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Moodle 2.8 Gradebook Changes

On June 30, 2015, UMass Amherst upgraded to Moodle 2.8. This upgrade added many Moodle gradebook features that were requested by faculty, and includes changes to a few specific grade calculation methods along with more general improvements to the gradebook.

Moodle 2.8 Gradebook Calculation Changes

If you used these gradebook features, please carefully review gradebooks in courses imported from previous semesters.

Patched the “Maximum Grade Setting” Bug

If an instructor changed the “maximum grade” for an item (e.g. from 100 to 10) grades that had already been entered in the column would not adjust (e.g. a 10 would remain 10% of 100) while grades entered after the change would be correct (e.g. 10 would be 100% of 10).

Moodle 2.8 now works as instructors expect. A grade of 10 given when the Maximum Grade Setting is 100, becomes 100% when the setting is changed to a 10.

Removed “Curve-to” Fix (No Longer Needed)

Curve To was a fix (introduced by LSU) that allowed instructors to create manual grade items that allowed for more than 100 points. It also helped adjust grades affected by a previous bug involving the Max Grade setting.  

Moodle 2.8 now allows for grades over 100 points and the Max Grade setting has been fixed. Other uses for “Curve-to” can be implemented using a formula.

Adjusted the Drop the Lowest Grade(s) Setting (Makes More Sense)

When using natural weighting, instructors were able to “drop the lowest” in circumstances when it did not make sense mathematically. It also dropped grades based on number of points, not percentage of possible points, which led to unexpected results (e.g. if one item was out of 100 and another out of 10).

Moodle 2.8 only allows “drop the lowest” in circumstances when it makes sense, and drops grades based on percentages, not points. 

Removed Extra Credit as an Option When Using Custom Weights 

This was an LSU feature that we added in July 2014. In practice, some instructors expected the Extra Credit to be added to the final category grade while others expected the system to calculate extra credit based on a weight. Moodle HQ removed this feature because it did not consistently match instructors' expectations.

Moodle 2.8 does not allow extra credit to be used with custom weights. (For help setting up Extra Credit with Natural Weights, contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823, or instruct@umass.edu).

Other Moodle 2.8 Gradebook Improvements

Moodle 2.8 introduced a number of other changes that fine-tuned how the gradebook works:

  • Natural aggregation method replaces Sum of Grades
  • More room for viewing the Grader Report when Blocks are "docked"
  • New Setup tab contains Categories and itemsCourse grade settings, and your Gradebook user preferences.
  • Simplified Categories & items page
  • Grade History tab provides audit trail of grade entry (when, who, where grades were changed, etc.)

Moodle “core” has adopted many additions and innovations made to the Moodle gradebook at UMass Amherst over the past year.  Some features may look a little different, but they are still there, including:

  • Grade particular students or individual activities
  • Freeze header column and student names
  • Grader report scrolls (now in entire browser window rather than a smaller panel)

For help setting up your Moodle gradebook, contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823, or instruct@umass.edu.