Gradebook setup guide
In this tutorial you will learn how to setup your Gradebook in Moodle. This tutorial also covers how to enter grades for assignments, forums, grade items, and shows how to enter grades manually as well as override grades.
Believe it or not, Moodle tries to make your setup very easy. In most cases, you only need to change a few things and Moodle will do all of the work. This gradebook will be setup in a traditional way. Meaning the final average will be calculated using weighted categories. It is strongly recommended to do some gradebook setup before you begin adding resources and fleshing the course out. Grab your syllabus, head to your course in Moodle, and follow the steps below.
- Enter your course, then click the “Gradebook setup” menu item in your administration block.
- Across the top you will see your gradebook menu. From here you can also click to view your gradebook. For gradebook setup, be sure "Setup" is selected.
- The first thing you want to setup is how your grades will be aggregated. For the first item of your gradebook you should see the name of your course, this is your course category. Under the "actions" column you will see an "edit" button. Select it, and select "Edit settings".
- We're going to set this gradebook up in the way that is most common. That is, a gradebook where certain items or categories will be weighted, and the total grade will be an average of all the weighted items. So, in this case select "Weighted mean of grades" for Aggregation, then scroll down and select the green "Save changes" button.
- After it reloads look directly under the Aggregation option. You'll see an option to show more, click that, then you'll see: "Exclude empty grades". This is stating that if the box is checked, then any assignment that doesn't have a grade won't count towards the students' total grade. It is often best to leave this checked. However, note that you will need to manually enter a "0" for a student who doesn't complete an assignment. For everything else on this page, it is recommended to leave the default settings. Further note that you don't need to add a title for this category, it automatically makes the title the course title, so leave that blank. Then make sure to save.
- Now you will use your syllabus to help you create grading, or assignment categories. Using categories helps you stay organized, but it also helps your students acquire a clear picture of their progress in your course. For example, if you have three different ways to assess students such as: Quizzes, Exams, Forums (see table). Then you should make a category for each. To do this, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Gradebook setup page and select the green "Add Category" button.
- Now, give the category a name. If it is for your Quizzes, type "Quizzes". Then for Aggregation, set it to "Mean of grades." Then click the green "Save changes" button at the bottom of the page. This category will calculate the average of student quiz scores, then Moodle will do the math to weigh that average into the total average grade. Repeat this step until each assessment category on your syllabus has its own category. Note that at any time, you can edit a category. Exactly as you did in Step 3, you can select "edit" for any category to change the name, or aggregation type.
- After making all of your categories and setting the aggregation types, you can assign the weights. Using our example from step 6, all you do is type 30 in the box next to quizzes, 30 in the box next to discussion forums, and 40 in the box next to exams. **After making any changes, click the green "Save Changes" button to confirm.**
Your gradebook might look something like this:
- Now that your weights are setup, you can begin to create resources and assign them to categories. As stated above, it is strongly recommended that you setup your gradebook before you do anything else. That way, it is much easier to populate your categories with resources as you create them. It will also help you visualize the course as a whole. For gradable resources, choose to "edit settings" and expand the "Grade" category. Select the appropriate category from the menu, then scroll down and save.
- There will be a few more steps for some very specific things, but here is an example of what an organized Gradebook should look like (click image for larger version):
Note that if you click any of the little arrows next to the grade items it will allow you to arrange the order. Then click again on the box in the location where you want to move the item. This is important to get correct, as students will see the same order.
And here (below) is an example of what a graded student will see. Notice how neatly things are organized by the use of categories and consistent use of labeling schemes for activities and resources. Click the image to see a larger version in a new window.
Other important things to know
- Setting Maximum Grade
- Forum Grading
- Grade Items
- Entering Grades
Setting Maximum Grade
You have probably noticed that there are different places to set the maximum grade. For the above example I set the max grade to 100 for all of the grade categories. I did this through the same category editing menu we saw in step 3.
You'll also notice in the example above that the final average will still be calculated out of 100, however each quiz is out of 10. Moodle does all of the math for whatever you set these values to. However, if you do use the above grading and weighing style it is worth it to set each category to 100. You'll notice the "range" for each category is set 0-100, this helps things be consistent for the student. You can set quiz grades after clicking on the quiz to enter it, then select "edit quiz". In the top right, you can change the value to whatever you like, just make sure to save. You'll notice I used a quiz resource for an exam, so I set the max grade to 100. Just make sure to change the point value per question so it adds up to 100.
Setting up Grades for Forums and giving Rating
Grading Forums is a little different from the other resources. Moodle uses a "rating" system for grading individual posts made by students. Note that you'll also need to set a rating value BEFORE you can add the Forum to the correct grading category. Follow the steps below.
Adding Forums to Grade Category
- Choose to "Edit Settings" on a Discussion Forum Resource
- Scroll down and expand the "Ratings" item. Select "Average of ratings" and set the maximum grade to 100
- You may of course choose whatever style you wish, however, we recommend to use the average and a max score of 100 if you are setting a gradebook up similarly to our example.
- Scroll down and select "Save and display"
- Return to editing by selecting "edit settings" from the administration block on the left.
- Scroll down and now "Grade" should appear as a collapsible menu item. Select it, then choose the appropriate grading category.
- Scroll back down and select one of the Save options.
Now that that is setup, on every student post you will see an option to rate them. Select the drop-down arrow and you'll see you can assign a rating of 0-100 (or to whatever you set max score for). Moodle will calculate the average for that discussion board and display the average to the student. The number in parenthesis represents how many times a post has been rated. You can set the forums so students can rate each-other as well.
Lastly, you can add simple grade items. Meaning they are not attached to any particular resource, so you can use these however you wish. You should use them for things like Participation grades for example.
Back in your gradebook setup, scroll down and select "Add grade item". You can then label it accordingly and set the rest of the options as you see fit. You will need to manually enter a grade, we'll cover how to do that in the next section.
There are a few ways to enter grades. Ideally, Moodle wants you to assign grades in the same place that students submit things. For example, for an assignment you'd view their submissions and assign grades and feedback there. We already looked at one method of assigning grades using ratings for forums, but we'll look at another way. First though, for regular assignments.
- Click on the assignment
- Select "View all submissions"
- You will be presented with a list of submissions.
- Select the red "Grade" button.
- Make sure you are using Firefox or Chrome - Moodle will generate a pdf from the submission for you to read through. In the setup of the assignment you can also choose to set a feedback type to "Feedback comments".
- Enter the grade and any feedback on the right, and select "Save changes". That's all there is to it.
Grading via Gradebook
- Select "Gradebook Setup" from the administration block.
- Select "View"
- Select "Turn editing on" in the top right.
- You will see a list of your students in the middle of your screen, to see all of the gradebook items pan to the right.
- You can override any grade by entering it in the box indicated above. If you have additional feedback you can enter it in the box with the dotted lines.
- If you want to set a grade to NOT override. Select the gear called "Edit Settings for Grade" in the above image.
- UNCHECK "Overridden" and hit save. The grade box will now be empty.
- Within the edit grade settings window, you can also choose to enter the grade there (with overridden checked), exclude or hide a grade.
- Make sure to select "Save changes" whenever you manually enter grades or make any changes anywhere.