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Configure the Gradebook in Moodle

Moodle's gradebook is a powerful tool for sharing grades and feedback with students, and calculating final grades. The gradebook provides several different options for how to calculate and display grades, and the process of calculating grades is relatively simple. Whether you configure your gradebook before the start of the semester, or as you teach, both strategies can work.

This page outlines the major functions involved with configuring the gradebook and provides links to step-by-step instructions. For an overview of how to input and record student grades, see Record Grades in Moodle.

For help with grading from knowledgeable and patient consultants, contact the UMass IT Academic Computing Instructional Media Lab or go to http://www.it.umass.edu/instruct.

Set Up Your Gradebook

Create and Arrange Grade Items and Categories

When you add activities such as Assignments or Quizzes to a Moodle course, corresponding grade items (columns) are added to the course gradebook. Moodle also lets you manually add columns to your gradebook to record extra grade items (for example, if you administer an offline midterm exam). In both of these cases, it's fine to build your gradebook as you go, but when it's time to calculate final grades, the organization of these items is essential to making sure you get the right results.

Calculate Grades

The simplest way to calculate grades is to let Moodle handle calculations. Moodle has built-in calculations (called aggregations) to compute the score for the entire course (and sub-totals if you need them). Moodle can aggregate grades as Natural weights (which replaces Sum of grades used in previous versions of Moodle), Mean of grades, and Custom weights (where weights are applied to individual items or categories as a percentage of the total grade). You can also create a custom formula if you require additional operations.

Prepare Final Grades for Spire

At the end of the term, you can easily transfer grades from the Moodle gradebook to your Spire grade roster. Moodle will convert numerical grades to letter grades using a scale of your choosing. After importing grades into Spire, you can still edit grades before they are approved and submitted to the Registrar.

Additional Gradebook Options & Grading Methods

Display Grades with Letters and Percentages

By changing settings in your gradebook, you can control how grades are displayed to students, including showing grades as a numeric score (Real), percentage, or letter. By default, Moodle activities use the Grade type of Points, with the maximum points set at 100.

On the Letter tab in the gradebook, you can customize grade boundaries by matching ranges of scores to letter grades (e.g., 93.00-100.00 for A). Then when grading, enter the number that matches the letter grade you want to assign (e.g., 89 for a B+), or upload numeric scores from a spreadsheet. When Moodle generates letter grades, it will match numeric scores to the ranges in the Letter Grade settings and display the correct letter grade to students.

Note: Grade items associated with Moodle activities allow only numeric scores to be entered. Letter grades can be typed directly in the Moodle gradebook or uploaded from a spreadsheet only for manually created grade items that are set to the Letter grade type.

Grade with Rubrics and Non-numeric Scales

If you want alternative methods for evaluating student work, Moodle supports grading with rubrics and non-numeric scales. 

  • Rubrics are useful when you want to assess student work using multiple criteria. In Assignment activities, you can use advanced grading options to configure a rubric and criteria, and then when grading, the rubric will calculate an overall score. To configure and grade with a rubric, see Grade with Rubrics in Moodle. Rubrics can also be used when grading TurnItIn assignments.
  • Custom Scales are for when you want students to see Excellent, Good, Fair, etc., as a grade on an assignment instead of a numerical score. While custom scales can be used to display non-numeric assessments (such as ✔-, ✔, and ✔+), the gradebook will still be able to do calculations with these items if needed. For details, see Custom Grading Scales in Moodle.

Get Help

These are just a few of the methods that instructors at UMass Amherst have developed for grading in Moodle. If you are stumped trying to get Moodle to generate grades the way you want, or have developed an interesting method of your own, contact the Instructional Media Lab (545-2823, instruct@umass.edu). We are happy to help and always interested to hear about new challenges and solutions.