I'm still having a hard time getting used to, and accepting, the new gradebook, although it has improved in the most recent versions of Moodle.
I've run across an issue when using my own custom scales. I have, for example, a scale of 0 to 55 in .5 increments. Because the gradebook counts each position in the scale separated by a comma as one 'point' I have a maximum possible score that is far beyond the actual maximum possible. This creates a problem that has to be corrected by using the 'multiplicator'. Then if I want to curve the students scores for a particular graded item using that scale I have to do some additional mathematical acrobatics to figure out a mulitplicator value that will curve the students as desired.
So, my issue (complaint) is, why does it have to be so convoluted!? We are not all mathematicians. I like to think that I'm open to change but the feeling I get every time I deal with this new (not so new now I guess) gradebook makes me feel that maybe I'm not as flexible as I thought I was....or is it something else? Is, in fact, the new gradebook simply not as intuitive and user friendly as the old one....along with being much more powerful? Does that trade off have to occur?
In my attempt to utilize my custom scale and have my grades aggregated the way I wanted I wasted 4 plus hours and ended up throwing out the custom scale and just using a default scale and setting the max to the curve (below the real possible total score) because I didn't have anyone in my class above the curve. Worked this time but in the future if I have someone above the curve I'll be back in the same boat.
Why can't custom scales that are numeric have their actual values utilized instead of counting each place as one point? I'm sure I'm missing something here.
Sorry for the rant. It's not directed at anyone just venting frustration.
Some day someone may decide that these feature are important enough to add them to the gradebook or create a variant with these features. In the meantime, I would not fight with the gradebook but rather download the grades to Excel, do the calcs there and upload the calculated grades back to the gradebook.
Thanks Actually I considered that at one point but I'm too stubborn and wanted to try and figure out how to accomplish what I was trying to do in the gradebook.
Actually, at one point I lost all of my scores for a test because I changed the scale from my customized scale and it happened to be the only score for the entire semester that I hadn't recorded on paper somewhere! So I ended up fishing through a nightly backup copy of the database to find the original scores which is how I figured out that they are actually stored based upon their position in the scale and not upon their actual value. Seemed (and still does) like a strange concept.
You're right though, adding the option to differentiate between a numeric scale and other type would be one more feature to complexify the interface.
I think I'll take your advice and just dump everything in an Excel spreadsheet and calculate everything from there next time
You've hit a pretty common problem with the way scales are implemented in the gradebook.
There's a thread I started a little while ago discussing the problem of not being able to assign numeric values to the items in a scale (be they numeric or non-numeric items), along with a few other related issues.
I've also put a design document up on Moodle docs discussing exactly what needs to change in the code to facilitate this (see Development:Scales) and am offering to do the work myself. However, without a core developer to looking over my plan and giving in principle approval that such work would be considered for inclusion in the core then I'm not likely to go ahead with it.
- Kate D.
Yes, this would definitely cause an issue like that.
If you have 1.9.4, you still can enter grades manually (override) them in the gradebook. So potentially you can just click Turn Editing on in the Grader report, and enter your half-point grades that way. (You will need to switch your assignments from being graded on the scale to out of some number, e.g. out of 5, first. Try it in some sandbox course first to see how this will change things)
I don't have a sandbox, as I couldn't figure out how to set up a Moodle on my own computer. I can't find any instructions that explain how to go into the root user safely on a Mac.(The instructions I found don't accurately describe what happens on my machine during the installation process.) So I only have access to the one course I teach. I think my own internet provider (not the school's) does offer Moodle though, so perhaps I could set up a sandbox through them.
- Kate D.
Just some fake hidden course will do.
Yes, if you at the end of the semester, it would not make any sense for you to switch now. You can ask your school Moodle admin to give you one.
I would probably just create a manual column and enter final grades there by hand (or import). And tell students to ignore "course total" one.
Classics and General Humanities
Montclair State University
I do not remember how 1.9.4 behaves, but in further Moodle versions, of you hide Category or Course total (and this is what Kate would need to hide), it will hide everything inside.
So students will stop seeing grades altogether in the gradebook.
The workaround suggested before was this one: Go to Categories and Items then click Edit near Course Total (should be set to SWM or WM) and review "Grade Display type" there. Set it to None. Column will still stay there, but will display a dash.
Oh, thanks for the sandbox idea. I didn't think of asking the school to just give me a fake course to fool around on.
- Kate D.
Yikes this may be true but when the user simply wants to add a row of numbers and can't do it, it seems rather crazy. The gradebook can do all sorts of complicated things that I don't need, but it can't handle the simple method that I want to use. Add up student grades to a potential course total of 100, with half-point increments allowed within the assignment rubric. Hopefully Moodle 2 will be able to accomplish this.
- Kate D.
I would recommend to avoid scales completely in your example.
Are you using the Assignment tool? You can ask admins to increase the number of allowed points from default 100 to 500, thus you wil be able to set that max number via the regular drop-down menu in assignment settings.
I don't know how this is done without hacking.
Yep, it does require a change on the programming side, like you have said here
I should have mentioned that this is not something that can be done via UI for admins.
Good news, is that after we increased it, no one complained about the huge drop-down menu.