned, as opposed to a percentage or letter).  And you’ll see that you can set it to one of several combinations, showing points and percentage, for instance.
  5. You can repeat this step for any particular item or category as well, depending on how you want to represent the grade to students.

Exporting the gradebook

You may want to export your gradebook to either serve as a backup or be able to manipulate the data through spreadsheet software such as Excel. Follow these steps to make a backup of your Moodle gradebook for your records.

  1. Click on [Export] tab.
  2. Select an export format (OpenDoc, Plain text, Excel, XML) from the options going across the top of the screen.
  3. Set options as required.
  4. Click the [Download] button.