Outcomes

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What are outcomes?

Outcomes are specific descriptions of what a student has demonstrated and understood at the completion of an activity or course. Each outcome is rated by some sort of scale. Other terms for outcomes are 'Competencies' and 'Goals'.

In simple terms outcomes are similar to sub components of a grade. A grade is an assessment of overall performance that may include tests, participation, attendance and projects. Outcomes assess specific levels of knowledge through a series of statements, that maybe coded with numbers or letters. Thus an overall grade can be given for a course, along with statements about specific competencies in the form of outcomes.

Note: Moodle 3.1 includes a new feature, Competencies, which enables Learning plans to be set up. It provides an alternative to outcomes.


Enabling outcomes

To enable outcomes to be used in any course on the site

  1. Go to Site administration > Advanced features
  2. Tick the Enable outcomes checkbox
  3. Save changes

Adding course-level outcomes

Adding an outcome

To add a course-level outcome:

  1. Click the 'Edit outcomes' link in Course administration > Outcomes
  2. Click the 'Add a new outcome' button
  3. Complete the form then click the 'Save changes' button.

Adding standard outcomes

An administrator can add standard outcomes, which are available site-wide, in Site administration > Grades > Outcomes. Multiple standard outcomes can be added using the import outcomes functionality (see below).

Using outcomes

  1. Choose or define some outcomes for your course (as described above).
  2. For each activity, choose which of these outcomes apply using the checkbox in the activity's settings page.
  3. When grading that activity, grade each student using the Outcome scales. Note: You can also edit the grades in the Grader report (useful for modules that don't feature inbuilt grading).
  4. Use the outcomes as part of the assessment for students, or look at the Outcomes report for some useful feedback on how students in the class in general are performing.

How do I remove a selected outcome from an activity?

Previously selected outcomes are greyed out on the update activity page. To remove an outcome

  1. Go to Course administration > Gradebook setup
  2. Locate the outcome (below or above the activity they have been enabled in) then in the actions column click edit and then delete.

Deleting the outcome will result in the outcome being deselected on the update activity page.

How do I change the scale associated with an outcome?

The scale associated with an outcome can only be changed if the outcome is not selected for use with an activity.

  1. Go to Course administration > Outcomes
  2. Check that the outcome has zero in the items column i.e. it is not used in any activity. If not, go to Course administration > Gradebook setup and delete all instances of the outcome.
  3. Return to Course administration > Outcomes and click the edit icon opposite the outcome
  4. Change the scale
  5. Click the 'Save changes' button.

Outcomes report

The outcomes report in Course administration > Grades > Outcomes report helps teachers monitor their students' progress using outcomes. It lists site-wide outcomes and custom outcomes used in the current course, their overall average (each outcome can be measured through many grade items). It will show the name, course and site wide average, the activity, the average values and the number of "grades" given.

The outcomes report is a table with 6 columns:

  • Short name - the short name of the outcome used in this course.
  • Course average -shows two values representing the average scores given to students for each outcome used in this course.
  • Site-wide - Whether the outcome is a site-wide outcome or not.
  • Activities - This lists the activities that use this outcome in this course. A new row is created for each activity, and the activity name is linked to the activity's page.
  • Average - the average score for each activity using the outcome in this course.
  • Number of Grades - The number of grades given to students for each activity using the outcome.

Outcomes used in course

Outcomes may be set at site and/or course level. To choose outcomes for use in your course:

  1. View available standard outcomes in Course administration > Outcomes or via the gradebook Outcomes tab
  2. Add outcomes from the standard available list (right side), and use the left-facing arrow button to add them to outcomes used list (left side). Multiple outcomes may be selected by holding down the Apple or Ctrl key whilst clicking on the individual outcomes.

Exporting outcomes

Outcomes (and their associated scales) can be exported by clicking the "Export all outcomes" button. This will send a file (in .csv format) that can be read by Excel, OpenOffice.org or by any text editor.

Importing outcomes

Outcomes (and associated scales) may be imported by submitting a csv file. The format should be as follows:

Field name Description Required Format
outcome_name The full name of the outcome Yes String
outcome_shortname The short name of the outcome Yes String
outcome_description The description of the outcome No String
scale_name The name of the scale used Yes String
scale_items A comma-separated list of scale items Yes String
scale_description The description of the scale No String

Here is an example:

outcome_name;outcome_shortname;outcome_description;scale_name;scale_items;scale_description
Participation;participation;;Participation scale;"Little or no participation, Satisfactory participation, Full participation";

To import outcomes:

  1. Click the 'Import outcomes' link in Course administration > Outcomes
  2. Choose 'Import as custom outcomes (only this course)' or 'Import as standard outcomes' as required
  3. Upload the csv file

Note that while importing:

  • Existing outcomes and scale will be used if available (no overwriting is done by the script)
  • The script will stop if it detects that the file contains invalid data

Outcomes capabilities

See also