Whenever a gradeable activity is added to a Moodle course then a grade item is created in the Grade book. Grade items can be added manually for assessed activities out with Moodle, and is a secure way of releasing grades to students rather than by email. Activities that create grade items include,
- Assignments and Turnitin Assignments
- Quizzes and Workbooks
- Workshops and Lessons
- Forums & Glossaries where ratings are used
- WebEx, WebPA and SCORM package
View this short video for an overview of Moodle Grades, structuring and releasing grades, and exporting grades for SITS.
Each grade item is available in the student’s User Report (unless it’s hidden), and when activities are graded then their values are populated accordingly. Moodle assumes that all grade items are equal and calculates the Course total accordingly, but this can be confusing for students. Organising grade items into categories makes it easier for you to calculate weighted assessment totals and makes Grades easier for students to understand. Examples of organised grade books are provided in these two posts,
- Summative and formative activities in your Gradebook
- Global Online Progress Tests and Final Assessment.
You can create grade items for assessed activities that take place outwith Moodle, eg. a poster presentation or performing a physical process. This provides a way of manually entering marks for each student who can then view them in their user report. Manual grade items can be scored as point values, the PG scale or any custom scale you choose to create.
Grades can also be imported from a spreadsheet by firstly creating the grade item manually, and then uploading from the spreadsheet of marks in the CSV file format. The formatting of the spreadsheet has to be exact for the import to work and so it’s best to export the grade book as an Excel file and enter the grades in the appropriate column. Care should be taken to ensure that user and grade item mapping is done correctly, and if in doubt please contact a Learning Technology Advisor.
Releasing grades to students
Before you release grades to students you should spot-check a few student’s user reports. This is the one area in Moodle where you can see the exact view of individual student’s grades (rather than Switch role to… which is only a generalised student view).
For summative Moodle assignments and Turnitin assignments you may wish to release all grades at the same time, and there is also the need to build in time for moderation or to ensure students with late submissions cannot benefit from feedback you have provided to others. The University has a three week window for returning grades and feedback, and the relevant assignment settings are covered in the eSubmission Guidelines.
With formative Quizzes one of the major benefits is the instancy of results but you may want to build in a delay to the release of summative grades and feedback so that any special arrangements can be met or moderation based on question analysis. One way to release the grades is based on the Close Date of the quiz and selecting ‘After the quiz is closed’ as the Review Options. This is shown in the example quiz settings where we have made sure that marks and feedback is only available after the quiz is closed.
Once all grading has been completed you can export all the marks and email the spreadsheet to your programme administrator. The University is looking to add a ‘Spreadsheet for SITS’ option that will allow you to map grade items to assessment components, and download a spreadsheet in the format required by your programme administrator. A mockup is shown in this video (contact Stephen Bruce for more details) which also includes a quick overview of exporting grades.