Category Archives: Gradebook

Using letters and scales in the Moodle gradebook

Following on from our first post about using the gradebook in Moodle 2, I’m going to look here at two ways of awarding students non-numerical grades: using letters and using scales. There are default letter grades and scales available across the University’s Moodle site, but you can also customise them.

Using Letters

If your department prefers to award letter grades to students until work has been second marked, you can use the letter grade scale in Moodle. The teacher awards a numerical grade when grading the work, which is then converted by Moodle into a percentage, and shown as the relevant grade letter in the gradebook.

Letter gradesThere is an existing letter grade scale, which is set as default for the whole of the University’s Moodle site (and is different to the default Moodle setting). To see this, go to Settings > Course administration > Grades. Then, from the dropdown menu on the top left, select Letters > View. So, if a student is given 70% or above, they would see an ‘A’ grade; if they get less then 40% they will see the word ‘Refer’.

If you wish to make changes to any of the grade letters on your course, click on the Edit grade letters link. Click into the tickbox next to Override site defaults to make the editing options available, and edit the grade letters and/or the boundaries as appropriate.

For students to see letter grades in the gradebook, you need to edit the graded item. So, from the dropdown menu on the top left, under Categories and items, select Simple view. Then click on the ‘edit’ icon next to the relevant grade item and under the Actions column:

Simple view

Grade itemOn the Grade Item screen, you may need to click on Show Advanced to see all of the options.

Next to Grade display type, select Letter from the dropdown menu. This would show the student the relevant letter grade in relation to the percentages set on the letter grade scale. Alternatively, you could choose Letter (percentage), which would show students the letter grade and the percentage in brackets, or Letter (real) which would show them the letter grade and the actual grade in brackets).

Using Scales

Another non-numeric way of evaluating a student’s performance is to use a scale, which would give the student a word or a small phrase as the feedback. When marking work, the tutor sees the scale options in a drop-down list, and can choose the grade to be awarded.

To see the scales available on your course, go to the gradebook and from the dropdown menu, select Scales > View. You will see the Standard scales which are set up as default for the whole Moodle site. The standard scale you are most likely to use is probably Pass/Refer (Fail, Refer, Pass, Merit, Distinction).

However, you can also create your own custom scale; click on Add a new scale. Give your scale a Name and in the Scale box, create the scale by listing the words/phrases, from negative to positive, and separated by commas. You can then use the Description field to help the students understand what their awarded scale means.

seminar participation

Save changes. You can edit or delete your new scale until you start to use it for an activity on the course, when the editing icons will disappear.

To make use of a standard or custom scale, when you create a graded activity (e.g. an assignment) you would choose the relevant Scale: option from the Grade dropdown box (where you will see both the standard scales for the whole site and any custom scales you have created for the course).

If you are adding a grade item to the gradebook (for example, for work completed outside of Moodle such as a presentation, or seminar participation), then you would choose Scale for Grade type, and then choose the relevant scale from the Scale dropdown menu.


Accessing the Moodle Gradebook, adding grade items and hiding grades

It’s that time of year when tutors and students are thinking about grades and feedback on graded activities such as quizzes and assignments. This week we’ve been looking at the gradebook on a Moodle course (find this via Settings > Course administration > grades), which is where the grades are stored and managed, and in this post we’ll look at accessing the Grader report, adding grade items, and hiding grades from students.

Grader report

By default, you will see the Grader report; you can use it to view and change grades (Turn editing on on the top right to make changes), as spaces are automatically generated when you add an assessed activity in a Moodle course.

Grader report

If you click on the student’s name it will take you to their profile, clicking on the name of an activity takes you to that activity, and if there is a magnifying glass icon next to the student’s grade, then clicking on it will take you to the student’s attempt for that activity.

Add a grade item

You can also add a grade item, as a way of giving a grade and some feedback for activities which have been completed outside of Moodle, for example an exam or a presentation. To add a grade item, choose Simple or Full view from under Categories and items on the dropdown menu on the top left, and use the Add grade item button. To enter the marks for a grade item you have created, go back to the Grader report and Turn editing on.

Hide grades from students

A question we’ve been asked a lot by tutors is how to hide grades from students. In Moodle, when you leave a grade and feedback for a students on an assignment, for example, the student receives an email to let them know. If you want to make sure that all students receive the grades at the same time, you might want to hide them until a specific date. To do this, choose Simple view from the dropdown menu. You can then either hide the grades for a particular assessment by using the eye icon next to it on in the Actions column; you would then have to remember to ‘unhide’ the item using the closed eye icon. Alternatively, to hide the grades until specific date and time, click on the Edit icon. gradeitemedit

Click on Show Advanced on the top right to display all of the options on the page. Enable Hidden until and choose the appropriate date and time before saving your changes.

By the way, for Turnitin assignments, you don’t need to do this. Just make sure you set the appropriate Post Date when you are setting up or updating the assignment.

In our next post we’ll look at using letters, scales and categories, and exporting grades.