This page tells you how to add grade categories and grade items in the Moodle Gradebook, as well as how to add weightings to categories, add new scales, change the value of letter grades and create a Gradebook "outcome".
A grade item is a container for a mark awarded for a student's performance in an assessable activity. Grade items are automatically created when you create an assessable activity in Moodle, but you can also create new grade items in the Moodle Gradebook for activities conducted offline.
Grade items can be organised into grade categories (e.g. Quizzes, Exams, Assignments). Grade categories have a hierarchical structure; categories can be nested inside categories in the same way as folders are nested within other folders on a hard drive.
For every grade category, an aggregated (total) grade is calculated from the grade items. You can specify how the grade items within each category will be aggregated—for example, whether grade items will all have the same weight or whether each will be weighted differently.
When to use
It is good practice to set up the Gradebook categories the way you want them at the beginning of the semester. If grade categories have already been set up, you will be able to specify, whenever you create a new assessable activity, which grade category you want the associated grade item to belong to.
Creating grade categories early clarifies in your own mind how the different assessment activities will be weighted in your students' final mark, and makes students' progress easy to monitor.
Once the course starts, as the students complete each assessable activity and you continue to add grade items, your Gradebook will grow. It's important to have it laid out clearly, in logical categories, so that you can interpret and add to it efficiently.
Organising grade items into categories is also vital if you are going to be using the Gradebook to aggregate your students’ final course grades.
Before you begin adding categories and items to the Gradebook, compile a list of:
- the major types of activities that will contribute to your students' final marks (laboratories, presentations, quizzes etc.)
- the gradable activities (online and offline) for each activity type.
This will give you an idea of the basic structure that would be ideal for your course's Gradebook—which activities should be listed together and how they contribute to aggregate marks.
Step by step instructions
- Add a new category
- Assign weightings to grade items and categories
- Add a new grade item
- Add a category with activity score not included in total
- Enable quick grading and/or quick feedback
- Mark a manual grade item
- Move items between categories
- Add a new scale
- Change the value of letter grades and link a grade to them
- Create an outcome
Categories are useful for ordering the Gradebook for a course containing numerous assessable items. You can display Gradebook details for a single category, and you can give each category a weighting, depending on its importance to the overall assessment.
Placing grade items in categories:
- makes grading easier
- allows you to obtain category totals (e.g. totals for all quizzes, assignments or group work) automatically
- makes it possible for you to assign a weighting to those categories.
To add a new category:
- Click Turn editing on.
- To access the Grader report, open any course page, and in the Settings block, under Course administration, select Grades.
- Select the Setup tab in the top row and the Gradebook setup tab in the bottom row of tabs if they are not already selected.
- At the bottom of the page, click Add category.
- On the Grade category page, click Show more to make all the page sections visible, then:
- Enter a Category name.
- Complete the Aggregation specifications, using the Help button to help you make your choices. These fields determine how the category total will be calculated.
- Under Category total, click Show more at the bottom of the page section, then:
- Enter a Category total name (e.g. "Quiz total")if you are likely to put several assessments into the category\
- Enter Item info and an ID number if necessary. (See the Moodle Docs Grade calculations page for more help with ID numbers.
Complete the Grade type and associated fields as appropriate, clicking the Help button for assistance if you need it.
Select the Grade display type and Overall decimal points, if you are not using the defaults for those fields.
- Select whether to hide or lock the grades, adding a release date if necessary. (Hiding a grade keeps it invisible to students, and prevents it being counted in calculations.)
- If necessary, select a Parent category and weighting.
- Click Save changes.
Click the following link to view a video about using grade weightings in the Moodle Gradebook.
To calculate course totals:
- In the Gradebook setup, Click Edit settings beside the main course category
- Click on the Aggregation dropdown.
For an explanation of the available aggregation types, click the Help button next to the Aggregation column heading. Weighted mean of grades, Simple weighted mean of grades and Sum of Grades are the most commonly used methods of aggregating marks for a course. If you want to use:
- Weighted mean of grades, continue to the next step.
- Simple weighted mean of grades or Sum of Grades, go to step 3.
- Select Weighted mean of grades, then in the Weight column enter each category's weighting in relation to the final course grade. Note: 30.00 = 30%. Make sure the weightings add up to 100%.
- Select Simple weighted mean of grades or Sum of Grades, then in the Max. grade column enter the maximum mark each category can earn. Make sure the Course total is a figure you can work with.
To calculate category totals:
- In the Gradebook setup, Click Edit settings beside a course category
- Click on the Aggregation dropdown. Select the aggregation type appropriate to that category. For an explanation of the available aggregation types, click the Help button beside to the Aggregation dropdown.
- Complete the fields in the Weight or Max. grade columns, within each category, as you did for course totals in steps 2 or 3.
- When you have assigned all the weightings, click Save changes.
Sometimes you need to manually add a grade item to the Gradebook. A grade item is an assessable activity generally conducted offline, for which you want the mark included in a student’s Moodle grades.
To add a new grade item:
- In the Gradebook, select Simple view.
- On the Simple view page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add grade item.
- On the Grade item page:
- Click Expand all if necessary to make all the available page sections visible.
- At the bottom of the Grade item section, click Show more to make all the available fields visible.
- Enter an Item name.
- Add Item info about the grade item. This information will not display anywhere else.
- Set an ID number so that you can identify the activity when it is included with others in a custom mark calculation. If you're not defining custom calculations methods, you can leave this field blank. (See the Moodle Docs Grade calculations page for more help with ID numbers.)
- Select the Grade type. Your choices are None, Value (a numerical value with a maximum and minimum), Scale (an item in a list) or Text (feedback only). Only Value and Scale may be aggregated.
- If you selected Value or Scale, complete the Scale, Maximum grade, Minimum grade and Grade to pass fields as appropriate.
- Select the Grade display type (Real (actual grades), Percentage and/or Letter grades can be shown).
- If you selected Real or Percentage, select the Overall decimal points you want displayed.
- Select whether you want the marks Hidden from students. If necessary, at Hidden until, click Enable and add a release date.
- Select whether you want the marks Locked so that they cannot be updated by the related activity. If necessary, at Lock after click Enable and add an locking date.
- Under Parent category, to include this item in an existing Grade category, select the category from the drop-down list. (You can change this later if you need to.)
- Click Save changes.
Sometimes instructors might need activity scores to be displayed within the Gradebook but not included in the course total.
This can be achieved by creating a new customised category within the grade book.
Steps to create this category,
- Within the Gradebook setup page, create a category with default setttings.
- In the Category total section set the Maximum grade to 0.
- Add the assessment which do not need to be included in the total into this Category.
All activities within this Category will be worth 0% and not added to the final score.
With quick grading and quick feedback, the Grader report displays with editable boxes for each grade, so you can enter or change many at once. This can save you a lot of time when marking, but it's important to remember to save regularly while you quick-mark. By default, quick grading is enabled and quick feedback is not.
To enable quick grading and/or quick feedback:
- In the Grader report, in the Settings block, select Grade administration > My report preferences > Grader report.
- On the Grader report preferences page, below General, in the Quick grading and Show quick feedback drop-down lists, select Yes.
- Click Save changes.
These instructions are for marking manual grade items if quick grading/feedback has not been enabled.
To add marks to the Gradebook for a manual grade item:
- In the Gradebook Grader report, click Turn editing on at the upper right of the page.
- To add a mark, click within the relevant cell and enter the student's grade.
- Click the Edit grade icon to add feedback.
- On the Edit grade page, you can amend the Final grade, Exclude this mark from aggregations, Hide or Lock it, and add Feedback. When you have made your changes, click Save changes to return to the Grader report.
- As you grade in the Grader report, regularly click the Update button at the bottom of the page, to save your changes.
If you need to override existing grades, take note of these override tips.
Moving items and categories does not affect individual assignment grades, but it does affect aggregations. Follow these instructions to move items from one category to another.
Add a new scale
A scale is an ordered list of marks or text values, ranging from negative to positive (e.g. "Sub-standard, Less than satisfactory, Satisfactory, Good, Very good, Excellent!”), that can be used as a marking strategy for an assessment task.
To add a new scale:
- In the Gradebook, in the Settings block, under Grade administration, click Scales.
- On the View page, click Add a new scale.
- On the Add a scale page, enter a Name for the scale.
- Enter the Scale terms, from most negative to most positive, each term separated from the next by a comma.
- If you need to, add more text in the Description text editor.
- Click Save changes. The scale displays in the View page under Custom scales, where you can edit or delete it. It also displays as a grading option when you configure an activity.
Change the value of letter grades, and link a grade to them
To change the value of letter grades:
- In the Gradebook, in the Settings block, under Grade administration, click Letters.
- On the Grade letters page, click Edit grade letters.
- On the Edit grade letters page, if this is the first time these letters have been edited, click Override site defaults.
- Change the letters in the Grade letter fields and the percentages in the Letter grade boundary fields as necessary.
- Click Save changes.
To link a grade item to the changed letter grades:
- In the Gradebook, select Categories and Items > Simple view.
- On the Edit categories and items page, click the Edit icon for the appropriate grade item.
- On the grade item's editing page, in the Grade item section, click Show more. When further fields display, at Grade display type, select Letter or the desired combination of letters, percentages and numerical values.
- Click Save changes.
Create an outcome
To create an outcome (competency or goal) for a course or activity:
- In the Gradebook, in the Settings block, under Grade administration, click Outcomes.
- On the Outcomes page, click Edit outcomes.
- On the Edit outcomes page, click Add a new outcome.
- On the Add an outcome page, enter a Full name and a Short name for the outcome, and select or create a Scale to be associated with it. Add any necessary Description, and click Save changes.
- The Custom outcomes page displays, where you can edit or delete individual outcomes, or export all outcomes for use in another course.
N.B. Moodle will produce a warning message if you attempt to leave Gradebook with unsaved changes.
Click here to view a video about using grade weightings in the Moodle Gradebook.
If you experience technical or other issues, consult the Where to get help page.