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Working with Grades

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Moodle offers you a way to grade and manage the results of your students' work.

What do you want to do?


About Moodle Grades

The Moodle Grades module can be accessed from the unit's Administration block.

Moodle Grades offers a range of useful tools and views:

  • The Grader Report (the landing page of Grades) displays all students and grades in a scrollable table, and provides a view and editing screen for all grades and feedback collected in the unit
  • The Categories and Items view for managing grade aggregation and visibility
  • Grade Export and Import screens
  • Single View providing editing and review of single students or single grade items
  • Grade History view to review and manage changes to grades
  • Setup screens for your grading preferences

The components of grades are:

  • The grade, which are student scores in a course e.g. 73 or D or Pass;
  • The grade item, which stores a grade for each course participant for a gradeable activity e.g. Assignment 1 or Revision Quiz;
  • A grade category, which enables grouping of grade items together e.g. All quiz grades;

All have separate settings that can be changed as needed.

How grade items are created in the Grades

Grade items are created either when a gradeable activity is created anywhere in the unit or manually.

  1. When you create an activity, for example, an assignment, a new grade item will be automatically listed in the Grades:
  • as a column with the name of the assignment in Grader report 
  • as a grade item in Categories and items

When you grade the assignment, the grades page (Grader report) is automatically updated with the mark and feedback you enter in the assignment's grading page.This grades page is linked directly to the Grades. Marks and feedback for your students' submissions can also be manually added to Grades. 

Please note that Scales do not map to Points (marks). It is recommended that Point grades be used to avoid unexpected weightings in student results. See Moodle docs Scales (opens in new window) for details more information.

2. To manually add a grade item to the Grades:

  1. In the Administration block under Unit administration select Grades.

    Grades setup menu
  2. Choose Setup in the menu tabs then click on Categories and items.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click Add grade item
  4. Set the properties of the grade item - you can select further options by clicking Show more. If your course is set to use weighted mean of grades, you can assign a weight that the grade for this category will have in the parent category.
    Click  on Save changes.

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Grade display and settings

Grades are represented in two ways - as the value or mark as stored in Moodle and in the format for display to students.

The Grade type of stored marks may be value or scale. The Grade type for a gradeable activity is set in the individual activity's setting's Grade settings. This cannot be changed anywhere except in the activity's settings.

Moodle does not have Alphanumeric grade types. If you enter text in a Value type grade field, the data will not be saved. Also, if you enter text in a Text type grade field (a scale), the data is saved as feedback, which means that it will not be visible in the Grades unless you hover your mouse over the cell, or display the Grades in editing mode. If you do not wish to use values use one of the built in scales or create a custom scale, and use feedback for more extended text.

Change default display settings

Default preferences for all unit grades can bet set in the Grades > Setup > Grade items settings menu or from the Grades > Grades Administration > Setup  block and selecting Unit grade settings. These defaults can be overriden for individual grade items.

1. Open Grades > Setup > Grade items settings

Grade item settings

2. Select the preferred display type. This can include Letter grades, combinations of letters, values and percentages or just marks. Letter grades are based on the Monash default ranges, but may be customised in the Grades > Letters page. When scales have been selected the default will be the selected scale. Click on the help icon (help) for additional information about your choices.

Grade item settings

3. Save changes when complete.

Adjusting an individual grade item

Each grade item has settings that allow you to manage the appearance of marks and the marks themselves. 

  1. In Grades > Setup > Categories and items click on the select Edit settings from the item's Edit (Edit) link. Click on Show more. Click on the help icon (help) for additional information about each setting.

    Grade item settings
  2. Set the pass grade value or scale item in Grade to pass. This will show a pass grade as green and a fail as red.
    Note: If this has been set in the activity's Grade settings you will not be able to change it here but may edit it in the original settings.
  3. In Change display type select the preferred display as shown above.
  4. Save changes once you are happy with your choices. 

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Add a custom scale

Scales represent grades that are discrete points such as Not satisfactory, Satisfactory, Outstanding. There are many standard scales provided in Moodle including "numeric" and 5 star scales however you are able to create custom scales as needed, including single point scales. A single point scale could for example allow a marker to add a "Like" to forum posts, online assignment drafts or other formative activities.

It is important to understand that scales when converted into values for calculating unit totals are not simple numeric values. The conversion calculates the non-zero entries (in the cases above 3 and 1 respectively) and then allocates a value based on the aggregation method used. See Moodle docs Scales (opens in new window) for details more information.

  1. In  Grades, select the Scales menu tab. You can also click on Scales in the Grades administration block.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen then Click Add a new scale.


    Add a scale

  3. In the Name field, enter a name for the scale.
  4. In the Scale field, create your scale from negative to positive separating values with commas. Click the help icon (help) for useful information.

    Note: You can use as many options here as you require. You must order the comma separated elements in increasing order of value. For example, an A,B,C,D scale must be entered as D,C,B,A.
  5. In the Description field, enter a detailed description.
  6. Click Save changes.

Note: Your students can access the description and you can use it to give them additional feedback. The more information you put in the description, the more students will understand what each scale item means.
Note also that scales are not converted for inclusion in calculation of totals in categories using natural weighting aggregation.

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Use Grades to grade a Moodle activity

You can grade students from the activity grade page (e.g. grade the assignment) or directly in Grades.  To grade a Moodle activity using the Grades:

  • in the grader report tab, click Turn editing on. The interface will change to include mark and feedback boxes for each student as well as icons for editing, visibility and locking of each individual grade.

    Edit grades
  • Enter the grades into the box with the unbroken line under the column of the activity required. Note that you are also able to enter feedback  into the box with the dotted line.
  • Once done, click Update to save your changes.

Cells that are highlighted in yellow represent grades that are entered or edited in Grades.

When you edit or enter a grade directly in the Grades, an "overridden" flag is set, meaning that the grade can no longer be changed from the activity grade page. To remove this flag and enable editing of the grade from the activity grade page:

  1. Click Turn editing on in the grader report,
  2. Click the edit grade icon (tool update) for the grade you wish to change
  3. Uncheck the overridden box and
  4. Save the changes.

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 Export  grades

Grades may be exported in several forms. To export grades or an empty gradelist from your Moodle site to an Excel spreadsheet:

  1. In Grades open the Export menu tab and click on Collapse all to make the screen more manageable.
  2. Optionally select a group from the Visible groups if you have groups enabled in the unit.

    Grade export to Excel
  3. Open Export format options

    Grades export format options
        
  4. Select your preferences. Note that when multiple Grade display types are selected they are presented in a single cell making editing or calculations difficult.
  5. Open Grade items to be included. This may create a long list however jumping to Select all/None at the bottom of the list (CTRL+End) will make selection more manageable for none or a few items. Select your preferred items. 
  6. Click Download.
         

 Note:

  • You can also export the Grades through the Grade administration menu in the Administration block, by clicking on the arrow next to Export to view more options, and then selecting Excel spreadsheet.
  • If you have made any changes to the spreadsheet and wish to import it back into your Moodle site, first save the file in .csv format and then follow the steps below for importing a spreadsheet.
    Import an excel spreadsheet into your  Grades.
  • It is best practice to import a spreadsheet that has been derived from an export (see the section above, Export the Grades).

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Import grades from an Excel spreadsheet

You may import marks or marks and feedback from an Excel spreadsheet using either CSV file import or copy and paste from an Excel spreadsheet. The source spreadsheet should have a field that matches a unique identifier for each student: Student ID or email address, as well as the marks and optional feedback.

Import a CSV file

  1. Save the results to be imported in a comma delimited CSV format in Excel.
  2. Open Grades (in the unit main page Administration block, click on Grades) then click on the Import tab. Alternatively in the Grade administration section of the Administration block, drop down the Import menu to view more options, and select CSV file.

    Grade import menu
     
  3. Select the .csv file that contains the grades you wish to import, leave the Import file options as default. Check Force import if you want to overwrite any changes that may have been made to the Grade item since the last export of the results.
    Click Upload grades to progress to the mapping options.

    import csv

  4. In the Identify user by section, change Map from and Map to to a field that is unique to each student (email is recommended - the field name is useremail).
    Moodle exports the student ID in exported files in a different format to that stored in Moodle. If using an exported ID as the identifying field, convert it to numeric format before uploading, otherwise it doesn't match the Monash student ID. 

    gradebook identify user

  5. In the Grade item mappings  the column headers from the spreadsheet are listed on the left of the screen. Map the fields to be imported to the relevant grade items by selecting the relevant grade item from the drop down list e.g. Assignment: Offline Assignment to Assignment: Offline Assignment (whichever column's values you changed in the spreadsheet that you are importing).  Alternatively you can create a new Grade item with the same name as the column header.
    If you are importing feedback in the same step you can match both the results in the Grade items list and then the feedback in the Feedback list below this set.

    grade item mapping
     
  6. Click on Upload grades.

 

Note: The titles of these columns do not have to be identical. This process imports data from your spreadsheet according to how it is mapped.

 Copy and paste from Excel

  1. Save the results and optionally the feedback to be imported in adjacent columns of an Excel spreadsheet. Each column must have a header and the first column must be match a unique identifier (email address, student ID).
  2. Open Grades (in the unit main page Administration block, click on Grades) , click on the Import tab and select Paste from spreadsheet. Alternatively in the Grade administration section of the Administration block, drop down the Import menu to view more options, and select Paste from spreadsheet.
     
     
    Grade paste import
     
  3. Copy the data to be imported from the Excel spreadsheet, including the headers, and paste using CTRL+V into the Data window. Check Force import if you want to overwrite any changes that may have been made to the Grade item since the last export of the results.
    Click Upload grades to progress to the mapping options.
  4. In the Grade item mappings  the column headers from the spreadsheet data are listed on the left of the screen. Map the fields to be imported to the relevant grade items by selecting the relevant grade item from the drop down list e.g. Assignment: Offline Assignment to Assignment: Offline Assignment (whichever column's values you changed in the spreadsheet that you are importing).  Alternatively you can create a new Grade item with the same name as the column header.
    If you are importing feedback in the same step you can match both the results in the Grade items list and then the feedback in the Feedback list below this set.
  5. Click Upload grades.

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Aggregating and weighting grade items

Manage the contribution of each Grade item to the unit total by controlling weighting and aggregation in Categories and items. In this view of Grades you are able to create categories to collect related grade items and manage their weightings. For example, collect all items that contribute to the final grade separated from formative items. Aggregation methods provide different ways to control the contribution or weighting of each item to the total and are selected in Edit,  Edit settings options of a category.

Natural weighting aggregation

The new Natural weighting strategy uses the maximum grade set in each activity's settings as the initial weighting of the grade item in the unit. In a category or unit using natural weighting the total of the weightings must always total 100.  When one item is updated, the others are automatically adjusted.

Natural weighting is the default aggregation method in new Grades categories.

To adjust the weighting of items in a category with Natural weighting:

  1. Create a category and move related items into it (see Add, delete, move a category. In the category's Edit menu, select Edit settings. Under Grade category use the Aggregation drop down menu to select Natural. Save changes.

    Each item will have an initial weighting and its allocated mark displayed.

 Natural weighting

Check the box beside the weighting boxes and adjust the percentage weighting of selected items. The remaining values are automatically recalculated.

 Natural weighting adjusted

For more information see Introduction to Natural weighting. You are urged to read  Switching to Natural weighting before making changes to existing categories.

 Note: Click on the help icon (help) beside Aggregation to view a description of each strategy.

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Calculating totals in other aggregation methods

When using aggregation methods other than Natural, Moodle can perform very complex calculations to produce the totals for each category and for the whole course e.g. you want to take an average of 3 items from one category, double it then add it to the average of another category.

You can do this by using calculations. Clicking on the small calculator icon next to each total column will take you to the Edit calculation page where you can perform various calculations.

To choose how grades are aggregated for the totals within categories, open the Edit,  Edit settings menu for the category.

You can then choose to have means, medians, modes etc. You can also leave out empty grades and choose other settings (see http://docs.moodle.org/31/en/grade/calculation for detailed instructions on calculating grades).

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Add, delete, move a category

Using categories in Grades can assist in presenting information more logically (the layout can be more easily manipulated), as well as for calculating totals.
To add a grade category to the Grades:

  1. In Grades, Setup, select the  Categories and items tab. Scroll to the bottom of the screen.
         
  2. Click on Add category.  
     
    add category
     
  3. Set the properties of the grade category. For more options click Show more. When you have finished click Save changes.
     
    grade category settings
              

To delete a category in Grades:

  1. Click Edit.

  2. Click Delete.

  3. Click Yes if you are sure you want to delete the category or No if you don't want to delete the category.

Note: When a category is deleted any items within that category move to the parent category of the deleted category. You cannot delete the unit (default) category.

To move a category:

  1. To move a category click on the arrows on the left hand side of the category you wish to move.

  2.  This selects the item to be moved, which can then be placed in the desired spot by clicking on the appropriate rectangle.

Moving items between categories does not affect individual grades but will affect scores that are aggregated by categories.

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Views of grades

You have access to a range of views of the grades, grade items and students. The tabs for these options are available in the View menu.

Grades views

The Grader report

Grader report is the default view of Grades presenting a tabular view of all students and results. Sequencing and visibility of grade items is managed in Categories and items, however categories can be collapsed or shown in the Grader report header.

To change the appearance of the grader report:

The layout of the grader report can be changed by clicking on the icon next to the category title to collapse or expand categories.  There are three ways that categories can be displayed:

  • Grades only - without the category totals column
  • Collapsed - Category total column only
  • Full view - grades and the aggregates (the totals column for the category)

Clicking on the icon successively presents each type of view.

To sort columns:

Sort the Grader report by Student surname, first name or ID by clicking on the hyperlinked heading.

You can sort by any column. Click the [move arrows] symbol near the top of a column to sort by that column. This will change the symbol to a single down arrow. Clicking again will sort lowest-to-highest, changing the symbol to an up arrow. The arrows will toggle between these two states until you click on a different column.


Single view  

Use Single view to modify or view the marks and feedback of a single student or single grade item. This view is extremely useful for bulk filling grades.

Select a grade item or user to see all results. Navigate to the next grade item or user with the hyperlinks at the top.

Single view grade item

Bulk fill empty items for a student or grade item by checking Bulk insert

Bulk insert grades

Note: If you amend the grades via the Grader report tab, it will override the grades marked via the Grade link in the assignment area and the grade will be shaded as shown above. See Use Grades to grade a Moodle activity above.

Grade history

Allows you to view and download grades that have been changed. Select a user, a grade item and/or a Grader. Information includes:

  • Original grade
  • Revised grade
  • Grader making the change
  • Source of the change for example, activity grading, import or aggregation weighting changes.

Overview report

The Overview report presents results for a selected user in all other units that you have access to.

User report

See a report-card style view of all results and feedback for a single user organised by category.

Note: You may need to experiment with the My Preferences settings to find the most optimal gradebook layout for you.

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Related Information

 Moodle docs