Moodle's gradebook is a powerful tool for sharing grades and feedback with students, and calculating final grades. While the gradebook provides several different options for how to calculate and display grades, the process of calculating grades is relatively simple because it depends on how you organize items on the Category and items page. Whether you like to have your entire gradebook configured before the start of the semester or prefer to build your course as you teach, both strategies can work with the gradebook.
This page describes 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.
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 add custom items to your gradebook such as extra columns to record additional grades (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.
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.
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.
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.
If you want alternative methods for evaluating student work, Moodle supports grading with rubrics and non-numeric scales.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org). We are happy to help and always interested to hear about new challenges and solutions.