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Letter Grades in Moodle

Moodle only supports inputting letter grades into manual grade items that have been set to the Letter grade type. However, it is also possible to enter numerical scores and set them to display as letter grades.

This page explains how to adjust the numerical values that correspond to the letters in your grading scale (A, B, C, etc.), how to add a letter grade column, and how to configure the Moodle gradebook to display letter grades for numeric columns.

Please note:

  • It is only possible to import letter grades from a spreadsheet (e.g., Excel) into an existing Letter grade column. You must create the Grade item before importing letter grades.
  • Numeric grades calculated outside Moodle will be converted to grade letters if imported into a grade item set to display letters.
  • There can only be one points-to-letter grade scheme in a Moodle course. Individual graded items cannot have different conversion schemes. Once a scheme is set, it will be used for all items set to display as letter grade.
  • If, at the end of the semester, you Import Grades from Moodle to SPIRE, the points-to-letter grade conversion set up in your course is used to convert the values in the Course Total column to a letter grade in SPIRE.

For more on how to manage grades in Moodle, see Configure the Gradebook in Moodle
For more on entering grades in Moodle, see Manually Edit Grades and Grade Overrides in Moodle.
To learn how to import grades to Moodle from a spreadsheet, see Import Student Data to the Moodle Gradebook.

Edit Grade Letter Boundaries

If you are entering numeric values, you can customize the numeric-to-letter conversion scheme in your course.  By default Moodle uses the standard grade boundaries for UMass Amherst:

Important: Once a Letter Grade item is added to a gradebook, you cannot adjust Grade Letter Boundaries (unless you delete all letter grade items). Be sure to set the grading scheme before adding any Letter Grade items. (See Edit Grade Letter Boundaries, above)

  1. On your main course page in the Administration block, click Grades. The gradebook will open to the Grader report.
  2. In the navigation tabs (at top), click Letters. The Grade letters page will open showing the values currently being used to convert scores to letter grades.
  3. Click Edit grade letters at the top of the scores summary. The Edit grade letters page will open.
  4. To edit the grade boundary values, check Override site defaults. The fields for Grade letters and Letter grade boundaries will unlock and become editable.
    Note: Letters A and F must correspond to maximum and minimum, respectively. 
  5. Enter new grade letters and/or boundary values as required.
    Note: Numerical values will be rounded to the second decimal place.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Save changes.

Display Letter Grades for Numerical Scores

Setting a numeric grade item to display a letter grade will not "lock" your Grade Letter Boundary scheme (as happens if you add a manual Letter grade item). However, since there is only one grading scheme allowed for the entire course, adjusting the scheme will affect the letter grades displayed for all grade items.

Note: Even if a numerical column is set to display letter grades, when editing is turned on in the Grader report, you must read and input numerical values.

To have numerical grade items and category totals display letter grades:

  1. On your main course page in the Administration block, click Grades. The gradebook will open to the Grader report.
  2. In the navigation tabs (at top), click Setup. The Categories and items page will open.
  3. Under the Actions column, in the row for a grade item or category title, click Edit. The Edit drop-down menu will open. From the Edit drop-down menu, click Edit settings (Edit Grade Item Icon). The Edit page for this item will open.
  4. Depending which item you selected, click the Grade item or Category total heading to expand the page.
  5. In the Grade display type drop-down menu, select Letter. (If you do not see this option, click Show more... .)
    Note: This setting allows up to two grade display types. For example, by selecting Letter (percentage), the grade will display as "B (85%)".
    grade display menu Moodle 2.8
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes. You will be returned to the Categories and items page. This will change how the grade displays on the User report and the Grader report when editing is turned off.

Add a Manual Letter Grade Item

When you add a graded Activity to a course (such as an assignment or quiz), Moodle automatically adds a column (grade item) to the gradebook for the activity. You can also create grade items not linked to Moodle activities by adding them manually on the Categories and items page of the gradebook, then set the grade item to allow you to enter or upload letter grades rather than numeric scores.

Note: You cannot edit grade letter boundaries while Letter grade items exist in your gradebook.

To add a grade item that lets you enter Letter grades:

  1. On your main course page in the Administration block, click Grades. The gradebook will open to the Grader report tab.
  2. In the navigation tabs (at top), click Setup. The Categories and items page will open.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add grade item. The New grade item page will open.
  4. In the Item name field, enter a name for the column. Try to use short names, and do not use special characters, commas, ampersands, or quotes.
  5. In the Grade type drop-down menu, select Letter. (If you do not see this option, click Show more... to view all options)
    Note: This option cannot be changed after this grade item is saved.
  6. The Max grade option will no longer be available. The maximum grade will always be A, min grade will always be F.
  7. When finished, click Save changes.

Use a Manual Letter Grade Item as the Course Total

If you have added a Letter grade column for the purpose of importing Course total grades you need to give the Course total column a formula to pull the grades from the Letter grade item into the Course total column:

  1. After adding your Letter grade item to the gradebook as described above, navigate to Categories and items and, in the row for Course total, click Edit. The Edit drop-down menu will open. From the Edit drop-down menu click Edit calculation (Calculation Icon Moodle 2.8). The Edit calculation page opens.
  2. Scroll down to ID numbers and locate the Letter grade column you wish to use for your course total.
  3. In the text entry box for your Letter grade item, provide an ID name or number, for example FinalLetterGrade.
  4. Click Add ID numbers. The ID will show on the page after your Letter grade item surrounded by double-brackets, for example, [[FinalLetterGrade]].
  5. Stay on the Edit Calculation page and scroll up to the top of the page. In the Calculation entry box enter the formula:  = [[ID Number]], for example, = [[FinalLetterGrade]].
  6. Click Save changes. You will be returned to the Categories and items page.
  7. Check to ensure that the grades from your Letter grade item are appearing in the Course total column.
  8. To display the Course total as a letter, see Grade Category Options in the Moodle Gradebook, and under Category Total Settings refer to Grade type.