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 email@example.com.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
If you have created any manual grade items, the easiest way to grade them is through the Single view interface:
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.
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.”
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:
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.