By default, Moodle activities allow teachers to use simple direct grading when marking activities; this entails giving a numerical mark, and maybe some personalized feedback in the form of online text or a file attachment. However, another option is to use an advanced grading method: a rubric or a marking guide. These methods use a more complex set of criteria, and the teacher gives a mark based on each criterion individually. This benefits both the grader and the student, as the student is made aware of the criteria and mark allocation, while the grader is able to efficiently and easily mark the student based on the criteria.
The objective of this article is to provide the information necessary to successfully create and implement advanced grading methods in activity modules. Using this information, you will be able to provide learners with a better idea of your expectations, as well as how their grades are being determined.
Note: Advanced grading methods are a feature available in Moodle 2.2+
Sections/Summary of the Steps
Before getting into the details of using advanced grading methods, please note the following sections/steps.
- Section 1: Choosing to use an advanced grading method
- Section 2: Creating and using rubrics
- Section 3: Creating and using marking guides
- Section 4: What the student sees
This article will also expand upon the following.
Section 1: Choosing to use an advanced grading method
If the activity module you are using supports advanced grading, you can choose to use it in the activity’s settings.
If the activity has already been created you will need to navigate to the Activity > Administration block > Activity administration > Edit settings. If you are creating a new activity, the option appears on the settings page for the activity.
Once on the settings page for the activity module, scroll down to the ‘Grade’ heading. In the drop down menu for ‘Grading method’ select either Marking guide or Rubric.
Once you have finished configuring the settings, click Save.
Section 2: Creating and using rubrics
Note: You must have selected Rubric from the settings described in Section 1 in order to use the Rubric functionality.
Rubrics enable teachers to administer criteria-based assessment activities in Moodle. There can be multiple criteria, each of which have several different and customisable levels that the student may achieve. These levels each have a description, and certain number of marks associated with them. When grading, the marker chooses the level that reflects the student’s work, and the student is given the marks connected to the level.
Part 1: Creating a new rubric
Enter the Activity in which you want to use a Rubric. Navigate to Administration block > Assignment administration > Advanced grading
On the page that loads, select ‘Define new grading form from scratch’
You will be directed to the rubric edit settings page.
1. Fill in the name and an optional description; if the rubric is used as a template later on, these will help other users to understand what the rubric is for.
2. Under ‘Rubric’ is where the criteria is edited.
3. In the ‘Rubric options’ section, you have many choices available regarding how graders and students will see the rubric, including whether users will be able to view the rubric before grading.
4. When the rubric is complete, click the ‘Save rubric and make it ready’ button.
Part 2: Marking with a rubric
Grading submissions is very efficient using rubrics.
While you can leave criterion-specific feedback, you also have the option of giving more general feedback under the ‘Feedback comments’ section.
Once you are finished, click Save at the bottom of the page. The grade (numerical) will be automatically calculated based on the marks from the rubric, and the minimum and maximum marks set for the activity..
Section 3: Creating and using marking guides
Note: You must have selected Marking guide from the settings described in Section 1 in order to use the Marking guide functionality.
Marking guides are similar to rubrics in that they are criteria-based. They are different in that they do not use levels with connected points, but rather the teacher decides the numerical value to give the student up to a maximum.
Part 1: Creating a marking guide
Enter the activity you want to use a marking guide in. Navigate to Administration block > Activity administration > Advanced grading
On the page that loads, select ‘Define new grading form from scratch’.
You will then be directed to the settings page for a marking guide.
1. Provide a name and optional description for the marking guide.
2. Under ‘Marking guide’ is where you can edit the form that will be used to grade submissions.
3. A nice feature of the marking guide is that you have the option to add ‘Frequently used comments’ to the grading form. This can save the grader a lot of time in giving feedback.
4. When you are finished, click ‘Save marking guide and make it ready’.
Part 2: Grading with a marking guide
When the grading form loads, you can choose to show or hide the marker and/or student criterion descriptions.
For each criterion, you can give a score up to the maximum.
To use the frequently used comments:
1. Click the feedback box you want the comment to be in
2. Click the “plus” icon beside the comment.
As a marker, you can choose to use a combination of both the frequently used comments and custom feedback. Besides the criterion-specific comment areas, there is also a section below the grading form for more general feedback.
Section 4: What the student sees
A great benefit to using advanced grading methods is that the student is made aware of the criteria that they are to be graded on. When setting up the advanced grading form, you can choose to allow students to see the criteria before they complete their submission. For example, here is what the student would see if they were to access an essay Assignment:
Additionally, once the submission has been graded, the student is easily able to see where they lost marks and the areas they can improve.
Here is an example of the marking guide feedback a student might see:
When using an advanced grading method, it is a good idea to publish it as a template. This will allow other users to use the grading form as a template, saving them time, especially if the marking criteria is very similar. Once you have saved and made the grading form ready, on the Advanced grading page (Activity > Activity administration > Advanced grading) there is an option to ‘Publish the form as a new template’ which you can click.