The grade book does not really give a true reflection of student progress unless I somehow go in a put zeros in for all the work the student has not done. For things like hot potatoes quizzes this is not possible.
A student can do one activity of the 5 activities I have set and get 100% for it and then stop.
Sinead below says "Look Mum, I'm on 87% for science."
The reality is the student is on 12% as they should have completed the other 4 activities.
My problem is I have 30 activities in the course and I only want students to do the first 5 now. I have the last 25 hidden. I don't want them included in calculations and I'd love it if I could hide them in the Grader Report which is 5 screens wide. If I change the aggregation to "Aggregate only non empty grades" I get a completely inaccurate picture of student progress.
I need an aggregation that is "Aggregate only non hidden items." This should be simple.
What do people advise I do from here? Is it possible to back grade to 1.8 as the grade book in that suited what I want to do much better.
I want my students to be able to self monitor and check thier progress. I want the progress to be an accurate reflection of what they should have done so far.
In my own classes, I just put in zero for those students who get behind. The alternative is the opposite of what you mention, which is that it looks like a student is always failing because all visible assignments are being counted as zero even before they are due.
Still, if you want to the feature that you are looking for, you can always do what we did before 1.9. Create another category called "uncategorized". Put those activities that you don't want factored into the grade into the "uncategorized" category. Give that category zero weight. You can hide those or not.
When you are ready to have an assignment factored in, move it to a graded category.
In my view, that would be just as much work as putting in the zero grades, but I know people have different approaches to these things. One thing I don't like about these types of approaches is that a student's grade goes down every time a teacher makes an activity available.
Also, I don't use "hot potato", but can't you override the grades in the gradebook for that activity like every other activity?
If you need help on setting up a weighted gradebook in 1.9 (which will allow you to have this uncatagorized category), I have written this tutorial: http://docs.moodle.org/en/Gradebook_1.9_Tutorial.
Hopefully this gets at what you want.
It is a crude solution but one I have had to use. I have made an uncategorized category with zero weight and put all the assessment items I have not set yet (hidden items) into it.
This took about 15 minutes as after each one the screen has to completely refresh. Multiple moves would be much appreciated in the grades category screen. Anyway it is done now.
Please developers can you get a "Aggregate only visible items" option into the grade book. Using this current setup I have to unhide an item on the course screen so the students can see it, then open the item to modify it, and recategorised it, then get into the grade book and make it visible there as well. This seems a bit silly really. Then when I start my course next year I'll have to move all the items into Uncategorized again and hide them all again or when students go to check their grades they see all 40 items rather than just the 5 I have set in the first topic.
There has to be a better way.
As has been explained earlier, it is not possible to use the 1.8 gradebook with moodle 1.9 for strictly internal reasons. If you want to keep using the 1.8 gradebook you need to give up all other 1.9 improvements and stay with 1.8.
There is a better compromise though. Your idea of aggregating only non-hidden items makes perfect sense, and could be added as a feature in 2.0. If you need this straight away, however, you will need some custom development, but this should not be very difficult to implement.