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WELCOME > Workshops > MTMoot 2013 > Demystify Grades

Demystify Grades

TO see two examples of the gradebook (with categories and weighting, and without), self enroll in these two courses:

THis should put you in as a non-editing teacher (email me if you want to be editing- i didn't want anyone mucking with the settings, as they are tricky sometimes). 

(hoping to have this all setup by end of moot)

Things participants brought up:

gradebook needs:
flexibility - add and remove, update
linking to standards
admin: user friendly
tracking extra
easy student understanding
easy faculty understanding
total points to date
percentage to date
difference of sum and weighting
Make letter grades correspond to #'s (rounding)
override automatic generation
deal with bad quiz question
point value over 100
custom grade scale
mix numeric with non-numeric

NOTE: the gradebook is evolving - hopefully to make it simpler. There may be variations between versions not specifically addressed here. Check and test and confirm as you go. 

This is a very difficult thing to demo without actual data- you may not even have much of a feel for it until you are a couple weeks into your course- check and tweak as needed. Ask your bright students to check their numbers.

Here are the basics:
The gradebook is wayyyy too complicated. Unless you REALLY have some good reason, you can ignore a lot of the settings.

Here's what I want for my gradebook:

  1. I want students to know what is worth what, and how they are doing. 
  2. I want to be able to easily view and advise based on this information, and 
  3. I want to be able to easily see how the whole class is doing.
More specifically we'd like to get the gradebook:
  • showing students (and instructors) their letter grade, percentage, and total points
  • having categories and weighting them
  • using extra credit
  • showing students the points possible for each assignment 

  1. Create a top-level category (called "Totals" or something like it) - everything goes in this, so you have the default, and inside that a category for everything.
  2. Make the default a mean - show letter and mean
  3. Make the top-level category a sum - show sum and mean - The two means (from the default and top-level categories) should match.
  4. You should now be showing Letters, averages, and points.
  5. Then make your sub-categories (i.e. exams, participation, homework).
  6. Weight these, and use sums for each.
  7. Put activities into their respective categories.
  8. If it's invisible/not used, make it extra credit. 
  9. Avoid complication (i.e. releasing over time, counting/not counting/show hidden).
  10. Note that there are settings for what  YOU see as a teacher and what the STUDENT sees - try and make these match. 
  11. Move totals/aggregates to front (check both).
  12. Minimize decimals. One might be ok. No point in showing 10.00 when 10 will do
  13. Percentages can be helpful, but look cluttered. 
  14. Ranks too...
Resist the urge to export to excel, or do some funky/fancy formulas. Ask if they are really necessary, or help you, or help the student. There's a good chance straight points will work fine.

If you see "mean", "simple weighted mean" and "weighted mean" which one do you think is SIMPLER?

Some Gotchas

- extra credit doesn't carry over gracefully from one category to another (so if you get 110% in one category, the extra 10% won't carry into a category where you got, say, 80%). If you want the extra credit applied in that category, move the activity there.

There is no easy way to show extra credit - i put an (x) after the name of the activity to let students know.

Check your numbers early and often. If they are too complicated to eyeball, perhaps they are too complicated.

Original session description:
Demystifing the Moodle Gradebook with four S's, some simple steps to simplicity
Let's face it- the Moodle gradebook is the most powerful on the market, yet borders on incomprehensible for mere mortals. What's the difference between weighted and simple weighted means, and what's with the show until option, and how 'bout conflicting settings for where the totals show? In this short, to-the-point session the presenter will illustrate how he sets up his gradebook to accomplish these basic goals: 
-showing students (and instructors) their letter grade, percentage, and total points
-having categories and weighting them
-using extra credit
-showing students the points possible for each assignment In addition, we'll discuss the ups-and-downs of some of the other settings, and you'll get a "cheatsheet" for the basics covered in this session. 
D.I. von Briesen