Using 'Sum of grades'

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.3. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Using 'Sum of grades'.

Case 1: Brand new course, no existing assignments or categories. Sum of points grading with a single category

This case is beginning with a brand new course. Since there is no previous content, no graded categories or assignments have been carried over from a previous version of the course.

We start with the creation of 6 off-line assignments. These could be any type of assignment, of course, but for the sake of example we will take the simplest.

This is what the course looks like.

Initial course view with 6 assignments

At this point, the assignments have not been categorized in the gradebook. A sample student has been given 10 points for each assignment. These points were entered manually by going to the gradebook, turning editing on, and the integer 10 entered in each assignment cell.

6 assignments, no categories, simple weighted mean

The default setting for grade categories is "simple weighted mean.". Since we are interested in getting a total number of points at the end of the course and dividing the number earned by the number possible, we will need to change this setting.

In upper right corner of grader report, use drop down box to select "Categories and Items."

Selecting Categories and Items

You will see the list of assignments, and all are under the parent category for the whole course.

List of assignments awaiting categorization

Use the edit icon to change the way grades in the parent category are aggregated.

Editing the parent category

The editing screen allows you to change both the category name (and since I have only 1 category for the whole course, I simply named it for the course) and the aggregation method. In this case, I selected "sum of grades" and saved the changes.

Changing the category name for the course and the aggregation method

This is the grader report after having saved the changes. This view shows a single category, 6 assignments, and sum of points for aggregation method. The total score is 60, which is to be expected with 6 assignments receiving 10 points each.

View of grader report after category has been named and sum of points selected for aggregation method

While this scenario is very easy, it does have its drawbacks. After 6-10 assignments, the gradebook window gets to be extremely wide. Many instructors prefer to have multiple categories of assignments. The different categories can be expanded or contracted in the gradebook to better manage the screen. Managing multiple categories is more complex, so we will move to a scenario where there are two categories used in the sum of points aggregation method.

Also of note: whether or not you choose to "aggregate only non-empty items" in your gradebook, the running "course total" under "Sum of Grades" essentially ignores that and simply provides a total number of points so far, so students cannot see what their current percentage in the course is based only on work they have completed.

See also

  • Using 'Sum of grades' with a grade calculation Case 2 - This case begins with a course containing assignments, but no categories. It will illustrate the creation of categories, putting assignments in categories, and setting up the grade calculation to produce the total number of points earned for the course. We will also take a look at setting up an uncategorized section to allow for assignments that should not be included in the final point total.