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Moodle Gradebook: How to Streamline Grading and Course Totals

By February 26, 2018 No Comments

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.

How to Ensure Matching Course Totals Between Students and Instructors

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.

hidden grades moodle

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.

hidden grades moodle review options

With these steps, you avoid any confusion by ensuring that teachers and students see the same course totals in the Moodle gradebook.

Moodle Gradebook Single View

The Single View of the Moodle Gradebook is another useful tool for looking at grades by student or grade item. Introduced back in version 2.8 of Moodle, this feature is a hidden gem of the Gradebook that many teachers often overlook.

That said, we wanted to highlight this feature as it can make adjusting grades much easier for teachers and administrators by providing an area to quickly enter grades and feedback, exclude or override grades, and enter grades in bulk. (If you would like to watch a video overview of the features explored in this post, scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Getting to Single View in the Moodle Gradebook

If you click on the edit/pencil icon next to a student name (shown below), it will take you to the Single View for all grades belonging to that student.

Edit, Override, or Exclude Grades

The Single View looks similar to the User Report, except here you have the ability to edit, override, or exclude grades.

If you click on the edit/pencil icon next to the name of a grade item in the column heading, it will bring you to the Single View for all grades belonging to that activity.

In the case of an assignment, quiz, forum, or any activity where the grades automatically push to the Gradebook, any edits applied here will be considered overrides. You must select the checkbox in the override column in order to update the grade or comments.

Note: Remember that overrides applied in the Gradebook will prevent you from editing grades and/or feedback within the assignment grading interface.

Bulk Insert Grades

The Single View in Gradebook also provides the ability to bulk insert grades, which can be very helpful for entering zeros for all the students who did not submit an assignment, receive a forum post rating, or attempt a quiz. Since the Gradebook does not aggregate empty grades by default, entering zeros ensures the course total accurately reflects the impact of missing work.

This feature can be found at the very bottom of the Single View page for a grade item, shown below.

Note: Zeros entered in bulk are considered overrides too. Therefore, if the student completes the activity later on, you will need to remove the zero you manually entered via the Single View page.

Video Overview

Because the Single View within the Gradebook allows you to easily modify or exclude grades, it is a feature we recommend you explore. Despite being occasionally overlooked, this Gradebook tool is one that can save teachers time and effort and help to streamline Gradebook use within Moodle.

Happy Grading!

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