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If you are using Moodle , you are likely to be delivering some form of course content or providing resources to others. This could be for supporting learning, training, or other educational activity. Many online courses, qualifications, or educational resources have a final goal which is likely to include required elements to be completed. The gradebook can be a valuable tool to help the teacher to manage the online course and track the progress of the student through the required elements. This article by Rebecca Barrington, author of Moodle Gradebook will introduce you to the gradebook and the key features it offers. It will outline the benefits of using the gradebook, the activities that can be graded and used within the gradebook, and the types of grades that can be used.
Getting to the gradebook
All courses in Moodle have a grades area, also known as the gradebook . A number of activities within Moodle can be graded and these grades will automatically be captured and shown in the gradebook.
To get to the gradebook, view the Settings block on the course and then click on Grades.
The following screenshot shows an example of the teachers' view of a simple gradebook with a number of different graded activities within it. Let's take a quick tour of what we can see!
The top row of the screenshot shows the column headings which are each of the assessed activities within the Moodle course. These automatically appear in the grades area. In this case, the assessed activities are:
- Initial assessment
- U1: Task 1
- U1: Task 1
- U1: Task 2
- U2: Test
- On the left of the screenshot, you can see the students' names. Essentially, the name is the start of a row of information about the student. If we start with Emilie H, we can see that she received a score of 100.00 for her Initial assessment.
- Looking at Bayley W, we can see that his work for U1: Task 2 received a Distinction grade.
Using the gradebook, we can see all the assessments and grades linked to each student from one screen. Users with teacher, non-editing teacher, or manager roles will be able to see the grades for all students on the course. Students will only be able to see their own grades and feedback. The advantage of storing the grades within Moodle is that information can be easily shared between all teachers on the online course. Traditionally, if a course manager wanted to know how students were progressing they would need to contact the course teacher(s) to gather this information. Now, they can log in to Moodle and view the live data (as long as they have teacher or manager rights to the course). There are also benefits to students as they will see all their progress in one place and can start to manage their own learning by reviewing their progress to date as shown in the following example student view:
This is Bayley W's grade report. Bayley can see each assessment on the left-hand side with his grade next to it. By default, the student grades report also shows the range of grades possible for the assessment (for example, the highest and lowest scores possible), but this can be switched off by the teacher in the Grades course settings. It also shows the equivalent percentage as well as the written feedback given by the teacher.
Activities that work with the gradebook
There are a number of Moodle activities that can be graded and, therefore, work with the gradebook. The main ones are the following:
- Assignments: Four different core assignment types can be used to meet a range of needs within courses:
- Advanced uploading of files
- Online text
- Upload a single file
- Offline activity (The offline assignment is particularly useful for practical qualifications or presentations where the assessment is not submitted and is assessed offline by the teacher. The offline activity allows the detail of the assessment to be provided to students in Moodle, and the grade and feedback to be stored in the gradebook, even though no work has been electronically submitted.)
- SCORM package
Encouraging the use of the gradebook
The offline activity is often a good way to start using the gradebook to record progress, as the assessment can take place in the normal way, but the grades can be recorded centrally to benefit teachers and students. Once confident with using the gradebook, teachers can then review assessment processes to use other assignment types
It is also possible to manually set up a "graded item" within the gradebook that is not linked with an activity, but allows a grade to be recorded.
Key features of the gradebook
The gradebook primarily shows the grade or score for each graded activity within the online course. This grade could be shown in a number of ways:
- Numeric grade: A numerical grade between 1 and 100. This is already set up and ready to use within all Moodle courses.
- Scale: A customized grading profile that can be letters, words, statements, or numbers (such as Pass , Merit, and Distinction).
- Letter grade: A grading profile that can be linked to percentages (such as 100 percent = A)
With lots of activities that use grades within a course, the gradebook can be a lot of data on one page. Categories can be created for group activities and the gradebook view can be customized according to the user to see all or some categories on the screen. Think about a course that has 15 units and each unit has three assessments within it. The gradebook will have 45 columns of grades – which is a lot of data! We can organize this information into categories to make it easier to use.
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This article has given you a brief overview of the gradebook, what it will show, how it can be used, and which activities feed into the grades area.
About the Author :
Rebecca Barrington has been using Moodle for over seven years whilst working at South Devon College. She provides a range of support, training and information guides for teaching staff and uses Moodle in her own teaching, including a qualification about virtual learning environments. Rebecca has a keen interest in using technologies to support learning and is continually developing new ways of using Moodle and applying these to online courses for use with students.
South Devon College has a well-known reputation for its use of technology and Rebecca also travelled around the country to deliver training and advice on using Moodle to other organizations as well as at regional and national events. She is also a regular contributor to online VLE forums to share ideas and advice. Rebecca can be found online via Twitter @bbarrington
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