Have you ever had a student complain that the score they see is not what the instructor gave them? Or to be more precise, the course total the teacher sees in the Moodle gradebook is different than the course total the student sees? This is a common issue that can cause some confusion when final grades roll around.
The Moodle gradebook is very customizable and allows the instructor to set how it displays to students. However, most instructors might not know that they have this ability and assume that what they see is what the student sees.
By default, the Moodle gradebook is set up so students do not see the grades of hidden activities and their scores do not contribute towards the course total they see, whereas the course total the teacher sees includes the grades from the hidden activities. This allows the instructor to hide activities and work on the gradebook setup.
From the student view, they will see the assignments that are visible and if they were to calculate the scores manually they would match the course total they see. If the hidden grades were contributing to the student’s total grade they would be very confused as to why their manual calculation does not match their course total.
Since Moodle 3.2, instructors can now see how the gradebook looks to the students by going to the user report page and selecting view as student “user” as opposed to view as “myself.”
The default setting that causes this difference in course totals is located on the course grade settings page under “user report settings.” The very last option on the page is “hide totals if they contain hidden items” and its default is typically set to (show totals excluding hidden items). This means students will see their course total if activities are hidden but that total will only calculate the items visible to them.
To fix this issue so students see the same course total as the teacher you should make sure all your activities are visible to students. If an activity is hidden because you don’t want it contributing towards the course total it is important to set them to 0 points. You can do this by changing their max score or adjusting their weight to 0. However, to keep your gradebook clean and simple I recommend deleting the activity or moving it to its own category.
On a related note, it’s also common that an instructor will have quizzes that are not visible to the students. Most activity and grade item visibility can be controlled from the gradebook setup page. However, quiz visibility is controlled from the “review options” section inside the quiz setup page.
To view this, open the quiz as if you were going to attempt it. Then click on button to edit quiz settings. Next scroll down to the review options section and make sure “points” is checked under the “after the quiz is closed” column. If the quiz has no close date make sure you also check “points” under “Later, while the quiz is still open.” This will then make the quiz score visible to students.
With these steps, you avoid any confusion by ensuring that teachers and students see the same course totals in the Moodle gradebook.