Using the Gradebook 1.9.5

Grades in the Moodle 1.9.5 gradebook can be calculated, aggregated, and displayed in a variety of ways, and a variety of settings exist to meet a variety of grading strategies.

Understanding aggregation strategies and normalization

Most of the aggregation types in the 1.9.5 gradebook convert a grade to a percentage internally before applying weighting, calculating the category total, and using the category total to calculate the course total.

The different aggregation strategies allow you to choose the way category grades and a participant’s overall course grade are calculated. Aggregation strategies can be applied to the overall course and/or to specific categories. Some common aggregation types include the following:

Mean of grades calculates the score as a percentage of each graded item; adds all the percentages for a category; and divides by the number of graded items.

A1 70/100, A2 20/80, A3 10/10, category max 100:
(0.7 + 0.25 + 1.0)/3 = 0.65 –> 65/100

Simple weighted mean uses the maximum grade values to weight scores within a category rather than normalizing a grade to 100 percent before weighting. This aggregation type does not allow you to set a weight for items or the categories; it simply uses the inherent weighting you’ve established by setting different maximum point values.

A1 70/100, A2 20/80, A3 10/10: 70 + 20 + 10 = 100/190

Sum of grades is the sum of all grade values. Scale grades are ignored. This is the only type that does not convert the grades to percentages internally (normalization). This means grades are weighted by their point value directly. The Maximum grade of associated category item is calculated automatically as a sum of maximums from all aggregated items.

A1 70/100, A2 20/80, A3 10/10:
70 + 20 + 10 = 100/190

Weighted mean allows you to establish weights for categories and items. These weights influence the overall importance of each item or category. For example, if a category is weighted at 50%, then regardless of the number of items in that category, the overall mean score of those items will be 50% of the student’s grade.

A1 70/100 weight 10, A2 20/80 weight 5, A3 10/10 weight 3, category max 100:
(0.7*10 + 0.25*5 + 1.0*3)/18 = 0.625 –> 62.5/100

Deciding which aggregation strategy to use

Find the scenario that applies most closely to your grading philosophy for a particular course.

Scenario 1

I know in advance what all the graded course items are,
and the available points per item are in proportion to each other (bigger items are worth more points).

Use “Simple Weighted Mean of Grades” or “Sum of grades” as your aggregation strategy.
There is no need to establish categories.

Scenario 2

I know in advance what all the graded course items are,
and I use one standard scale to grade my course items. (Points out of five, or out of one hundred, etc.)
But, some things are worth more than others (e.g., a final exam graded out of 100 is worth more than a homework assignment graded out of 100).

Use “Weighted Mean of Grades.”
Assign proportional weights to the ITEMS.

Scenario 3

I want the flexibility to add graded course items (pop quizzes, for example).

Use “Weighted Mean of Grades.”
Add proportional weights to the CATEGORIES of items that you want to be flexible.

Scenario 4

Everything in my course counts the same, regardless of what scale I use to grade it. (A 15-question quiz is worth the same number of points as a 10-question quiz.)

Use “Mean of Grades.”

Establishing grade categories

If you select a strategy above that suggests you should use categories, it is easiest to establish these categories prior to adding assignments or manual grade items. This gives you the ability to designate the category (e.g., exams, quizzes, labs, etc.) when you create the grade item. Categories simply allow you to group grade items and alter settings to affect these grouped grades.

To add new categories:

  1. Select Grades from your course “Administration” block.
  2. Select the [Categories and items] tab.
  3. Click the [Add category] button at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Configure the settings for this particular category:
    1. Give the category a name (e.g., Exams, quizzes, labs).
    2. Determine the aggregation type. Usually set this to the same aggregation type as you have selected for the overall gradebook. However, it is possible to select a different aggregation type for a category. Just be careful as this can have unexpected results.
    3. This category can become a parent category and new child categories can be added within. To illustrate this, a “Quizzes” category (parent category) could contain two other categories (child categories under the parent) labeled, “Pop quizzes before mid-term” and “Pop quizzes after mid-term.”
    4. Item weight: The weight of the category in relation to the other categories.
    5. Click the [Save changes] button.

To edit categories:

  1. Click the [Categories and items] tab.
  2. Click on the [Edit] button next to the category you would like to edit.
  3. Make any necessary changes.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button.

To rearrange grade categories:

  1. Click the [Categories and items] tab.
  2. To move a category up or down, select the move icon (designated by the up/down arrow).
  3. Select the empty box to move the category to a new location.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button.

To rearrange grade items:

  1. Click the [Categories and items] tab.
  2. To move a graded item up or down, select the move icon (designated by the up/down arrow).
  3. Select the empty box to move the graded item to a new location.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button.

To assign existing grade items to categories:

If grade items are added to a specified category, they will be assigned to the parent or course category. To assign grade items to a category:

  1. Select the [Categories and items] tab.
  2. In the “Select” column, place a check next to the grade item(s) you wish to move.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select from the “Move selected items to” drop-down menu the appropriate category in which the grade items should be moved.

To add manually graded item:

To add new grade items to the grader report without adding an activity to the course page:

  1. Select the [Categories and items] 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 grade, including decimal grades and grades over 100%

A handy feature of the gradebook is the ability to quickly enter or edit grades in a spreadsheet type view. This view allows you to enter point values higher than the grade item’s maximum. It also allows you to enter values with decimal points.

To access this view:

  1. Click Grades in the “Administration” block.
  2. This should bring you to the “Grader Report” view, but if not, click the [View] tab then click the Grader report link.
  3. Click the [Turn editing on] button in the upper right corner. This will display input boxes for each grade along with editing icons.
  4. To enter a grade, click into the box for the student and grade item and enter a score. To enter multiple grades, hit tab key to move down the current column of text entry boxes.
  5. When you finish entering grades, click the [Update] button at the bottom of the screen to save the grades.
    When you finish entering grades, click the [Update] button at the bottom of the screen regularly to save grades as you work to avoid getting timed out.

Extra credit

In some cases, you may decide after the gradebook is established as above, that you want to add optional extra credit grade items to the gradebook or to a particular category. Only two aggregation types easily allow for extra credit: “Sum of grades” or “Simple weighted mean of grade.”

Assigning extra credit using “Sum of grades” or “Simple weighted mean of grades”

  1. Click the [Categories and items] tab then click the [Turn editing on] button.
  2. For the gradebook or category in which you want to apply extra credit, change the “Aggregation type” to Sum of grades or Simple weighted mean of grades.
  3. Then, beside the appropriate gradebook item place a check in the box located in the “Extra Credit” column.
  4. Click the [Save changes] button at the bottom.

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)
  3. Set options as required.
  4. Click the [Submit] button.
  5. After previewing the data on the following page, click the download button.