Even though my school's curriculum centers around Moodle, I'm the only one who uses the gradebook. This semester I made extra effort to have it set up so that all the grades are online, I can score and feedback automatically and so on, the idea being that when the end of the term comes I can press a button and be done. In the process students can see how they are doing, less chance of losing paperwork and so on. seems like the obvious way to go.
The rest of the staff scoffs at this, preferring pen and paper or manually entering everything into excel -- and so far, for the past 2 semesters since I have started using Moodle they have, unfortunately been right!
For the semester that just ended, let me explain the scoring:
hotpot quizzes 5% of final grade
Project 1: 20% (3 parts, 10% powerpoint, 5% written essay, 5% presentation.)
Project 2: 25%
Tests: 4 tests, 10% each for 40%
Participation etc: 10%
Extra credit (database entry):5%
Items are grouped into appropriate categories.
Since I'm new to this, I avoided setting weighting in moodle pull down menus and opted for taking care of that in the final grade formula. I hope to set up weighting for future courses.
Since the quizzes are equally weighted, I used moodle's automatically tabulated category total. this has not caused any trouble.
For project 1, I graded each item "as is". So the Powerpoint, worth 10% of the final score, received a grade of between 1-10. I tried to make as much of the course that was in my control like this actually.
The paper tests had various perfect scores. So test 1, a score of 64 = perfect. I set up moodle grader so that this way, so a score of 32 counted as 50%. All four tests have the same weight (10% each) so I thought it was safe to use the category average for this. I actually counted each test separately in some variations of the formula (test1*10%, test2*10% etc) just in case but it didnt improve the results.
Project 2 was worth 158 points but 25% of the grade. Since the various parts of the projects were scored and weighted differently, I did NOT use the category average for projects. If I used the category average, it would have given equal weight to the 5point presentation and the 25 point project 2. (Remember I don't want to mess with weighting in the set up this semester)
Ok, so here's the final formula I tried to use. I also played with several variations.
Of course I tried the equivalent such as ESSAY*0.05 etc and not dividing by 100. My eyes were tired and I figured this way there were fewer chances to misplace decimals and zeros. I also tried SUM (QUIZTOTAL*0.05), etc style.
Like I said I tried a bunch of variations, but I'm not going to post them here because none of them worked either. For now I would just like to know why the one above didn't work. I knew intuitively it was off when one of my students who had scores in the 90th percentile across the board got a final grade of about 80. So I calculated grades manually and they were all different than the ones produced by the formula above.
For the past two semesters I have worked hard to have my grades in ahead of time but during crunch time the gradebook troubles cause me headaches and delays and anger the new boss. thank you.
I feel your pain, because grades are due now here also. I also use a point/weighted system, and Moodle for the collection of my grades.
It seems to me that your formula is lacking something....Namely, you are not telling the math what it is 100% OF! Of course, I can see that everything adds up to 100%, and then you divide that 100% into chunks of categories.
But I am questioning the validity of the original number that you multiply by. For example, you are inputting a participation number x 10. But where is that number coming from? And, is the calculation that gives you that participation grade ITSELF calculated so that it is the correct fraction of the 100% number you are looking for in the final calculation?
When I set up Moodle quizzes, I have to tell the computer how many questions there are in teh quiz, and I also have to weight each question so that it divides the total number of points correctly into 100%. If I didn't do that, my final number would be skewed. If I then put that skewed number into a master calculation, even if the master calculation is correct, the final number would be incorrect. Its the old saying "Garbage In, Garbage Out"
Double check to be sure the numbers you are feeding your master calculation are valid. I would take one student's grades and MANUALLY calculate every grade for the quarter and see if they are correct. If they are, then and only then would I blame the amster calculation.
Hope this puts you on the right trail.
I think the data itself fine. I'm not using automated tests by the way.
For example, the student's powerpoint presentations are worth 10 points.
I give them a score of 1-10, it's very simple and less chance for confusion. I select 1-10 from a pull down menu and the result shows up automatically and instantly in gradebook. Participation is done using the same method.
Project 2 is a paper project. They hand in the paper, I mark it by hand, hand it back, enter the grades manually into moodle grader. A perfect score would be 158 points. If they get a 79, I enter 79 into moodle grader, it shows up as 79 on screen but also as 50% for calculating. It is worth 25% of the final grade, so I weight it in the final formula.
I calculated all 35 students' grades manually, double checked them all manually, and they were all different than the automatic final grade.
I understand the concept of weighting grades. I think Doug's example of weighted test scores is very similar to the "bigger picture" I'm facing with the final grades. But as you told moodle the value of each grade question, I told moodle grade book the value of each project.
One thing that comes to mind is maybe the final grade is multiplying project 2's score (79 in my example) by 25 rather than multiplying the percent value (50%) by 25. But still seems counterintuitive as doing that would result in higher numbers but most of my students scores came out much lower in the automatic final scores.
I try to avoid manual calculations in Moodle because you lose flexibility. Say down the road, you want to change up your formula or want to include another assignment. You will have to go in and change your entire formula to do so. As compared to just moving things around in your Categories & Items page if you let Moodle do the math.
As an example, I re-created your gradebook based on your descriptions thus far. Or at least I think I did.
Categories & Items
First I created a category I called "Grade minus extra credit" (GMEC). This way students could get an idea of what their grade is before extra credit is accounted. I made the overall course total Sum of Grades aggregation because I will only have two top-level items: "GMEC" category and "Extra credit - Database". All the individual assignments will be within the "GMEC" category.
The GMEC category I set to Simple weighted mean because your description said you had some assignments that had point values that would be the same as their percentage value while others were more. Nonetheless, it gave me flexibility with this aggregation. I created sub-categories within GMEC for each of the groups of assignments you described. You will notice that even though some of the categories have a lot of points at stage (i.e. Project #2 & Tests) their category totals are actually the percentage that they will be towards the total. So Moodle is doing all the math but taking the points earned in a category, dividing by the total points possible and then scaling to the category total which is also the percentage weight.
Then these category totals are added up to get the category total of GMEC which is out of 100. Since GMEC is a part of the course total, it is then added with the extra credit (which is marked as such) to get the course total which is out of 100. What I have effectively done is replicate your formula but letting Moodle do all the math and added flexibility. So if say you wanted to add another test but still have it only worth 40%, all you would have to do is put that test grade item in the Tests category.
You can double check by doing the math based on this student's scores using the above categories and items.
Wow Marty, excellent explanation. (I'm using 1.8 btw and can't seem to pull up those easy to understand grader reports that you provided.)
Before I get started with my follow up, let me just point out for the record that I don't calculate grades manually. That seems to defeat the purpose of using the built in grading. Paper tests get checked by hand and scores entered into moodle grader. But for this past semester I was having so much trouble that i was forced to calculate final grades by hand in order to get grades in on time. I spent far more time fiddling around with the moodle grade settings than I did simply using a pocket calculator and pencil (which is what my coworkers and boss were keen to point out.)
Anyway the hope is that once I get this fixed and it works, from here on in it will be a breeze for me (not to mention providing feedback for students and ready access to their grades.)
Sorry if I sound curt I tend to type these replies before class and I have to be quick before lesson starts but your model mirrors my grading setup (enough for our purposes.) Somewhere where I might need to make adjustments would be for setting the total scores of the categories. That is, quizzes are worth a total of 5%.
Still, if you take a look at my final formula I think I sort of took care of that with Fred Flintstone mathematics... ie (quiztotal*0.05) so i can't understand why the math would not work. Because I knew that simple weighted vs weighted etc could throw off the grades, I just took the actual value of each project (or moodle's calculated percentage of the value such as project 2, tests etc) and multiplied that by the weight.
Sorry maybe that's not clear. What I'm saying is I tried to keep the final formula as simple as possible, avoided weighting issues in the gradebook setup andjust handled weighting in the final calculations. That's why I calculated projects 1 and 2 and tests separately.
Thanks for the great help. Any further thoughts about where the trouble might lie?
one more thing I noticed, a difference between our models: my tests have various values.
One test has a maximum score of say 64, while another is 47 while another is 10 etc.
So I had the test category set up for "mean of grades." The category was worth 40% of the total. I tried both weighting the category total in the final formula (ie TESTTOTAL*0.4) and I also tried weighting each test separately in the final formula (ie TEST1*0.1) to avoid weighting issues in the category. Still got strange results.
By manual calculation I mean that you are using Moodle's grade calculation feature as compared to letting the weighting, sum of grades, etc. aggregations do all the calculations.
Can you post an image a couple images of your gradebook so I can see exactly how you set up. Images that would be beneficial are:
- One of the entire Grader Report so I can see across multiple students how it is grading and also see the category totals for each. You can cut out of blur student names.
- Your Categories and Items page so that I can see how your have each grade item arranged into categories.
- Manual calculation webpage - Where you selected the calculator icon and then enter the ID numbers for each grade item and the calculation formula.
Sorry there will be another post. PC kept crashing and I could only get one file to upload. This is the main grader page but I'm not sure it will be useful as all the students' scores are erased at the start of the new semester.
Maybe it's better if I just include inline screenshots. I made a mistake with one of the screenshots - the one with no data. This one is for Q1 and has the data. You can see the official score that i did with a hand calculator and the scores the moodle calculated.
categories and items
final score calculations. anything you cant see wasnt included in grading.
an example of another page
Please note that this is just one of many variations I tried for the final calculation. Thanks a lot.
I tried and tried some more to replicate your results in my own sandbox site but could not. At this point I think the only way I could help is if I got access to the course. I'm not sure if your school has certain privacy laws against that.
If you think it would be fine for me to get access, feel free to contact me outside the forums. My email address is in my profile.
Even if you or I (or somebody else in the forum) are able to figure it out, I still recommend letting Moodle do most of the math as described in previous post.
Yeah... I still can"t get it to work either. Also, sorry but it would be impossible to give you access to the school's site. Thanks for offering to try though.
Ok, how about this? I'm setting up grades for the current semester Q2. It's a different course with different projects and tests. It goes like this:
1: six hot pot quizzes, each quiz calculated automatically by the site as a percentage, all quizzes total worth 5% of the course like last semester (Q1)
2: Two projects. Project 1 worth 10% for Powerpoint slideshow plus 15% for separate narration. Project 2 simply worth 20%. I am grading them "simply" that is, a perfect score on the narration would be 15.
3. Four tests (this is similar to last semester) The tests are worth 10% of the course total each but the max grade for each test varies. One has a max grade of 40, another 61 and so on.
4. class participation, 10% of course total, scored simple as 0 to 10.
5. extra credit: like last time, worth 0 to 5 bonus points.
here's how I set up the grader:
QUIZZES; mean of grades, category total max 5.00
PROJECTS: simple weighted mean of grades, category total 45
TESTS (units 4,5,6 plus oral interview): weighted mean of grades, for example test 6 has a max grade of 61 and a weight of 10. All four tests have a weight of ten. category total max 40.
PLUS 10 points for participation, plus bonus 5 for extra credit.
To get the final score I just add the category totals together.
1. I can't actually find the aggregation for the course total. At another school we use Moodle 1.9 and it's easy to find, but on this one (1.8 I think) I can't seem to find it. Should I create a new category called "course total" (different from the automatic course total category?
2. Here is the screenshot, hope it's not too big.
I don't think the 1.8 Moodle Docs available anymore (at least I can't find them) so I can't find out how the gradebook use to be set in that version. You could create a new category and put everything within it but not sure if that will change how it calculates. It is worth trying though.
It looks like the old Categories & Items page wasn't as helpful as in 1.9 or 2.x because it doesn't show the weights or aggregations selected.
I know I asked previously about getting access to your site and look at the course you were doing it in. As a slight modification, do you think you could get me access to a sandbox site in your Moodle instance? That way I can try and re-create the scenario in a 1.8 site but it won't affect any of the students as none of them will be enrolled in the course.
I really appreciate all the help so far and the offer to try to recreate my 1.8 site, but even just asking my boss to set something like that up would land me extra time in the doghouse.
I did a quick search online but all the demo sandboxes appear to be for trying out later versions. Hmmm.