Unfortunately, creating your Gradebook isn't a simple setting to enable. In all honesty, it is one of the more complex things to master in Moodle. Before you begin, it's best to separate the process into three separate phases; analyzing your syllabus, organizing your assignments in Gradebook Setup, and applying your course grading method. These phases are covered in detail below, as well as some of Gradebook's more Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Gradebook Questions
Phase 1: Analyzing Your Syllabus
Setting up your Moodle gradebook begins with analyzing your course syllabus. Open your syllabus and locate your grading section. Most courses use one of the three following grading styles to calculate a student's final grade (see image below). For now, just keep in mind what grading style your course most likely resembles.
- Weighted mean of grades - Every graded item in the course has a specific weight that adds up to a traditional 100% course grade.
- Natural Sum of Grades (out of 100+ points) - All graded items in the course have varying amounts of points, which total more than 100.
- Natural Sum of Grades (out of 100 total points) - All graded items in the course have varying amounts of points, but their total adds up to exactly 100.
Now it's time to analyze each gradable item in the course to see how they relate to the overall grading structure. On a scrap piece of paper, write down each assignment or activity that you plan on submitting a grade for (these are called gradable items). Think about the following questions as you prepare your list of gradable items (use the image below as a reference):
- How many assignments do you have in your course? How are they organized?
- Is your assignment a Moodle activity (Quiz, Assignment, Attendance, graded Forum, etc.)?
- Moodle automatically creates a column in gradebook when a gradable activity is added to the course.
- Is your assignment an off-line activity (in-class exam, participation, oral presentation, etc.)?
- Since Moodle doesn't have an activity to associate these items with, we have to manually add a column for each off-line activity.
- What is the grade range for your assignment? Is the assignment worth three points, 10 points, 100 points, etc.?
- If your class is using a Natural grading method, keep in mind that each assignment's maximum grade will vary depending on how much they are worth to the final score.
- If your class is using a weighted mean of grades grading method, the maximum grade does not matter, as the item weight will be applied later (see Phase 3 below).
Phase 2: Organize Graded Items in Moodle's Gradebook Setup
Now that we have an idea of how our gradable items break down, it's time to organize them in your course's gradebook.
- Visit your course in Moodle. Locate the Administration block (usually found on the left side) and select Grades.
- Using the drop down menu at the top of the page, select the Gradebook Setup option located in the Setup section.
The Gradebook Setup displays a list of all your gradable activities that Moodle sees in your course. Items such as Assignments, Quizzes, and graded Forums are listed here since their grades come from their respective areas. We will also manually add our off-line activities here as well. However, before we add those items, let's first create some categories to help organize our similar activities (quizzes, homeworks, etc.).
- At the bottom of the Gradebook Setup, select the Add category button.
- Type in a Category name and click Save changes at the bottom.
- Your new category has been added to the bottom of your Gradebook Setup. Now we will move our existing items into that new category. Using the scroll bar (under the Save changes button), scroll to the far right side of the page. Check off the items you want moved by clicking inside their respective check boxes.
- Under the Save changes button, open the Move selected items to drop down menu and select the category that you just created.
- Moodle will then automatically move those items into the category. Repeat this process for any other categories in your course.
Keep in mind that categories should only be added when you have several items to organize. Do not create a category for just one single item. Instead, we will use the Add grade item button to create our single columns. A grade item is distinguishable from other Moodle activities by their unique icon (see image below).
- At the bottom of the Gradebook Setup, select the Add grade item button.
- Type in an Item name and choose your maximum grade for this activity.
- If this item belongs in a category, use the Grade category drop down menu to select the appropriate option.
- When finished, select the Save changes button.
- Moodle now adds this grade item to the bottom of the Gradebook Setup (or the category you selected in Step 3). Repeat this process for any other off-line activities in your course (see image below).
Phase 3: Apply Grading Methods
With our Gradebook Setup organized and structured properly, it's time to apply our course grading method and any categories that we have added. Since Moodle calculates a total score automatically, all grade items are stored in the course category (at the top of the Gradebook Setup). By default, each course is set to use the Simple weighted mean of grades method, which is basically adding up all the student scores divided by the total amount of points possible. Depending on your course grading method, you may wish to change this to either Weighted mean of grades, or Sum of all grades. These grading methods are discussed at the top of this page.
- Towards the top of your Gradebook Setup page, locate your course category and its respective "Edit" button in the Actions column. Click the Edit menu and select Edit Settings
- If Weighted mean of grades is selected, the Gradebook Setup will reload and a new Weight column on the Gradebook Setup page. Simply type in that grade item/categories' weight (5%, 10%, 20%, etc.) and select the Save changes button at the bottom of the page.
- If Natural (which means a Natural) is selected, the Gradebook Setup page will reload and all of the maximum grades for each item in the course will be added together to create the total course score. This value can be found at the very bottom of the Gradebook Setup in the Course total row.
- With the course grading method set, proceed to any individual categories if needed. Keep in mind how you are grading those category items.
- For example, let's say you have five quizzes in a Quizzes category. Are these quizzes equal to each other in weight/points? If so, leave the Quizzes category at Mean of grades since their scores are using the same max value. If these items have varying point values, you may consider changing the category grading method to Simple Weighted mean of grades.
- Once you have made your final modifications, you are done. Congratulations on building your Gradebook!
- When moving from Weighted mean of grades to Simple weighted mean of grades, all items are marked as Extra Credits, and are counted as bonus points towards the course total.