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Gradebook setup

If you are starting to record points in Moodle, think about what and how you will assess students in the semester. Write down how much homework you want students to do, how many tests they will take, whether they will work on a semester project, and so on. Also, think about whether and how you will categorize related items. Finally, write down the maximum number of points students can earn for each item and category. For simplicity, it is good if the total points that can be reached in the semester are equal to 100, but this is not a requirement.

The link to the grades module is in the left side menu of the course page (1.).

Here in the top menu go to ** Gradebook setup** (2.).


You will then see a list of all items included in the assessment. By default, each course has just one category. Its name is the same as the course name, the total number of points is 100, and the aggregation type is ‘simple weighted mean of grades’. The setting of this root category determines how the entire grading sheet will behave. You can make changes in the settings, select Edit –> Edit category on the first line .

Gradebook setup
Gradebook setup

1. Edit settings

Edit category
Edit category

The summary grade setting specifies how the final grade is calculated. There are several options, but the most commonly used is a ‘simple weighted mean of grades’ (i.e., a weighted average, where the weight is the maximum points) and ’natural’ (a simple sum of all points). The natural aggregation has the advantage of being very easy to read. However, you can quickly surpass the ‘standard’ hundred-point maximum for the course. Next to the drop-down menu is a help under the ‘question mark’ where the differences are explained in more detail.

In addition, it is useful to think about how the “empty” grades for each assessment item should behave.

This inconspicuous checkbox can significantly affect the calculation of the final grade.

  • Checked checkbox (default option): Empty grades are not included in the calculation like they do not exist.

  • Unchecked checkbox: Empty grades are included in the calculation.

2. Add grade item

There are two ways of adding a new item to the assessment.

  • Add a new activity to the course (assignment, test, etc.). Then an item will be automatically created in the grading module. The default number of points for each activity is 100. You can change it in the ‘grades’ setting for the task.
    If you want to change the maximum points for a task, you need to consider whether or not to recalculate the points already awarded. Changing the type of grade is then not possible at all.
  • Click on the ‘Add grade item’ button at the top of the ‘Gradebook setup’ page. This way, you can record the offline activity/test grade in the Moodle grading system. Typically, for example, a credit test or an exam.

3. Add category

Categories come in useful for grouping related items and calculating intermediate results. You can calculate and display a simple aggregation of points of items in a category (sum, average). Alternatively, you can use a category for more complicated calculations, such as selecting the n best scores.

Adding a new category is as simple as adding a grading item. Click the Add Category button at the top of the Gradebook setup page. The only required field is the name of the category. Then your new category has the same settings as the root category for the entire course. You can choose how grades are aggregated, how blank grades should behave, the grade type (points, scale, text), etc. It is also important to select ‘Highest grade’ - the highest number of points earned within the category.

4. Move selected items

After saving and recalculating the grades, the next step is to add the items to the newly created category. If you are making a new activity or assessment item, you can select in the settings which category to place it in. If you want to move an item into a category, click on the arrow icon in the item’s row. The activity being moved has Move written next to it.

Another option is checking the checkbox next to the activity or activities on the page Gradebook setup and selecting where the activities should be moved to in the drop-down menu Move selected items to.