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Create & Organize Items & Categories in the Moodle Gradebook

The Gradebook setup page in the Moodle gradebook (under Setup) is used to rearrange grade items, add columns and categories, and customize how students' grades are calculated. The page displays settings for all grade items in a single table.

Add a Column (Grade Item)

When you add any graded activity (such as an Assignment or Quiz) to a course, Moodle automatically adds a corresponding grade item (column) to the gradebook. You can also create grade items (columns) not linked to Moodle activities by adding them manually on the Gradebook setup page.

To manually add a grade item:

  1. On your course page, in the Administration block, click Gradebook Setup. The gradebook will open to the Gradebook setup page.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add grade item. The New grade item page will open.
  3. In the Item name field, enter a name for the column. Use short, alphanumeric names; do not use special characters, commas, ampersands, or quotes.
  4. In the Grade type field, select a type for the grade item.
    • Value: A numerical value with a maximum and minimum
    • Scale: Rate from a list of preset values (note: the numeric value corresponding to different scale tiers do not necessarily align intuitively). For more, see Standard & Custom Grading Scales in Moodle.
    • Text feedback only: Written feedback only; no numerical or aggregated value.
    • Letter: A letter value as defined by the instructor. See Letter Grades in Moodle.
  5. In the Maximum grade field, set the maximum point value for the grade item.
  6. (Optional) If you are using gradebook categories, you can select the category from the Parent Category dropdown menu.
  7. When finished, click Save changes.

To add data to this column manually, click Turn editing on in the Grader report (see Manually Edit Grades & Grade Overrides in Moodle), or import grades from a spreadsheet (see Import Student Data into Moodle).
Note: When importing from a spreadsheet, you can also choose to add spreadsheet columns as new grade items rather than mapping them onto existing items within the Moodle gradebook.

Add a Category

Grade categories are useful for grouping assignments together, calculating subtotals, and making special calculations such as dropping the lowest grades. 

  1. On your course page, in the Administration block, click Gradebook Setup. The gradebook will open to the Gradebook setup page.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add category. The New category page will open.
  3. Enter a Category name and select category options. (Click headings to open collapsed settings areas, and click Show more... to view and adjust additional settings under a heading.)
    Important options include:
    • Aggregation: The type of calculation for items in this category.
    • Exclude empty grades: (Selected by default) If checked, empty grades are not aggregated into grade calculations (i.e., Moodle assumes that the assignment has not yet been graded or assigned and therefore should not yet count against students). If unchecked, empty grades are calculated as "0."
    • Drop the lowest: Exclude a set number of grade items with the lowest value from being calculated in the category total.
    For a detailed description of category options, see Grade Category Options in the Moodle Gradebook.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.  The Categories and items page will open, displaying the new category.

Move Grade Items & Categories

To change the order of columns in the Grader report, move grade items into categories, or move categories:

  1. On your course page in the Administration block, click Gradebook Setup. The gradebook will open to the Gradebook setup page.
  2. At the left of the Grade item or Category you want to move, click Move (Move icon looks like up and down pointing arrows.). The word (Move) will appear next to the item to be moved, and dashed rectangles will appear in the possible locations where the item can be moved.
  3. Click any of the dashed rectangles to move the item to that location. The page will refresh showing the item in the new location.
    Screenshot of the move checkboxes (click to enlarge)
    • You can cancel your action at any time by clicking Cancel at the bottom of the page
    • If you move a category that contains items and/or sub-categories, all of its contents will also be moved to the new location.

Move Multiple Grade Items at Once

To move multiple grade items into a category at the same time:

  1. On your course page in the Administration block, click Gradebook Setup. The gradebook will open to the Gradebook setup page.
  2. In the navigation tabs (at top), click Setup. The Categories and items page will open.
  3. On the far right, under the Select column heading, select the checkbox for each grade item to be moved into a category.
    screenshot of checkboxes and drop down  (click to enlarge)
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and under Move selected items click Choose... to open the drop-down menu and select the name of a Category. The page will refresh with the items moved into the category.

Delete Grade Items & Categories

Grade items and categories that were created in the gradebook can be deleted from the Gradebook Setup page.

Note: Grade items associated with Moodle activities (such as an Assignment or Quiz) can only be deleted from the gradebook by deleting the activity from your main course page.

  1. On your course page in the Administration block, click Gradebook Setup. The gradebook will open to the Gradebook setup page.
  2. Choose a manually  grade item to delete.
  3. Under the Actions column for that item, click Edit and from the drop-down select  Delete icon, looks like an "X".Delete. The Delete confirmation page will open.
  4. On the Delete confirmation page, click Yes.
    Note: If you delete a category containing items, those items will not be deleted but will instead be moved into the parent category.